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Geyserville Grapevine - February 2015

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Geyserville Grapevine - February 2015

Whew! So now we’ve survived the big holidays and my personal fears of a dark and gloomy winter here seem to be unfounded – so far. The clear bright days have made everything bright and sparkling.  Recently, I pointed out the glowing blue sky behind Geyser Peak to local author Arisa Victor, who noted its beauty but wisely added, “I’d rather be looking at it through rain.” This brought me back to reality, reminding me that what I see as glorious weather isn’t exactly filling our reservoirs here as the drought continues.

Here at Isis Oasis, we celebrate Mother Nature every day. One of our volunteers, Sam Gray, thinks this is part of a much larger trend, something Sam calls a  “femnaissance” or revival of the feminine in all aspects of culture, hopefully for the betterment of the world. Hm. Maybe we should host a Femnaissance Faire here!  (And add a rain dance while we’re at it!)

As everyone knows, February has an event devoted to passion, when many are drawn together by a mysterious, almost magnetic force, ultimately uniting in joy and wonder. Yes, I’m talking about the Lake Sonoma Steelhead Festival.

Up at Lake Sonoma’s beautiful waters, the annual Festival will be in full swing soon, offering avid anglers an excuse to drop a line.  The festival happens on Saturday, February 7th, at the Milt Brandt Visitors Center at Lake Sonoma. It runs from 10am to 4pm and offers dozens of vendors, archery, live music, and guided tours of the Congressman Don Clausen Fish Hatchery. The event is free to the public though you’ll probably want to have something in your pocket to spend on the food, beer, and wine vendors.  But if you’re feeling frugal, you can even try your hand at bringing home a trout for dinner. If you’re successful, this really could be one of the least expensive days out for the family anywhere. 

For those who don’t know about the local steelhead trout in our rivers, the more famous salmon running elsewhere have nothing on these local stalwart fish. Like river salmon, these colorful silver and orange trout travel thousands of miles to come back home to spawn, and they offer a dazzling spectacle as they climb up our own local fish ladder, leaping as they go.  While the Steelhead Festival is the most fun way to get to know these fish, you can also take free guided tours of the hatchery on any weekday during the Steelhead Run between January and March. Book these by calling (707) 431-4533. Or you can take a self-guided tour without an appointment.  Insider hint: if you just have to learn all of the details of artificial spawning, that can only be observed on Thursdays.  

More information is available at http://www.lakesonoma.org

Foodie Moment of the Month  

It’s not quite part of downtown Geyserville, but the nearby River Rock Casino is another local dining option for our town, and I made a visit there with a friend for lunch this past month. The shocker? We discovered that the Quail Run buffet is currently closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, something I’ll remember next time. So, we ended up at their full service restaurant, the Center Stage Bar and Grill, at the far edge of the vast expanse of slot machines.  Instead of grazing at the buffet, I managed nicely (and probably saved a few thousand calories or so!) by ordering a tasty Western Bacon Burger for lunch.  The casino also offers a café providing Chinese food and a bar with appetizers and snacks.

While the gambling part of it may not be for everyone, the gorgeous view of the Alexander Valley from the hillside location of the casino is worth the ten-minute drive up from “downtown” Geyserville all by itself.  If you time your visit for sunset, it’s even better.  And you do have a chance for a cultural experience. The River Rock Casino is operated by the Dry Creek Rancheria band of Pomo Indians, and there is a small but well-curated exhibit of local Pomo antique basketry which provides its own view into the rich native culture of this area.

Oh, and a word to the wise on that other passionate event in February – Valentine’s Day.  Most local restaurants are offering special menus and spaces are limited. Make your reservations now.