Here, We Ride

Trail buff or road warrior, Santa Rosa is the coolest town on two wheels.

So clip in, tighten your helmet, go full screen, press play and prepare to soar through an often bird’s eye view sampling of Santa Rosa’s most dramatic bike rides.


Luther Burbank Gardens
Are Blooming Beautiful

There is so much to love about Santa Rosa, especially the endless amount of family-friendly things to do that won’t break the bank. One of the most interesting and enjoyable is the Luther Burbank Home & Gardens.

Not only is this place loaded with history and beauty, it’s easy to get to, a breeze to park and FREE to visit. It is one of my favorite places anywhere and I visit often, finding new fun stuff each time!

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Luther Burbank was the cool cat of his time, often hanging out with such notable characters as Thomas Edison, Helen Keller, Frida Khalo and Jack London. People who knew of him often adored him, hanging on his every word in a variety of subjects. Born in Lancaster, Massachusetts in 1849 and having inherited his mother’s love of gardening, he had much success in farming, specifically plant breeding. He was very successful at a young age with the creation of the Russet Burbank potato, which is still the most widely grown potato in America today.

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Following his three brothers, he headed west by train in 1875, seeking to continue his work in a better climate. He fell in love with Santa Rosa, as we all do, the first time he visited and purchased a 4-acre plot, then established the beautiful home and surrounding gardens that we are all able to enjoy today. Over his 50-year career, he created over 800 different varieties of plants.

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Luther Burbank once said, “Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful: they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.” I couldn’t agree more. A visit to his home and gardens centers me every damn time! I love this place; it is such a symbol of the beauty, history and immense culture that is Santa Rosa.

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Luther Burbank Home & Gardens is located in an awesome old area of Santa Rosa with plenty of neighborhood street parking. Visiting and self-touring is free. They even offer a free audio tour through your cell phone. It’s located at 204 Santa Rosa Avenue (surprise!) in Santa Rosa. Do visit the website for more information, www.lutherburbank.org. They have tons of cool events, discounted tours for kids and even free resources for teachers. Go once and you will go again and again, I promise!

-5Thanks again to gracious guest blogger Robyn Grace Jennings for another great post. Robyn is a freelance writer, enthusiastic gardener and cook and crazy chicken lady. She can be reached at rng@rocketmail.com.


Santa Rosa or Busk

Busking, or street performing, is a time honored tradition of musicians all over the world.

Its a unique element when experiencing a city, that gives passerby's a window into the sounds of local culture, that they may have otherwise never known.

Any day of the week in front of Oliver’s Market one can encounter an ever-changing gammot of local talent. Irish fiddle one day, blues guitar the next, accordion ensembles, loop artists, percussionists, folk singers; you’re eventually bound to hear something you like, and throw a few bucks in the jar.

In 2010, local musician and artist Aaron Milligan Green appealed to the city, gathering 3,000 signatures from Santa Rosa Residents to make Busking a legal and welcome activity. Anyone can now go into city hall and request a permit to play in public spaces for tips, with certain regulations of course. At the bottom of this page you can download a permit, get the guidelines and read the Street Performers Ordinance.

Try your luck, though! Just like any job, it has its challenges, and takes dedication to be successful. Busking can be an invaluable asset to a musical career. Allowing for the chance to practice, and perfect performances, play in front of people, network, advertise a craft, and make money doing what you love.

We are lucky to live in a place that follows in the footsteps of some of the most enchanting cities in the world, where music is embraced and displayed as a cultural gem. And Santa Rosa is lucky to have so many talented artists, bringing new sounds to our local street life.

Here's just a short sample of the sidewalk sounds of Santa Rosa.


Restaurant Week Review:
Bird and the Bottle

With over 130 restaurants participating in this year’s Restaurant Week here in Sonoma County, it’s not hard to find a spot that’s tailor made to suit all your food and drink desires.

Menus are generally available online, which is incredibly convenient. It took only a few minutes of browsing on my iPhone before settling in on Bird & The Bottle, located just off the 101 on Fourth Street. I’d both heard and read the odd praise before my meal there, which set in place a bar I hoped would remain consistent.

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Right off the bat, I appreciate B&TB’s location. Fourth Street tends to carry with it some trepidation regarding parking, but the location is just far enough east to safely reduce the prospect of block circling and hazard lights. Instantaneous parking, albeit on a Tuesday night, makes for a great start to any meal.

Once indoors, you’re greeted with a tasteful and cozy scene. The building was originally constructed as a home in the early 1900s, and although thoroughly renovated, there is definitely a vibe of homey intimacy, especially in the upstairs section where we were seated. Acoustics in the room where we dined initially came off as noisy, but I soon retracted that thought after realizing it was less about the room and more about the man behind me who took to conversation like he was relaying traffic from a helicopter.

Ok, food time. Being that it’s Restaurant Week, we went straight for their exclusive prix-fixe menu and got to ordering: three courses, each with a few options, $39. Our waitress was terrific and laid out the basics with an infectious cheer. Soon we were enjoying a delicious craft beer and cocktail and getting in the odd conversation when the chopper reporter was catching his breath.

restaurant week: prix fixe menu

The appetizer was wood grilled goat brie, red pepper roasted garlic jam, and smoked almonds. The warm brie was gooey, subtle, and worked well with the toasted rye bread. The jam and almonds brought up the rearguard with an interesting contrast, and we made the dish disappear with shameless speed.

Restaurant Week: Prix Fixe menu

I’m a huge pork fan, and the “Moo Shu Style” smoked pork shoulder clicked immediately. The garlic chive pancakes were crepe-thin yet surprisingly fluffy – a great mouthfeel when combined with the pork. Excellent selection of trimmings and even homemade kimchi!
I can’t speak to their regular menu, but the Restaurant Week offerings were hearty and filling. My partner and I merely ordered one of the $39 prix-fixe selections and it was the perfect amount of food to get us safely to dessert.

Goo Goo Pie in Another Jar rounded out the evening. This was basically a Mason jar full of peanut butter custard, caramel, and chocolate. A tad rich for my tastes, but delicious nonetheless.

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Overall, I had a great time at Bird & The Bottle, and would definitely return. Although food is the all important criteria for judging a restaurant, there are many other factors that play a role in the combined experience. I was happy that our server was kind, attentive, and knowledgable. We received our food and drinks in a timely fashion and the entire meal went by, as it should, smooth and enjoyable.

Bird & The Bottle

1055 Fourth Street
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
707-568-4000