The first time I was in Petaluma, about fifteen years ago, I recognized the guy standing next to me. We were browsing through sheet music bins. I had to sneak another look. Yep, it was Tom Waits. He could be called a “cult” artist.
I was and still am in that cult. So, I had that star struck frozen tongue that wanted to say, “Don’t mean to bother you sir, but I thank you for the years of enjoyment from your songs, both sung and played by you and others, your fine movie acting and your great soundtracks from so many movies.” That’s what I wanted to say.
Instead I caught his eye and grunted, “Hey, thanks for the great shit you’ve done.” He looked at me like a stray dog that needed kicking to get away from his leg. He did grunt in his deep growly voice and move to another area of the store. Don’t blame him.
Petaluma is less than 40 miles north of San Francisco, and about five hours from Bakersfield. It’s in the heart of the wine country, Sonoma County.
That puts it close to the half way point of our yearly jaunt up to Arcata, California.
Petaluma is an incredible town. It’s built on a solid layer of bedrock and the devastating 1906 San Francisco earthquake left the town untouched. So, the downtown area of Petaluma is filled with gorgeous old buildings, quaint shops, gourmet dining and wonderful people. Unlike Bakersfield, the river meandering through town actually has water in it. It empties into the San Pablo Bay, San Francisco Bay and the Pacific. That’s why we love it. I can’t imagine anyone driving through Petaluma and not wishing they lived there.
And that’s what our good friends did the first time they saw the city. Fell in love and moved.
How lucky for us to have great friends in Petaluma. She owns the award winning antique store, “The French Hen.” Petaluma is an antique shoppers dream. Now you know the best store in town. Don’t miss it.
Maybe you’ve been there when they have the yearly “antique fair.”
Her husband is the honorary spokesperson for Petaluma, so called “Petaluma Pete.” You can find him playing his honky-tonk piano all over town at various street corners. We’ve been friends for thirty five years. How we met is another story for another time (but it is a good one).
I would love for you to meet him. The best way is to listen as he dons his tux, white gloves and bowler hat to serenade the sidewalk shoppers.
Petaluma Pete has been pounding the keys on the Petaluma streets for eight years, but he does more than make music. He has a “YouTube” kids series. He talks to kids about the local police (coffee with a cop), he tours the architectural marvels of the city and he also promotes the city nationwide.
Check out the Top Ten Reasons why a business should relocate to Petaluma. (And listen to some great honky-tonk piano)