.Down on Main: Welcome Home to Sebastopol

From the Gravenstein Apple Fair to the Luther Burbank Experimental Farm, the eclectic town of Sebastopol has always been about community and deep-rooted connections.

Main Street is no exception. The thoroughfare of the town of just over 7,000 hosts some of Sonoma County’s best farm-to-table dining, fine art, unique retail stores and recreation. Some of the shops downtown—including Copperfield’s Books, the Milk and Honey Goddess shop, Rosemary’s Garden Herbs and Dressers Clothing—have been around for decades.

These retailers have lasted because they are focused on and attentive to their customer and visitor communities alike. It’s close to impossible to go into Copperfield’s without emerging with something from the new fiction section, notecards and maybe even a candle. Dressers, the clothing store now managed by founder Mary Grul’s daughter, Tessa, offers the desirable combination of customer service paired with a well-curated selection of unique clothing, honed over two generations.

Be assured, there are many newcomers that share the same local and community aesthetic, which bodes well for business in Sebastopol. The new burger stop Lunch Box, for example, with its recent blue exterior paint job and a remodeled dining room, features a variety of burgers and sandwiches that can be ordered online or eaten in-house, including one called the “Omnivore’s Dilemma.”

A few doors down from Lunch Box is the newly opened Americana Café, offering classic American fare in a thoughtful farm-to-table style, created by the owners of Valley Ford’s Estero Cafe.

Cafés are a mainstay of any community, and Sebastopol has numerous coffee options, including Taylor Lane in the Barlow and Retrograde Coffee.

Retrograde is not quite an old-timer yet, but not brand new either. Founded in 2014, the coffee bar and roaster offers the full café experience, with indoor and outdoor seating where one can sip espressos or matcha lattes and have a pastry. Their orange cappuccino cups are a plus. And for those serious about coffee, there are a variety of Retrograde roasted beans and coffee-making supplies to use at home.

If one is looking for something less buzzy and more relaxing, then look no further than the new Soft Medicine Sanctuary, opened last September in the building where the Dhyana Center thrived for 25 years (now recreated as Dhyana Essentials). Soft Medicine Sanctuary is the epitome of Sebastopol community health and hospitality, a wellness café serving kava, bone broth drinks, a plethora of teas and many other unique drinks and treats.

The calm vibe is palpable upon entering the spacious open-floor-plan gathering space. Comfortable couches, a community tea table, hanging plants and soft lighting all add to the ambience. There’s even a wide selection of yoga and meditation classes and workshops.

Owner Kakouti Khamda and her staff are kind and attentive. While relaxing on a red fainting couch, behind a polished wood slab table, one can have a blue kava drink, made with honey, cardamom and lime with blue lotus kava extract. For something savory, the smooth curry bone broth, topped with microgreens, is not to be missed. And for one’s inner kid, there’s always the grass-fed chocolate milk made from raw cacao, pine pollen and A2A2 milk, which lacks a protein contained in other milk, and consequently, might be more digestible for the lactose intolerant.

Another new kid on the block is Seed and Sew, a plant and craft shop in the space where Rosemary’s Garden was located before it moved down the street. The current owner, Tara Jenkins, a former hairdresser, bought the Flourish plant shop a few months back. She offers the same plants and gifts as Flourish but has also added craft supplies and children’s toys, aligning with the town’s family and grassroots focus.

For locals and visitors alike, Sebastopol is a warm, welcoming place, offering community and connection, even with daily interactions as simple as buying a plant or a cup of coffee or tea.

Kary Hesshttp://karyhess.com
Kary Hess is the author of the poetry collection 1912, creator of the SparkTarot® and producer of the feature film Pill Head. She lives and works in Sonoma County, CA.


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