Petaluma, CA

We crossed the Golden Gate bridge and headed for the Marin Headlands where we met our friend Mary for an mid morning walk. Mary was the lovely lady that introduced us to the city of San Francisco back in December and showed us an amazing time. Now we were about to discover a new part of Northern California through her eyes and felt very honored because knew that we would have an awesome experience with her as our guide. The Marin Headlands were absolutely stunning. Like the rest of the California coast we were blown away by it’s beauty but even more so because it was so close to the city. What a nice getaway it was to go 20 minutes outside and be away from the hustle and bustle of the city lifestyle. After catching up on all of our adventures Mary treated us to lunch at her current place of employment – the Panama Restaurant – a very classy restaurant in San Rafael serving fresh, organic and elegant cuisine. It was awesome to share such a delicious meal paired with thoughtful conversation and of course the beautiful weather.

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We headed a little bit north up to Petaluma where Mary has recently just moved to from the city. She is making it happen let me tell you. Mary’s a great soul who has been a part of the whole organic, sustainable living movement both of the East coast and is now spreading her love on the West. She is very much a wine aficionado and her wealth of knowledge has surely grown since Rory and I first met her a few years ago – it is truly impressive. Most recently, she’s taken her passion and love for wine and put herself out there when she applied for an internship at a very prestigious winery. She trusted herself and there’s something to be said about that because she will be the newest intern come August at Merry Edwards Winery in Sebastopol. As she explains it she will be a cellar rat, “getting worked to the bone for the grand purpose of creating some of the greatest Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc California has to offer.” But as I know from first hand experience getting your hands dirty and being passionate and involved with what we eat and drink is the most productive thing we can do (mentally, physically and spiritually). So, it’s very cool that Mary made such an important life changing decision for herself. This experience alone will open up many doors for her and we couldn’t be more excited and proud. Her positive and happy energy definitely set the tone for the next few days. She happily opened up her adorable studio apartment to us and we were excited to have a kitchen to whip up dinners in. It definitely felt good to put our feet up for a few moments.

Petaluma is a great town with a cute little main street and plenty of amazing restaurants, beautiful architecture and houses and lots of foliage. Of course the best part was it’s proximity to both wine country and the ocean (the best of both worlds) and it seemed like Mary had really made a home for herself here outside the city. Cities are always fun to explore but I understood why she decided to move outside of it. Being a part of a smaller community, closer to nature and away from noise and light… it’s refreshing. It’s a completely different lifestyle – but you begin to appreciate the small things when you are in a city – and when you are in the country it is a whole different feeling – it truly grounds a person.

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We made some great dishes while we were there – Zucchini Feta Pancakes which might be my new favorite dish – YUM! and of course we made some homemade pizza for the pizza master herself paired with some fine wine that she had in her classy collection. She has a great patio in the community garden that we shared the fantastic meal in. We talked more of friends and life and passions and decided that we would explore Sebastopol & Graton. The next day we treated Mary to an excellent organic brunch at Willow Wood Cafe and bought some ridiculously amazing postcards for our friends back home. Afterward Mary brought us to Iron Horse Vineyards where we had the pleasure of having Laurence Sterling, the operations manager at the winery, host us while we partook in a flight of their top class sparkling wine. Mary ended up buying a bottle and surprising me with it for my birthday which was coming up that coming weekend – it was a really sweet gesture.

After our day on the Vineyard we got ready to say our goodbyes. It was really awesome to get to spend some time with Mary – I feel like we’ve really watched her grow over the past few years. She had trusted herself, taken chances, made opportunities for herself and change in the most positive and beautiful ways. There is a glow about her and I felt blessed to have been in the presence of someone who is truly living her life – that energy is contagious and reminded me of all the things I want to learn and live in my lifetime.

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