Carlo Petrini founded the Slow Food movement to promote the use of fresh local foods. “Slow” eventually became shorthand for a philosophy and way of life that is now applied to many activities and aspects of life, or generally as Slow Living.
Sonoma is the first area in the United States to be designated “Cittaslow,” which translates from Italian to mean Slow City. Our curiosity peaked, we decided it was time to visit and experience slow city life. With no plans, schedules nor time limit, we set off to see it for ourselves.
The short road trip from San Francisco took about an hour. We arrived on a sun filled, blue-sky day. Mother nature was doing her part. Slowness was setting in. We drove into the town center and easily found a parking spot (no meter, no parking limit). Ah….
We walked at a slow pace. We looked around slowly. Yet, we took it all in one viewpoint. There were two playgrounds for our daughter to choose from. Some shops and galleries were open, others not, which dictated our path. We wandered around a corner to discover an amazing local bookshop named accurately Readers Books. It was cozy, with stacks of books and seating to encourage rest and a chance to peruse the offerings. Ahhh …
As hunger set, we paid for our books and decided to ask advice of the shopkeeper for a family friendly restaurant for brunch. We wanted one which would not take too much of a toll on our wallets. We were directed to Sunflower Caffe’ –with a very casual environment, no reservations or waiting. Order your meal, sit down with a number and wait for a server to arrive. The offerings were varied and interesting. There was fresh omelets with local eggs, kale and ricotta cheese. Our daughter loved the waffle and fresh squeezed orange juice. The door was open; a fresh breeze blew in from the outdoor seating in front to the garden out back. We took our time, eating and enjoying the food and each other. Ahhhhhh….
Lastly, we remembered that we had a dinner party soon to attend. We wanted to take a nice bottle of wine. Knowing nothing about wine from Sonoma we ducked into a little place called Sonoma Wine Shop. They focus on small production, small wineries that have no other outlet for sales. The wines are one of a kind and the woman working that morning was great at explaining the options to go with ragu lasagna. We left with a great and affordable gift. Ahhhhhhhhh. . .
Our last stop in the plaza was to visit the Lisa Kristine Gallery that was showing her dramatic and engaging photography from around the world. “ Lisa has documented in more than 100 countries around the world, inspiring unity and global change as well as bringing to light such tragedies as modern day slavery and extreme poverty. “
A stroll through the park, some fresh food, a great gift supporting local wineries and finally art seen through beautiful photography – slow city living did not disappoint. In Sonoma, we eased our bodies and minds. Slowing down, taking in the long-view of life is essential.
Photography Credit: Fabio Cuzzi