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My arrival in Oakland was met with a cool breeze and sweater weather. SWEATER WEATHER. (Remember, dear readers, my native home of Tucson, where the usual “cold” winter consists of maybe needing a scarf and close-toed shoes. Maybe. On the day I left, it was about 115 in Phoenix.) We drove from Oakland into Berkeley, the fabled land of crunchy granola hippie-dom and intellect.
Lunch was at La Note, a French restaurant famous for its authentic Provencal cooking. All the laudatory magazine articles and certificates hanging on one wall were deserved: the service was attentive and personal, despite the long waits at times (it was PACKED); the menu was creative without straying too far from its original French canon; the meal was tasty as heck. Hot chocolate was served—as it should be—in large mugs more like bowls than cups. The reason? To dip in bread, of course!
Slowly but surely we passed through miles of California coast. Farmer stands on the side of the freeway, cows, even a llama seated in some field watched us as we zoomed by. California’s landscape is breathtaking sometimes in its simple beauty: the tawny grass against the blue of the coastal skies alone rendered me speechless.
I love the starkness of the lone tree. This photo isn’t edited yet, this is the natural clear blue of the sky!
At Petaluma, we veered off to go grocery shopping. Earlier in the day, my parents had pined for a farmers’ market or organic, local produce from somewhere other than Whole Foods. Well, kids, ask and ye shall receive. Turns out, Saturdays from 2-5:30, Petaluma has a farmers’ market in the town square! Produce is not the only thing sold there—hats, granola, handwoven baskets, Master Gardener advice, crystals, and the kids can even get a ride on a pony! Plus, the live music was a great touch. Our trunk filled with groceries, we went on our way.
Farmers’ market veg!

By 5ish we got into Jenner, population 107 and elevation 19. At the mouth of the Russian River, Jenner is stunning, if not a wee bit isolated. Many of the homes around us seem to be vacation rentals, but I could see why. With no cellular service (seriously, even with 4G I was SOL) and the nearest grocery store 15 miles away, Jenner is the perfect haven for someone wanting to escape it all.

View from the deck of the house.

 Other than the cell phone thing, our rental is virtually perfect. The deck overlooks the Russian River pouring out into the Pacific, and the closest beach, Goat’s Rock, is home to a seal pup refuge. Plus, this is what it looks like. Not a bad start to a week, I’d say. 

Goat’s Rock Beach