It’s a strange time of year when people pull out boxes full of green, white, and red decorations and lights to adorn their homes. Stranger yet, people cut down trees, bring them into their homes, and decorate them with lights and even more colorful decorations.
The sheer display of biodiversity found along beautiful Clear Lake never ceases to amaze daytrippers–myself included. Although the term biological diversity was introduced by J. Arthur Harris in 1916, it was Walter G. Rosen who coined the term biodiversity to discuss the richness and variety of species, according to famed entomologist E. O. Wilson. On any given day, the lake flaunts her moods with brooding blue waters, matching grey-blue clouds bunched overhead, ringed by you got it, blue-hued hills. Regarding all of those blue tones, The National Institute of Health tells us that the color blue proves powerful in aiding in improving the moods of many people.
Well, ready or not, the holiday season is in full swing! As usual, the last autumn leaves are ready to give way to a winter slumber, and we remember and give thanks. The Bloom wants to thank you, our readers, for generously supporting us. And a huge thanks to those who advertise in The Bloom. Thank you all. The Bloom can’t do what we do without our community support. And speaking about our community, one of my favorite things about living in Lake County is our small businesses. Our small business owners are our friends, neighbors, and community leaders. And the simple fact is Lake County would not be what it is without them. So The Bloom is thrilled to bring you our shopping guide in Middletown with a couple of brand-new businesses for you to check out! Then, catch up with our most recent Pay It Forward article and one new addition for the holiday season. For some, the holidays might not be the happiest time of year, and we want to include a weekly article reflecting that. As always, don’t miss out on what’s happening with our live music venues, some good news, poetry, and history. From the bottom of my heart, I am grateful for you, and I wish you the happiest Thanksgiving.
Middletown, resting at the foot of Mt. Saint Helena, has long been a halfway point for people heading to other places–hence the name Middletown. But that’s rapidly changing, and it’s easy to spend a day here enjoying all it has to offer. It’s got a vibrant art scene, great shops, and plenty of places to pick up the absolute best gift for someone you love. Here are a few great suggestions.
At a time of the year, when many of us are the center of a human bee-hive of family and friends, and have work we enjoy, feelings of loneliness don’t pay us much attention. Still, there are many of our friends, who are older, or because of illness or the loss of someone near and dear to them, feel alone. They suffer more often from those great cripplers; loneliness and depression. In a world so wonderful and amazing, some may wonder why being lonely has gained such control over so many people’s lives.
I am happy to present to you our twentieth local business spotlighted in the Pay it Forward feature – The Home Décor Store.
Our recent Lake County business featured was Sassys Salon/New Era Barber and owner, Sonja Samuels, chose to Pay it Forward to Patrice Ryan, one of the owners of The Home Décor Store (co-owners also include Monica Alberigi & Lynn Damelio).
The catch is that I will not choose the next business to interview, but the current spotlighted business will choose who I will interview next. Local businesses will Pay it Forward.
Got your turkey thawed out yet? It’s that time again. What can I say about Thanksgiving that I haven’t said before?… Well, on Thanksgiving Day, it’s gonna be all about turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, yams, cranberries, string beans, dinner rolls, tons of snacks and pumpkin pie. Friday, it’s leftover turkey, mashers, stuffing, yams etc. Then from Saturday on it’s turkey parmesan, turkey crepes, turkey sandwiches, turkey a La king, turkey casserole, turkey enchiladas, turkey crunch wrap, turkey tetrazzini, turkey and stuffing meatballs, turkey eggrolls, turkey tacos and of course, the leftover skeleton makes a great turkey soup. By the time all the turkey and other foods are gone, it’s time for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Rohatsu, New Year’s Day and Solstice, plus a host of other celebrations and parties where gorging is a part of the event. It’s enough to make one cry on New Years Day, “TGIJ!” (thank goodness it’s January…). Well, there are gonna be some music events happening this weekend that are just waiting to make you wanna dance in both preparation and reparations, well, you know… Here’s the live music guide for the week of 11/21 through 11/27…
Well, it’s that time of year again. We are about to get really busy for a while and then go back to a more normal pace come about January 2nd. There’s so much to do in such a short period of time, it seems. And when the new year rolls around, we’ll probably think of so many things we wanted to do and just couldn’t fit it all in. In any case, we’ve already filled our calendars for the rest of the year with must-dos!
For the past three years, The Bloom has put together a holiday shopping guide every week between Thanksgiving and Christmas to support Lake County’s small businesses. I never could have imagined that our businesses would need support now as much as they did during covid, but, the truth is, they do. So, without further ado, we’re going to get a jump start on our shopping guide by sharing some great local wines meant to pair with your holiday meals and time with friends and family. Then, join Kathleen Scavone as she talks about the amazing terroir in Lake County and the science that makes our wines exceptional. And don’t forget to catch up with Mike Guarniero and the Music Guide–there’s lots going on in the area over the weekend. Then add a little good news, some poetry, and a dose of local history to make a great start to your weekend!
It’s true: the holidays in Lake County are beautiful. By Thanksgiving, the last of the yellow-orange oak leaves have fallen, and fall is slowly shifting towards winter. It’s time for short days and long nights, warm evenings by the fire, and, of course, some great local wine. Whether you’re inviting family and friends over for a holiday meal, enjoying a special breakfast, or reading a book on a rainy evening, here are five great Lake County wines you can enjoy on any occasion.
With dozens of wineries spread across the landscape, it’s no secret that our county regularly produces award-winning wines. Napa Valley has been purchasing grapes from Lake County for decades. The volcanic soils, in combination with climate and altitude provide the perfect terroir. Terroir is a French word meaning ‘land’ and commonly explains environmental features or characteristics affecting a vineyard’s biochemical and physiological properties. It can also include the farming methods and the unique habitat of a particular vineyard.
Right now, I’m nursing myself back to better. Friday night, when I finished playing a gig, I was walking down the stairs, missed a step, and accomplished something akin to a triple gainer off the diving board. Fortunately, I landed more on my guitar case than my face. No damage to the case, but I ache from my shoulder to my toes. Chalk it up to a stupid old man incident. Fortunately, no one was there to witness it. Here’s something we can all witness – the live music guide for the week of 11/14 through 11/20…
This week I’ve been waking up every morning thinking of things I am thankful for. I don’t know if it’s the season or what, but I’ve been overwhelmed with gratitude for so many things: the health of my family, my home, good food, our first egg from our hens, and you, our readers. The list goes on and on. And it seems when I read the “other” news in the world, my gratitude grows and grows. This week, many of you will be getting a gift from The Bloom as a thank-you for your financial support. As I’ve said so many times before, The Bloom can’t do what it does (free subscriptions for all) without the support of our readership. So from the bottom of my heart, thank you!
I’m excited to get a chance to tell you about a new restaurant and tasting room in Lakeport! Then Kathleen is going to tell us about the tiny creatures, antlions. You’ve probably seen them and not known what they were. Then catch up on the local music events happening in the area, read some good news, poetry, and some local history. It’s a great start to a great weekend in Lake County.
The November evening rests calm and crisp. The hustle and bustle of the weekday has turned into a peaceful twilight. In Library Park, the gazebo shines, gently lit by the reflections of streetlights. Even the lake, now dark purple and shimmering, seems at ease. And just across the street from the park, you’ll find On the Waterfront, Lake County’s new tasting room and restaurant. Warmly lit, it welcomes visitors to come in, sit back, and relax for a while. The back wall is filled with hundreds of bottles of Sol Rouge wines, known as some of the best in the United States and winners of more awards than you can count. To the left is the tasting room, but we’re headed to the right, where we sit at a table in the dining area. Behind us, a wall of backlit bottles glows warmly while big band music plays quietly in the background.
Have you ever walked by a cone-shaped indentation in the soil and wondered what it was? I always believed those artful little craters were caused by industrious squirrels. It turns out, those are antlion pits! Antlions are also called ‘doodle bugs’ because of another art form they create, that being squiggle-like marks they formulate on the ground.
Well, it was a bittersweet weekend for me, closing the books on two of my bands, Dr Groove and the 1st Sunday Open Jam. Bittersweet only because it’s always sad to see something come to an end, and sweet because of the turnout at the Sunday Jam. They will both be forever locked in my memories. But these endings serve to bring on new beginnings and other fun things to come. No, folks, I’m not hanging up my guitars, just the opposite – I’m preparing for something even more exciting. Stay tuned… In the meantime, there’ll still be many live music opportunities here in The LC for the week of 11/7 through 11/13. Check it out!…
My favorite season of the year continues as we move into November. This last week I finally picked the last of my garden’s harvest before getting it ready for winter and letting the chickens have their turn. My refrigerator and freezer are full, and so is my woodshed. I’m just settling into the thankful season. And I don’t know about you, but these days, I’m choosing the longer drives to and from my destinations just because I don’t want to miss any of Lake County’s colors. And before we know it, an even busier season will begin! So I’m all for savoring these shorter bright sunny days.
This week, things slow down just a bit, and I finally get to tell you about three of my favorite antique shops in Lake County. I promise they won’t disappoint. Then settle in and catch up with our live music, good news, poetry, and a good dose of local history. I’m not sure what your plans are for the weekend, but I hope it includes some of your favorite food, drink, and good company, even if it’s just a good book! Have a great weekend Lake County.
Not too long ago, I found myself lost in time in one of our local antique stores. There in front of me stood a cream and brown metal range and oven kitchenette, every detail thoughtfully in place from a little sink to two burgers, oven, and shelves with storage. Once I got past the shock and realization that, yes, I am old enough to see some of my childhood toys in an antique store, acceptance set in. Suddenly, I was six again, making muffins, pies, and cookies in my own playroom, serving my tasty morsels to my imaginary company, and having the best time!
If you are an antique lover, we’ve got some great places to explore. Here are three must-visit antique stores in Lake County.
Little by little, Boggs Mountain Demonstration State Forest (BMDSF) is becoming a destination for hikers, picnickers, and other nature lovers once again. It was evident on a recent hike up there on lovely Gail’s Trail that work crews had been hard at work with maintenance and infrastructure improvements.
The Shop Coffee-Tea-Etc. is a locally owned and operated trendy and cozy coffee shop offering a wide selection of exceptional coffees, teas, shakes, smoothies and more … with plenty of non-dairy options. Every month offers different mouth-watering specials – from thin mint mochas to fruity pebble matchas. They also offer paninis, wraps, and breakfast items to please any patron’s palette. Their service is top-notch, with several 5-star reviews and a modern-day approach.
Something about the Fall season always reminds me of coming together again. Maybe it’s a natural progression of changing seasons from frolicking in the great outdoors and sunshine. Slowly, as the temperatures cool, it naturally brings us back indoors and inevitably closer to those we love.
The roving and secretive mountain lions of Lake County live in our densely tangled slopes, canyons, and forests. The mountain lion is masterful at remaining hidden, however, it does make its presence known from time to time. Most recently, a mountain lion was spotted on a south county resident’s critter cam after it made a meal of some plump sheep. With all of the deer in the vicinity, it was a hard reminder that livestock and pets are vulnerable as well.
“Do you think we’re going the right way”? I ask, brushing a leaning corn stalk from my face. The Fall sun filters through the maze around us as we turn down a trail cut through the never-ending cornfield. I hear chatter and voices of other visitors coming from somewhere just out of sight.
“I have no idea. I’m not the one leading the way,” David chuckles as we shuffle along behind our kids.
“It’s a dead-end,” announces our son. We all turn to retrace our steps. We’re about a third of the way in the maze, and our goal at this point is to get to the snack shack provided Wildhurst Vineyard. Walking through the fourteen-foot tall corn, it seems that the maze is bigger this year. More invisible shouts and giggles draw closer, then fade away again as others continue to get lost.
Locals Barber + Salon is a locally owned and operated salon offering a high-end grooming experience with exceptional service and a modern approach. Stacie the Barber has been a licensed cosmetologist since 2008 and a licensed barber since 2015 – she has been operating in Lakeport for 10 years.
It’s a bright fall day. The first colors of autumn leaves reluctantly give way to the shorter days and cooler nights. It’s a quiet, calm evening at Mad Mac’s Bar and Grill just off Highway 20 in the heart of Clearlake Oaks. A young couple casually make their way inside, even though it’s cool enough to enjoy the spacious outdoor patio seating. Inside, a full bar welcomes locals for a quick bite and friendly conversation.