McEvoy Ranch isn’t “in” Petaluma, exactly. We’re just a few miles southwest of Petaluma, minutes away really, but the ranch is in Marin County, while Petaluma is in Sonoma County. So while Marin is our home, Petaluma is our house, so to speak. It’s where many of us live, where we go to pick up our mail, grab lunch, shop, play and hang out when we’re not nose to grindstone at the ranch.
We’re quite lucky to have Petaluma as our pied-à-terre. It’s sort of Stockton meets Austin; roots firmly planted in agriculture, dairy and chicken farming, but with a decidedly artsy, avant vibe.
Let’s face it; the name of the town is Petaluma…
And it was known as the Egg Capital of the World…
But it’s also home to a diverse and eclectic selection of restaurants, watering holes, shops and, um, attractions. By this we mean the Phoenix Theater. A short list of stops in Petaluma include Della Fattoria; one of the country’s finest bread bakers, The Mystic Theater, hosting national touring music acts, Tall Toad Music; home to fine vintage guitars and mandolins, The Buckhorn, dive bar supreme, The Seed Bank; a 1926 Sonoma County bank now housing 1,800 varieties of heirloom seeds, Central Market; farm-to-fork Californian-Mediterranean fare, Speakeasy; small tapas bistro with tasty late night eats, Sugo Trattoria; Italian-inspired food in a pretty setting and The Shuckery, home to the freshest oysters and seafood. And, of course, Volpi’s.
Petaluma has a thriving arts scene and it’s this community that really puts Petaluma on the map; the map from Time Bandits, not the one in your dad’s glove compartment. There’s a significant connection to Burning Man, for example; Mark di Suvero has maintained a studio here since 1979; and there’s this. Situated somewhere in the midst of all this wonderfulness is the Petaluma Arts Center, a jewel of an arts resource located in the town’s old train station. One of the coolest projects the PAC has going is its Idea Lounge; a series of conversations featuring two speakers, one from the arts, one not. The resulting dialogues are intended to reveal connections, between art and life, ideas and implementation. This concept resonates loud and clear at McEvoy Ranch, not only because Nion McEvoy has such a strong affiliation with the arts, but because Nion and his mother Nan before him considered the ranch a crossroads; a place to gather and exchange ideas. That’s just another reason why we love Petaluma, the egg capital we call house.