“You’re not going to want to come home,” said Zach, confidently. I suspected he might be right, that the impulse to turn my NYC life into a Sonoma life might infect me like an acute sickness.
But, alas. I’m happy to be back to New York — subway stickiness, crowded streets, surliness, and all. I get that tingly feeling when I see the City lit up at night, and feel its lavish, buzz-y energy reverberate somewhere deep in my bones. This is home.
It’s not that I do not love California — more specifically, the gently rolling hills and happy sunshine of wine country. My friend Urs and I spent a week in Zach’s lovely little bungalow, somewhere between Petaluma and Santa Rosa, in Sonoma county — big sky country. We could see cows in every direction, munching and mooing and doing their cow thing. When the wind blew, we could smell them, too.
It was a magical place, especially for city girls like us. At night, a mosaic of stars blanketed the sky. I built a fire and felt accomplished. We sat around it talking at night, drinking local beer and munching on charred corn and sweet strawberries from the farm stand, watching the flames lick the black night.
Urs and I share priorities: namely, delicious things. We drank juicy zinfandel at Seghisio Winery, buoyant bubbly at J, and ate steak at Central Market. We tipped back oysters at the Marshall Store into our mouths, sweet and briny as the sea below.
We drove down windy Highway 1, the Pacific lapping at the shore, for Red Hawk from Cowgirl Creamy and creamy Bay Blue from Point Reyes Cheese Company. Farmstead bread dotted with fat, sweet figs. Verdant sugar snaps and juicy peaches. We walked to the craggy shore to devour our picnic, ocean smell in our hair. What a fabulously abundant bounty, draught and all.
So why didn’t I cancel my plane ticket home, camp out with vineyards and craft brew and sunshine?
Driving everywhere is so not my thing.
I’ll take a sweaty NYC subway over parking lot-esque traffic anytime. I love that I can walk everywhere here. Californians generally don’t walk anywhere.
It’s too damn sunny.
I am a moody writer. I love rainy days and snowy nights — the better for brooding, and inspirations, and revelations.
NYC is sanctuary for people who don’t belong elsewhere.
I love farm-fresh goodies.
We ate killer sushi and smoky German sausages in Cali. But in a square block of NYC there’s a whole smaller city of great delicacies — pork buns and arepas, tacos and cocktails, pho and fried chicken. I’m spoiled…
If you’re hungry late at night in Sonoma…
…you’re out of luck.
I get lonely.
Even with all the cows.
So here I am, New York. You’re stuck with me.