Springtime in Petaluma

It is cloudy in Petaluma today, but you can still feel spring in the air. The flowers are blooming, the air is warming up, and the scent of fresh-cut grass looms under your nose. Spring is definitely here, and our backyard is finally starting to show it.

Down the street, there are a few beautiful blooming trees. I couldn’t resist playing with my camera for these.

What a beautiful afternoon.

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Petaluma City of Lights – Driving Tour 2011

Meg has a J.D. in Urban, Land Use and Environmental Law. She focuses on maintaining the balance of community and environmental health, healthy lifestyles, and encouraging sustainable living.

The holidays are fast approaching, and one thing I have missed about Kansas City is the cold weather and snow reminding you it is almost time for Christmas. Well, Petaluma may be in the mid-50s this time of year, but the nights are still very chilly, and this town sure does know how to put on a holiday display! One of the local papers puts out a driving map every year of the entrants for the holiday decorating contest. This year there are 16 resident entrants and 47 business entrants.

On Monday evening, Jake and I packed the kids (our greyhounds) up in the jeep, grabbed the 2011 driving tour map and some hot chocolate, and headed out the door. We spent almost 2 hours driving around looking at all the houses, and we didn’t even get to the business entrants! For every official resident entrant, there must have been 3-4 houses that did not enter the contest. They were all amazing. Some yards had nativity scenes, some had entire towns of snow people. One yard down the street had a whole ensemble of Acme characters dressed up for the holidays, and they were 4-5 feet tall!

The last place we visited was by far the most impressive. Courtesy of the Barnacle family, this house was filled with moving reindeer, a christmas tree, hundreds of lights, a full nativity scene, an entire mini Christmas town, and a flying Santa. Unbelievable! The mini town they built in their window was amazing. It even appears they secured a radio frequency to play a particular Christmas song to go along with their theme.

It was a wonderful way to get in the holiday spirit. Even the kids were having fun sticking their heads out the window and saying hello to all the people doing the same tour. We may not have snow in California, but we still manage to have amazing holiday spirit!

Petaluma’s Lighted Boats

Meg has a J.D. in Urban, Land Use and Environmental Law. She focuses on maintaining the balance of community and environmental health, healthy lifestyles, and encouraging sustainable living.

As new locals to Petaluma, my husband and I have been trying to explore as much of our new surroundings as possible. It is truly an amazing experience to move from Kansas City to California, and every weekend we find something new and fun to “research.” Sometimes it’s a vineyard in the wine country, or a beach in Point Reyes National Park. This past weekend we decided to explore Petaluma’s “old town” (downtown), where we watched to annual Petaluma Lighted Boats on the river.

The boats were supposed to come up the river and into the turning basin (which is basically located in the middle of downtown) around 6:00 or 6:30pm on Saturday. We thought we would go downtown around 5:00pm, walk around a little bit, visit my new favorite furniture store, Roe & Co., and then wander over to the river walk to see the boats. Little did we know, it was going to be packed! We barely found a parking spot, and when we made our way to the river walk, we were fighting for a space to actually see the river. There must have been several thousand people wandering around. It was amazing!

Our next adventure will be to take the driving tour of Petaluma’s Lighted Houses and Businesses. I have to say, for a community without snow, Petaluma sure knows how to reign in the holiday spirit. It’s a wonderful place to be for our first Christmas season away from our hometown.