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Sebastappeal - Sarah Gurney - June 2016


Sebastappeal - June 2016 - Sarah Gurney

by Sarah Glade Gurney

Perhaps you remember vacations like I do.

During grade school, I saw a lot of the USA in our Chevrolet – as many states as my parents could drive through, several National Parks, and historical spots like Boston and Washington DC. Old enough to travel alone for several weeks, I spent time with my relatives in Utah, as well as with my best friend who had moved far away to Southern California. After high school, I toured Europe with a train pass. As a new homeowner and working mother, I didn’t have time or money to spend on vacations any fancier than camping. Now semi-retired, I chose activities, like hiking or bicycling trips.

In my lifetime, I’ve witnessed the concept of vacation be re-defined. Vacations used to come in one or two week increments. Now they range from two days, for 24/7 business people, to two months, for those with leisure time. Distance has expanded. People fly more often to more exotic places. It’s also contracted. Staycations were invented out of necessity, due to high gasoline prices and economic downturn.  

Indulge yourself by traveling at home. There’s so much to do in Sebastopol that it’s worth considering a staycation. Food, music, books, shopping, art, nature – Sebastopol can provide you a rich and relaxing experience. 

Get outdoors.
Take a walk around town. Need a guide? Try the book, Sebastopol Walks, or The Ped Line. Cross the bridge over the Laguna to Meadowlark Field and the County trail. Take a swim at Ives Pool and sunbathe on the lawn. Walk your dog to the dog park at Ragle. Ride your bike to Forestville on the West County Trail or to Santa Rosa on the Rodota Trail. No bike? Comfortable cruisers are for rent at the Sebastopol Bike Center Uber Bikes for $35/day.

Browse and buy.
Visit any number of unique shops for unusual and one-of-a-kind items. Treat yourself to a little something. Go into a store you’ve never entered before.  Chat a while with the staff. 

Go civic.
Use our popular Library; check out some books, and the new gardens that surround it and City Hall. Buy a note card and mail it at our landmark Post Office. Catch some local history at our Museum. Attend a public meeting. On Tuesday nights, catch the City Council or Planning Commission.

Visit the Farm Market and other destinations.
Fresh produce, flowers, cheese, local products – bring your cloth grocery bag to The Plaza on Sunday morning and fill it up. Come down for a late breakfast or lunch from the pop-up restaurants. Main Street is a half-block away, The Barlow across the crosswalk and down a bit.

Enjoy dinner and something cultural.
Return to your favorite restaurant or pick a new one for a nice meal followed by some live music, theater, a movie, or that evening’s offering by our Community Cultural Center.

There are more reasons than fun to experience a staycation.

Learn about home.
With no time in airports or on freeways, you’ll have the luxury of extra time to explore your home territory. Investigate places you want to know better, maybe even some you’ve never been to: parks, museums, galleries, shops, neighborhoods, the Laguna. Ride the Sebastopol Shuttle, Local Route 24, and see what our town looks like out the high bus windows. 

Save money.
With no airfare and little gas expense, your vacation budget could seem a lot more flush. Indulge yourself with a special meal at a fine restaurant, a spa treatment, or a night of live theater.

Spend your dollars locally.
There are a lot of great businesses to support. Tour new or used clothing stores downtown. Browse for books, home décor, or a fun gift for a grandchild. Enjoy a cookie, ice cream, or yogurt, perhaps a beer or glass of wine, while you mosey. Your purchases help our local economy. Research shows that your dollars supporting a local merchant will circulate seven times in town.

Build your community. 
Not rushing to school drop-offs or on errands, you’ll encounter friends and enjoy conversations, made difficult when hurrying around in a car. Your interactions are an investment in our quality of life.

For more information on what to do, go to