Your Lakeport Holiday Shopping Guide

Lakeport lights up during the holiday season. As you drive down Main Street, you’ll be illuminated by brightly lit streetlamps, cheery shops, and a collection of restaurants to suit everyone’s tastes. Plus, they’ve got a great selection of small businesses that stock all kinds of unique, one-of-a-kind items. Here are a few places to find just the right thing for a loved one. 

What’s Up This Week – 12.8.24

This is the time of year when I look back on the last twelve months to learn more about you, our readers. Turns out you didn’t care much for the two articles I wrote outside of Lake County. Sonoma and San Francisco have their thing, but you read The Bloom to learn more about life here. So, I’ll probably stick to local stories in 2024 for our lead articles. Even so, our largest readership is still San Francisco and the Bay Area, followed by Sacramento. Sorry, Lake County, you are still in third place. 

Our newest column, the Pay It Forward series by Lori Armstong, turned out to be a huge hit. You still love our science pieces by Kathleen Scavone, the Music Guide, and Gene Paleno’s Lake County History. So, what’s going to be new in 2024? I’m so glad you asked. I’m looking at expanding our poetry and arts section to include more of you! I’ll keep the suspense building until the New Year. Stay tuned because I think you’re really gonna like it. 

In the meantime, you are in for all kinds of good things this week. We’re continuing our Holiday Shopping Guide series when we visit Lakeport. Then catch up on our recent Pay It Forward–it’s a good one–followed by Backstage Lake County by Charise Reynolds and a mental health piece. With all these heartwarming stories, don’t forget to catch up on the Music Guide, all kinds of good news, and local history! Whew, that’s a wrap. Have a great weekend, Lake County, and happy holidays to you and yours.

Pay it Forward: Flickerstix Candle Co.

I am happy to present to you our twenty-first local business spotlighted in the Pay it Forward feature – Flickerstix Candle Co.

Our recent Lake County business featured was The Home Décor Store and one of the owners, Patrice Ryan, chose to Pay it Forward to Tina Ball, owner of Flickerstix Candle Co.

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.

Backstage Lake County: Merry Christmas, Scrooge!

The creative team at New Vintage Productions has partnered with the Soper Reese Theatre to bring a classic Dickens tale to life, but with a couple of twists.  Merry Christmas, Scrooge! is an original, locally written play that retells the story of A Christmas Carol with a little help from Santa’s elves.  And, the entire cast is made up of kids and teens ranging from ages 6 to 17. 

What’s Up This Week – 12.1.23

As the year winds down and I reflect on 2023, various thoughts come to mind that I’d like to share with you. Here’s one of them: This year, many people have asked me about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and whether I plan to implement it into The Bloom. I even had someone suggest that if I didn’t adapt to it, I might be lost as a writer and left behind—oh, the horror! So recently, I experimented with an AI (whom I’ll refer to as Aimee because it seems fitting) and had her write some mental health articles and a few restaurant reviews just to gauge her capabilities. To my relief, Aimee, in my humble opinion, falls short. However, from a certain editorial perspective, I give her full credit. Yet, from an artistic standpoint, and dare I say, a human perspective, she is lacking. She lacks the magic and spark that any good writer possesses. I’m sorry, Aimee, but I don’t see you becoming a regular contributor to The Bloom in the near future. Rest assured, readers, everything in The Bloom will continue to be written by real people, and any financial support you provide goes to our human writers. Whew, that was a close one!

This week, we’re continuing with our holiday shopping guide as we visit Kelseyville. If you were distracted and missed last week’s shopping guide, be sure to check it out because Middletown has a few new businesses you may not know about. Don’t miss Kathleen Scavone’s piece on Lake County’s biodiversity and culture. Then catch up with a bit of mental health, written by yours truly. Head over to the Music guide, read lots of good news and a bit of poetry. Have a great weekend, and we’ll see you at one of the many parades happening all over Lake County!

Your Kelseyville Holiday Shopping Guide

If you haven’t had a chance to visit Kelseyville, you’re missing out on one of the most unique towns in Lake County. Part farming community, part wine country, and all locally focused, Kelseyville is chock full of great shops, great food and great tasting rooms. It’s the perfect place to spend an afternoon looking for a special gift for a special someone. 

An Abundance of Biodiversity

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.

What’s Up This Week – 11.24.23

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.

Your Middletown Holiday Shopping Guide

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. 

Loneliness During the Holidays

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.

Pay it Forward: The Home Decor Store

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.

Lake County Music Guide – 11.22.23

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…

What’s Up This Week – 11.17.23

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!

Five Great Lake County Wines Perfect for the Holidays

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.

Lake County’s Terrific Terroir

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.

Lake County Music Guide – 11.14.23

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…

Breathtaking Wine, Amazing Food, Fantastic Experience: On the Waterfront

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.

Antlions – That’s the Pits!

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.

Three Must-Visit Antique Stores in 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.

Pay It Forward – The Shop Coffee-Tea-Etc.

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.

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