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Pondering Petaluma - February 2013


Pondering Petaluma
February 2013

As you’re probably aware, many people experience a definite change in their mood once the cold weather sets in.  I’ll admit it – I’ve been guilty of letting the winter ‘mood’ get the better of me at times.  So when I start to feel that ‘feeling’ I get up and go do something different.  Something that inspires me or something that I’ve always wanted to try – like learning how to play guitar.  Now keep in mind I’ve only had 2 lessons (Thank you Katie Freeman) and my playing is pretty sloppy at best but I have to say, when I pick up the guitar and eek out a few decent sounding chords, I feel happier and more content.  

Whether you find the inspiration indoors or out – just look around town because it’s everywhere.  Indulge yourself and just see if you don’t feel that winter chill start to melt away!  Here are a few suggestions to get you started…



Shollenberger Park
Pro and novice birders alike can delight in the beauty and variety of the many bird species at Shollenberger Park.  This well-protected wetland borders Adobe Creek and the Petaluma River and has a variety of diked ponds, marsh vegetation and open fields.  The 2 mi loop is level and mostly paved.  Visitors will find an amazing number of bird species there in any season.  Large flocks of shorebirds and water fowl make this their winter home.  Not into birding?  No problem, Shollenberger Park is great for a stroll, bike ride or jog.

Helen Putnam Regional Park
Amazing beauty right in our own backyard!  Helen Putnam Park is just 3 miles from downtown and feels like a real getaway spot.  It’s on the smallish side and is perfect for a day out with family and friends.  This park is a great destination for beginning hikers. Eight different trails wind through the hills of grand oaks and swaying grasslands.  Late winter brings the first bursts of wildflowers to the hillsides and you’ll always be treated to incredible views from any direction.  This is a Regional Park so there is a small fee for day use ($6.00 I believe) but this park is definitely worth the price of admission.

Stroll through the Petaluma Historical Museum’s Black History Month exhibit titled, “African Americans – Then and Now.”  The exhibit will include a timeline of blacks in the United States with special emphasis placed on little known facts about black history and focusing on the positive periods in which black people have been able to express their self determination and perseverance. The exhibit will open of Saturday, Feb 2 with a series of short videos starting at 1:00 p.m. Museum hours are Thurs-Sat 10a.m. to 4p.m. and Sun Noon to 3p.m. The cost for the exhibit is $5 general admission, $3 seniors and members, children under 12 and military free. On Friday, Feb 8, the opening “Gala” will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. This is a Roaring 20’s party with music by Jazz Trio- Bob Johns, piano – David Scott, sax; and Dorian Bartley, vocals/bass. The cost is $10. Come dressed in your 20’s attire. Tickets at the door or by calling the museum at 778-4398. The museum is located at 20 4th Street, Petaluma.

Somewhat new to town is The Sunflower Center at 1435 N. McDowell Blvd.  I have yet to make it there but have heard some really wonderful things about all the activities happening. Founded by Lydia Kindheart of Lydia’s Organics, The Sunflower Center’s motto is “Healing the World One Tummy at a Time.”  Along with a restaurant on-site, The Sunflower Center also offers an array of activities for anyone of any age.  Every Tuesday at 6:30 there are open mic sessions featuring local musicians, there’s also craft sessions for kids, balance classes for seniors and several different workshops for adults.  More info at
Do you love to garden? Stop by Petaluma Bounty for their Fruit Tree Pruning & Care class.  They are offering 3 sessions, Saturday 2/2 10am-12pm and Saturday 2/9 10am – 12pm and 1pm – 3pm.  You’ll learn how to prune and train your own fruit trees for health, beauty and fruit. You’ll be spending some time hands-on in the orchard so bring your tools.  Find out more at