One month later
A little more than one month into our collective post-fire phase, we are now fully engulfed with “sifting” and “right of entry” paperwork and the little “all clear” white FEMA yard signs. The browns and reds and oranges are joining the greys and blacks, and there is even a wee bit of green around. We've had frost on a few mornings and the season of rain has officially started. We've had “come together” gatherings small and large (way to go Glen Ellen Forum, the Nov. 5 event was amazing!) and now what… the new normal?
More accurate firestorm numbers are in and they are staggering. In Glen Ellen proper we have 180+ homes gone. If you add the Mayacamas side of the valley, it's another 40+. Our town is strong and tight-knit and quirky and resilient... but this event undeniably ripped a hole in our community. It's visual, I commute past some of the worst of it every day. It's emotional. It's financial.
If you are a local or a tourist in our area, the way you can help us is to drive through and bear witness to what has happened here. Don't gawk or take photos or videos. Just absorb it. Stop and sob. Give someone a hug. Then eat, sip, shop, and hike in our area - and repeat, and repeat again. Invite your friends to do the same. We must support our local businesses now more than ever.
In our house we've made a conscious effort to shop local as much as we can. We've always done so but we are doing it now with a sense of urgency. I reached out to Glen Ellen businesses and here are some of the messages they wanted to get to you.
Open for businessSculpturesite is pleased to report that: “Amazingly, the gallery and the entire Jack London Village made it through the extreme fires that descended upon Northern California a few weeks ago. It was especially remarkable since we were surrounded by fire on three sides, and the fire that decimated our beloved Sonoma Valley Regional Park stopped just short of the southern edge of our parking lot! Our hours will be unchanged: Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.”
Glen Ellen Star reopened on Monday, Oct. 23, for dinner service at 5:30 p.m. Chef and owner Ari Weiswasser said: “This community has been amazing in supporting us. We are back to normal business hours and incredible neighborhood nights on Wednesday's (check the website for menus: glenellenstar.com). We are waiving corkage on Napa and Sonoma bottles all month long in an effort to help simulate our friends in the wine business. We are also offering a Thanksgiving dinner, for pick up on Thanksgiving between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., but we'll be closed for dinner service on that day. Thanks for spreading the word.”
The Glen Ellen Village Market family would like to: “Extend our incredibly heartfelt gratitude to all the first responders who fought the fire and the odds to save our local towns. Thanks to their efforts, the market is still standing and ready to serve the community. We are also so grateful for the patience and understanding our guests have shown during this time of recovery, and are happy to report that we are now open, fully stocked and operating under our normal winter hours of 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. In addition to our delicious kitchen and bakery offerings, we are also offering a variety of chef-prepared holiday meals designed to take the stress out of creating a memorable Thanksgiving meal. Orders can be placed over the phone or in person at the market, and must be placed no later than Friday, Nov. 17. Our holiday meal offerings can be viewed online at sonomamarket.net/holiday/.” In an effort to support fire victims in Sonoma Valley, we are offering Sonoma Market/Glen Ellen Village Market gift cards at a 10 percent discount (online only), which will be sent directly to Rotary of Sonoma Valley to be distributed to those affected by the fires.
Eric Ross Winery is back up and running, happy to be here! “We're open every day 11 a.m.-5 p.m. for tasting. Walking in you'll enjoy large scale photographs of the vineyards and crew that Eric works with along with images from his days as a photographer with the San Francisco Chronicle.”
The fig café & winebar in Glen Ellen has re-opened for regular hours, 5-9:30 p.m. “Our current menu and weekly Plats du Jour can be found on the cafe's website www.thefigcafe.com. Our larger business has been working to promote the message that 'Sonoma is open for business.' We want to help encourage visitors to come back to Wine Country and support our local businesses. We also want to support locals and so we are offering several 'D Stress Pop Ups' at Suite D in Sonoma. These three-course dinners with comfort foods will be held on Nov. 17 and Dec. 1.” Information at www.figsuited.com.
Kay Young of Hopscotch Gifts & Gallery reminds us all “to celebrate independent merchants on Saturday, Nov. 25, for Small Business Saturday.” Specifically she invites us to shop locally at Jack London Village. This fun Saturday party shows how valuable small businesses are to the unique fabric of our local economy.
Come get a jump on holiday shopping while enjoying free wine, cake, and chocolate. This year there will be activities at Hopscotch Gifts & Gallery, Wine Country Chocolates, and Sculpturesite Gallery. Show these small stores you care they are in our community. Jack London Village is located at 14301 Arnold Dr. and there is plenty of free parking.”
Aventine has reopened. Co-owner Toni Veronese said: “We had extensive smoke damage and have just now cleared the restaurant to be ready to serve the public. We are opening Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings at 5 p.m. until next year. We appreciate your support in getting the word out! See you for dinner!”
Michela at Umbria reported, “We opened fully Sunday evening, Nov. 12, for dinner. Chef Giulio Tempesta was also evacuated from his home in Sonoma. He spent time trying to help out the first responders in Glen Ellen serving what food he could with the power being out. His efforts were rewarded with a wonderful gratitude and recognition from the Glen Ellen Fire Department. It has been a very difficult and emotional time for everyone. Locals come to the bar, expressing their grief. We are here to try and bring the community together and comfort however we can. We are all in this together and we will persevere together.”
Buzz from around the bend…The annual Pixie Corner holiday gift bazaar for the kiddos is a go at Dunbar School. The PTO is looking for community members to help make crafts, donate small gift items, and be gift-wrapping “elves” during the shopping days on the week of Dec. 18. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, if you have any Glen Ellen-related news to announce, or if you would like to tell your story of the firestorm, the evacuation, the recovery, please email email@example.com or call 996-3352.
Do you have any Glen Ellen stories to share? Milestones? Celebrations? Email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 996-3352.