Petaluma, CA: A wonderful place to call home.
10 years ago, I never would have guessed I'd be living in Petaluma, CA today. After moving to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1998, I had settled in the lovely bay-side town of Sausalito--at the North end of the Golden Gate Bridge. Petaluma WAS on my radar at the time. It was the Outlet Mall town. Every few months, I'd drive 30 minutes North on Hwy 101 and take the Petaluma Boulevard North exit, shop at my favorite outlet stores, jump back on the freeway and head home. Not once did I drive through Petaluma's lovely downtown. I didn't even know it existed.
7 years ago, I had been dating my now-husband, Jim for a while and when he informed me that he was buying a house in Petaluma, he invited me to move in with him. I didn't really get it. I didn't understand why Petaluma was the place. Just before he closed escrow, he took me for a ride to visit our soon-to-be new home. We drove up the 101 and we took the Petaluma Boulevard South exit.
This road took us alongside a river inlet from the bay and around a bend. Up ahead of us, the beautiful historically rich town of Petaluma, CA was revealed to me. Old farm houses, ornate Victorians and antique shops lined the streets as we approached the delightful downtown area. My jaw dropped. I had no clue that Petaluma was like this. At the center of town, he turned left onto another street. Just seven blocks up, he pulled his truck into the driveway of a darling 1920s craftsman bungalow. I was speechless.
This is the house we have called our home ever since, in the town that we will call home for the rest of our lives. How lucky am I to have the opportunity to share the secrets of Petaluma with others. When I meet people from out of town at open houses, I almost have to stop myself from gushing about what a great place this is.
Living very close to downtown, a big luxury is taking a leisurely stroll to our favorite restaurants such as Graziano's, Hiro's or Mi Pueblo. Listening to live music at The Mystic Theater is one of our favorite date night activities.
On the weekends throughout the year, the downtown is bustling with different festivals and events. The Wednesday and Saturday Farmers' Markets bring the town back in touch with its strong agricultural history and give friends a chance to bump into eachother and catch up.
3 years ago, our daughter was born. Her birth was the biggest catalyst which cemented Petaluma in my heart as the town for me. I joined the Petaluma Mothers' Club shortly after her birth. I found a playgroup for her. What I didn't realize at the time was that this playgroup was really for me.
That first day, I met a group of women with children born around the same time as my daughter. I didn't know at the time that that a few of these women would soon become some of my closest friends. Every Friday for over two-and a half years now, my daughter and I have met up with these moms and their children. We have shared victories and hardships, big and small. We schedule kid-free Moms' Nights Out together. Our husbands even have their own Dads' Nights and we get together as familes regularly.
I couldn't imagine what my life would be like here without this wonderful sense of connectedness and community which was spawned by my joining a moms' group. Who knew?
Who knew 10 years ago that I would be in love with this little town? The "Outlet Mall town" I visited but understood nothing about. It is funny how life works. I wouldn't change a thing. Every day, I learn more about this town I call home. It never ceases to impress and amaze me. Thank you Petaluma.