60 days in Kenwood
By Nancy Novak
Through friends of friends, my husband and I had the opportunity to enjoy Kenwood and the surrounding area this summer. We gladly accepted an offer to stay in the guest cottage on a large property, located near Highway 12. We wanted to live in Sonoma County for a while before deciding exactly where to purchase a new home. What a stark contrast to our previous home in Los Altos, in the center of Silicon Valley. With free time to explore, I was soon impressed and, quite frankly, a bit overwhelmed with the breadth of things to enjoy. Capturing some of my experiences here will help me remember this feeling. And perhaps it will bring a fresh perspective on the lovely life in the country that Kenwood and surrounding residents experience daily.
Early mornings I’d walk down the quiet country lanes, seeing only one or two vehicles in an hour’s time. It wasn’t a lonely walk, however, as the deer, mostly does and fawns, were a common sight. Despite the many fences and gates, they still find places to graze, and ways to show off their effortless jumps as I would approach them. On one favorite loop, jackrabbits always appeared at the same bend in the road. Another showcased the neighbor’s pigs, who seemed quite content to lie around all day. As the summer progressed, the blackberries began to ripen. My walking time increased to include little stops to pick these sweet fruits. My husband thought about designing a wooden plank that could extend over some of the ditches in order to pick the choice berries just out of reach. It was a marvelous way to hike and to snack.
Guided by local friends, I soon had favorite trailheads into Trione-Annadel State Park, sharing the trails with the occasional mountain biker, but mostly enjoying the quiet solitude. I hiked Hood Mountain Regional Park as well as Sonoma Valley Regional Park with a friend’s dogs. Soon I was highlighting additional green paths on our large map of Sonoma County that showed more parks and outdoor spaces to explore.
I also wanted to find out more about the local cultural arts, particularly music opportunities. The Broadway Under the Stars at Jack London Park, with the pre-show venue for picnicking and then an impressive outdoor concert of show tunes was a wonderful introduction to the summer. I was glad to see a notice of the pianoSonoma chamber music series and was delighted to find tickets available only a few days in advance to the Vino and Vibrato event. I had heard that Sonoma State’s Green Music Center was spectacular, and the intimate Shroeder Hall and pre-concert wine tasting was a wonderful prelude to future events. One of my friends pours wine for Funky Fridays. I stopped by to check out the music and overall scene on Friday, not knowing that I’d be donning an apron behind the booth and helping guests select their wines. A first for me was pouring the artisan beer, and learning tips for achieving the recommended amount of head on the top of the glass.
Amidst all this fun, we were also working closely with our realtor to find our next house. By the time this article is published, I will have moved into our new home, just up the road in the hills of Santa Rosa. And the blackberries are likely past their peak. My stay in Kenwood became almost manic the last few weeks, as I felt these would be the last times I could call our guest cottage and neighborhood “home.” Days were consumed with walking, hiking, exploring new markets and shops, and just soaking up the unique Kenwood feel. I feel very welcomed and honored to have enjoyed your little piece of paradise. Thank you!
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