When we bought our cottage in El Verano back in 1997 there weren’t many Sonoma weekenders in our little neighborhood. In fact, we quickly became known as “the people from San Francisco who are only going to be here on weekends.” There seemed to be a bit of local interest about us – and about what we were “going to do with the place.”
It was assumed that we were either going to extensively remodel and then re-sell the house or enlarge the cottage by building a second story (I’m not sure why, except that city people do seem to have a reputation for adding on). Our new next door neighbor approached us to introduce himself and to politely ask when we were going to start building and how high we planned to go as he was concerned about losing some of the privacy in his backyard. When we told him that we wanted to keep the house small and simple and would never be adding on a second story, he seemed quite relieved – and just a bit bewildered.
So, why had we bought the house?
We explained that we wanted the Sonoma cottage to be a sanctuary from the busy pace in San Francisco and we longed for a place to relax as a family away from our infamous summer fog. We wanted our kids to be happy doing simple things like running through the sprinkler and waiting for the faint sound of music from the approaching ice cream truck with their allowance money in their hands.
We wanted to spend as much time as possible being outdoors, to feel closer to nature, and to make activities like gardening, swimming, and bike riding routine.
As Sonoma weekenders, we see our cottage with fresh eyes at every visit and our feelings of anticipation and excitement never seem to fade. It’s the long distance relationship that never loses its luster. We never tire of hearing the crunch of gravel as we pull into our driveway, and the sound is our cue to take a deep breath and to embrace the tranquility. We love our little house in El Verano and we have an enduring appreciation for the many gifts it – and our neighborhood – continues to bring to our lives.
There will be more posts about our El Verano neighborhood and the entire “Springs” area – places rich in Sonoma County history and the setting for generations of happy memories.