Nancy, Barb and I decided to explore the Charles M. Schulz Museum here in Santa Rosa. Yes, they have an entire museum dedicated to that famous Peanuts cartoonist. It is composed of three buildings and gardens.
The main building houses the museum itself. Enter to see the famous Lucy psychiatrist stand. Although they show a movie in the entrance lobby area, we passed on this to give us more time to take in the museum.
Into the museum, our eyes looked ahead to view a mural of the famous Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown to kick. When we got up close to it we realized that the mural is composed of 3,588 Peanuts comic strip images printed on individual 2- by 8-inch ceramic tiles. We asked. We didn't count them.
Looking up towards the side, we saw a replica of Snoopy's home wrapped in fabric.
The main exhibit is located in the Strip Rotation Gallery where we were able to view strips of Peanuts cartoons grouped in particular subjects. It's easy to spend an hour enjoying this gallery, especially viewing a lot of the oldies. There is only one area where you can use your camera to get a photo of you and the gang.
Upstairs is Sparky's Studio. This permanent installation is a re-creation of Schulz’s working area in his studio at One Snoopy Place in Santa Rosa, California. It contains the drawing board he used almost from the beginning of his career and his desk. The shelves and walls in the exhibition include his personal books, gifts, photos, and memorabilia.
We walked outside of the building where there were various Peanuts sculptures and the second building that houses a skating rink and cafe.
The third building is the gift shop with a second floor of more Peanuts exhibits that do not require a ticket to view. You can check it all out on www.schulzmuseum.org.
We checked in at a more than delightful place called Melitta Station Inn that has an interesting history. "Melitta Station Inn originated as an inn owned by the Wiseman family around 1880. Situated along the County road between Santa Rosa and Sonoma, the property was a stage-coach stop before the coming of the Southern Pacific railroad in 1887. This rail line was used to transport basalt paving slabs to San Francisco from quarries owned by the Wymore and Violetti families. The quarries were up on the hill to the south-west side of the inn situated in what is now Annadel State Park.
In the 1890's Melitta was one of the most active train stations for such shipments, and drew on a steady stream of skilled Italian immigrant stone-masons to hew the rock. These workers lodged at Melitta Station Inn until they were able to rent their own accommodation.
At one time there were reputed to be 35 folks in residence! Through the years, Melitta Station was used as a general store and post office for the small town of Melitta. Melitta (or Melita) is derived from the the native-American word for "poppy"- which grew in abundance on the valley floor. Later it became a feed store owned by the Hefti family in the 40's and 50's before becoming an antique store and "hippy" commune in the seventies.
The Inn was renovated as a bed and breakfast and opened again as an inn in 1985. The five rooms are tastefully furnished with antiques and comfortable queen beds, and each has its own private bath. There is also a beautiful two-bedroom suite. We feature fine English linens and cozy comforters and each room has its own individual heating.
Our Inn is located in an area rich with history, where you can visit the Jack London home and ranch, Luther Burbank's home and gardens where many heirloom varieties of fruits and vegetables were hybridized, and the historic town of Sonoma.
Sonoma was the original site of the founding of the Bear Flag Republic of California in 1846. The briefly independent (10 days!) state soon was persuaded to join Abe Lincoln's Union to secure the recently discover silver supplies for the Union Treasury against the looming Confederacy revolt."
As for the accommodations, the word, "charm" best fits it. The Inn is owned by Jackie and Tim Thresh, who haul from the UK. Jackie is the chef and she shared one of her recipes.
Swedish Egg Cake with Seasonal Fruits
Ingredients to serve: 6
10 ounces of any stale cake (provided it has no butter-cream or frosting and is not strong flavored) 7 ounces of cream cheese (must be Philadelphia brand) 2 ounces sugar 1 cup of half and half 4 eggs 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Blend together all ingredients except cake crumbs. Place cake crumbs in a mixing bowl and pour the blended mixture over the crumbs. Cover and refrigerate to soak overnight.
In the morning, preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Mash the soaked crumb mixture with a potato masher and pour into a really well-greased 10 inch ceramic flan dish. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until golden brown. Allow cake to cool slightly before cutting and serving.
Prepare fresh seasonal fruits according to availability and preference. Hint: use apple juice to avoid color deterioration in apple, pear, banana and other sensitive fruits.
Cut wedge-shaped portions of the cake and serve with a dusting of powdered sugar. Garnish plates artistically with the fruits and a sprig of mint.
Oh, yeah...they even have spa facilities including getting a massage. www.melittastationinn.com For reservations call: (800) 504-3099 or (707) 538-7712.
Nancy, Barb and I are off to dinner in downtown Santa Rosa. There is this wonderful French type bistro called Bistro 29. Here is what I read on their website before checking out the menu. "Bistro 29 is a traditional bistro specializing in “Breton” regional cuisine. The number 29 comes from the department of Finistère (end of the earth) located in the upper tip of north-west France. Known for the Galette de blé noir (traditional buckwheat crêpe) and sweet crêpes, Bretagne also uses a variety of local seafood and produce that can easily be found in and around northern California.
At Bistro 29 we strive to make traditional and nontraditional dishes using these ingredients and old world techniques. If there are any questions with the menu please feel free to ask your server for any help."
Keep in mind that we were there in early June and thus the menu has changed since our visit. What did we eat? All at the suggestion of Executive Chef Brian Anderson.
Soupe des Johnnies: onion cider soup with buckwheat crepe dentelle and gruyere cheese. In other words, their take on a French Onion Soup. We loved it!
Seared Goat Cheese Crottin: endive, grilled pears and hazelnut salad with banyuls vinaigrette.
Buckwheat crepe with wild mushrooms. Had to have a savory crepe.
Daube of Beef: red wine braised beef with fromage blanc and Sierra Rose potato puree caramelized baby turnips and grilled spring onions.
Seared Duck Breast: with rye spatzle, cherry-rye whiskey reduction and wild arugula-almond salad (Doesn't this make your mouth water?)
Brick Roasted "Spring" Chicken: with Brussels sprouts, tarragon jus and truffle pommes frites.
Because it was my birthday, we had a piece of chocolate cake, a few beignets and a buckwheat crepe with a scoop of ice cream that the chef makes.
We all agreed that the food here was more than yummy.
I took these photos, and I have to say that they are not the best...but you get the drift.
Safari West was the next stop on our Santa Rosa itinerary. This is probably the next best thing to going to Africa and doing a game drive. It's not one of those places that you drive your car and the animals come up to you to possibly pee on your vehicle.
When Nancy, Barbara and I arrived at the front area (that also houses the gift shop) we were directed down a path passing a cage if some species of monkeys to where the tours begin. While waiting, we noticed the food facilities, mostly used for special events or those staying overnight. A bbq meal was set up for those wishing to purchase lunch.
During the first part of the tour we walked to a section that would be more characterized as a zoo showcasing caged animals including marsupials, and reptiles and some birds. However, there was another separate aviary, where we walked around while the these large birds did as they pleased. One seemed to be the greeter and would escort our little group for awhile.
It was then onto the jeep, just as if you were on the African safari. We drove to different sections as the driver would have to unlock and lock gates in order to view the various species. It is rare for an animal to approach the jeep...except for the giraffes and we are told that even if they take the glasses off of our face, not to touch them. Many of the animals are either extinct in the wild, threatened, or near threatened.
As for lodging, there is a choice of Safari Tents where you can choose from one king size bed, king size bed with double size bunk beds, or two double beds. Ensuite bathroom with shower. Outdoor sitting area, or Cottage: If canvas isn't your style, suitable for up to six guests, the two-bedroom cottage is equipped with a king bed and a double bunk bed. Private bathroom, kitchenette (mini-fridge, sink, microwave and coffeemaker) and outdoor sitting area. You can even get a massage.
Since the list of animals is much to long, I'll direct you to their website of www.safariwest.com