Petaluma is easy to find, straight up Highway 101, 32 miles north of San Francisco. It is the portal to Sonoma County, making Petaluma an ideal base for excursions to the Wine Country, the dramatic Sonoma Coast, and the majestic redwood groves.
The Petaluma area was part of a 66,000 acre (270-km²) 1834 Mexican land grant by Governor Jose Figueroa to Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo called Rancho Petaluma. In 1836, Vallejo ordered the construction of his Rancho Petaluma Adobe a ranch house in Petaluma, which his family often used as a summer home, while he resided in the neighboring town of Sonoma. Vallejo's influence and Mexican control in the region began to decline after Vallejo's arrest during the Bear Flag Revolt in 1846.
Pioneers moved to Petaluma from the eastern United States after James Marshall found gold in the Sierra Nevadas in 1848. The town's position on the Petaluma River in the heart of productive farmland was critical to its growth during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Sailing scows, such as the scow schooner Alma (1892), and steamers plied the river between Petaluma and San Francisco, carrying agricultural produce and raw materials to the burgeoning city of San Francisco during the California Gold Rush.
Petaluma soon became known for its grain milling and chicken processing industries, which continue to the present as a smaller fraction of its commerce. At one time, Petaluma was known as the "Egg Capital of the World," sparking such nicknames as "Chickaluma". Petaluma hosted the only known Poultry drugstore and is the place where the egg incubator was invented by Lyman Byce in 1879.
One of the largest historic chicken processing plants still stands in the central area of town; this 1930s brick building is no longer used for the chicken industry, but is being evaluated for preservation and change of use. Even though it is no longer known as the Egg Capital of the World, Petaluma maintains a strong agricultural base today with dairy farms, olive groves, vineyards, and berry and vegetable farms.
Petaluma is today the location of many distinguished, well-preserved pre-1906 buildings and Victorian homes on the western side of the river. In the 1960s there was a counter-culture migration out of San Francisco into Marin County and southern Sonoma County, looking for inexpensive housing in a less urban environment. The old Victorian, Queen Anne and Eastlake style houses were restored. Historic iron-front buildings in the downtown commercial district were also rescued. Traffic and new home development for the most part was rerouted to the east of downtown by the construction of the 101 freeway. The downtown Petaluma Historic Commercial District is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Concord is 30 miles east of San Francisco, the area was first inhabited by the Bay Miwok Indians and explored by the Spanish in the late 18th century. Concord was established on the initiative of Salvio Pacheco in 1868 under the name Todos Santos, the city was renamed for Concord, Massachusetts, in 1869.Concord Details »
The Dixon city was incorporated in the year 1878 and is today the hub for miles of grain alfalfa and dairy farming. Dixon also has a long history in the sheep industry and today hosts an annual sheep festival known as Lamb Town. Dixon also hosts the May Fair, which is the oldest state fair in California.Dixon Details »
Fairfield is the county seat of Solano County, CaliforniaFairfield Details »
Thousands of years ago, this beautiful, lush area we call Healdsburg was home to the Pomo Indians. These early residents built their villages in the open, fertile valleys along the Russian River. Occasional visits of European sailing vessels on the California Coast from the 1500’s to early 1800’s had little impact on our area.Healdsburg Details »
Hidden Valley Lake
Hidden Valley Lake, CA, (HVL) was originated and developed by the USA Land Corp. from the late 1960s until 1972. During that time, a dam was constructed across Coyote Creek creating the 102 acre "Hidden Valley Lake." Also during that time several buildings were constructed - clubhouse, cart barn, tennis courts and campground - and the 18-Hole "Billy Bell" golf course was installed. Its original design was as a vacation/recreation retreat. From 1970-72, the Equestrian Center and Country Club (later, Community Center) were built. 3310 lots were laid out for homes. Another 695 larger lots were also laid out in a nearby area called "The Ranchos." In 1972, USA Land Corp. was bought by Boise Cascade. BC offered model vacation homes, regular homes and vacation rentals. BC promoted the leisure-time and recreational activities available at HVL throughout the Western USA.Hidden Valley Lake Details »
Lakeport was first settled by Native Americans several thousand years ago. At the coming of the settlers, the Kabe-napos, a subtribe of the Pomo people, lived here within their main village. The village name was Kaci-Badon, after the water lily plant Kaci and badon which was the native name for island.Lakeport Details »
Lower Lake was founded by E. Mitchell in 1858 as Grantville. He built the first house there. The settlement's first post office was opened in 1858.Lower Lake Details »
Oakmont is a 55+ community located in Sonoma County and features three pools, three recreation centers, two 18 hole golf courses, over 3300 homes and approximately 5500 residents. miles of hiking trails, over 100 clubs and organizations and much more!Oakmont Details »
Rio Vista, the “Heart of the Delta” was established in 1858 along the scenic Sacramento River. The Delta region is one of the most productive farming regions of the United States.Rio Vista Details »
Rohnert Park is one of the first planned communities in the United States. The city was designed with families in mind, with the focus being on children. Each Rohnert Park neighborhood was designed around a city park and elementary school, and the tree-lined streets are connected by bikeways and walkways. The city is also home to Sonoma State University, which offers 9 credential programs and eight undergraduate and graduate certificate programs. Although the original designer's focus was children, the needs of seniors were not left out.Rohnert Park Details »
Santa Rosa was settled by Missouri farmers and frontiersmen and stood as a stronghold for the Confederacy in a Yankee county during the Civil War. The center of a farming area, Santa Rosa grew to 50,000 people by 1970 and then, bolstered by well-to-do commuters and retirees, doubled in size in less than 20 years.Santa Rosa Details »
Sebastopol serves as the hub of Western Sonoma County Wine Country. Sebastopol is the gateway to the breathtaking Sonoma Coastline and Russian River Redwood Corridor.Sebastopol Details »
The city of Sonoma is the birthplace of the California wine industry. Sonoma Valley’s quaint towns glow with as much character as the local wines. Sonoma is a historically significant city in California; its historic town plaza is a remnant of the town’s Mexican colonial past. Today, Sonoma is the home of the Sonoma International Film Festival.Sonoma Details »
Vacaville is a charming city in Northern California's Solano County, considered to be part of both the San Francisco Bay Area and the Sacramento Valley. It is best known as the home of the Nut Tree Airport, which showcases historic aircraft from the 20th century, and the Vacaville Premium Outlets retail centerVacaville Details »
Windsor, Sonoma County’s newest town is located in the heart of Sonoma County and is the “GATEWAY TO THE WINE COUNTRY”. Located less than one hour from the San Francisco Bay Area and minutes from the Pacific Ocean, Redwood Forest, health resorts, the Russian River and world-class wineries, Windsor offers a rural atmosphere with city conveniences.?Currently, Windsor is Sonoma County’s fastest-growing town.Windsor Details »