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September Inspiration in Sonoma Valley

California Dreamin'

Hi Friends,


Early last month, my husband Cole and I took a beautiful vacation to Sonoma Valley, California. A trip like this is always full of artistic inspiration--there were so many highlights that is was hard to narrow down! Today I'm sharing a few of them.

The views were incredible everywhere we went. We spent some time in the areas around Santa Rosa (city), Petaluma (country), and Jenner (coast). Each place had its own unique feel.

Highlight of Santa Rosa

I was amazed to learn about Luther Burbank while visiting his lovely historic home and gardens in Santa Rosa. Burbank's contributions to horticulture are astounding--including literally inventing the Shasta Daisy and the predecessor to the Russet Potato. I'm so surprised this is the first I'd heard of him! Here are some of my favorite quotes by Burbank:


"I shall be content if because of me there shall be better fruits and fairer flowers."


"The urge to beauty, and the need for beautiful and gracious and lovely things in life is as vital a need as the urge for bread."


"Do I ignore what is generally called the spiritual nature of man? No, it is the corona, the flower of life, the fruit of which is Altruism, the desire to help ourselves and others to higher and better thoughts and actions--in other words, to a more perfect state of harmony with environment."

Highlight of the Countryside

Bohemian Creamery (our favorite cheese tasting), Tea service at Fleur Sauvage Chocolates, and Tour & tasting at McEvoy's Olive Oil Ranch (our favorite tour)

While this area of California is famous for the wine, Cole and I actually came for the other features of its vibrant agriculture and food scene. We did several farm tours and tastings for cheese, olive oil, and chocolate. We also enjoyed some really fun local restaurants, farmers markets, and grocery stores. Everything was so delicious and interesting to learn about! We came home laden with goodies, culinary inspiration, and fresh appreciation for the land that sustains us (and the people who care for the land).

Highlight of the Coast

One of our favorite "off the beaten path" discoveries from our time near the coast was Armstrong Woods State Park. We knew we wanted to see some Redwoods while in this part of the country, and Armstrong Woods has an extensive network of forest trails that really shows off their beauty. It was a perfect, peaceful afternoon. 


Bonus coastal highlight(s) I couldn't leave out: we saw Humpback whales off of Point Reyes (a surprise since it's not the season for them), and sea lions playing in Bodega Bay (also a surprise)!

Art Highlights

Wood-fired ceramic cups by Jonathan Cross, Watercolors by Nan Still, and Sonoma Chicks Farm Sanctuary & Photography

We always like to buy art as our souvenir(s) from a big vacation. The ceramic cups and paired watercolors stood out to us as pieces that captured our trip really well, and came home with us as reminders we can see or use every day. Tania Soderman of Sonoma Chicks is a photographer I've followed for awhile (a few of you may recall a "Sharing Sunday" on Instagram). While we did not get to visit/buy her work while in the area, her farm sanctuary will be featured in my charity section for the fall issue of the magazine!

Farewell to our farm friends until next time!

The Studio Assistant also came away from the break feeling refreshed and very ready to tackle preparation for our upcoming fall and holiday shows. These stacks of secondhand clothes won't sniff --er-- paint themselves!

Until next time!


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