The Petaluma Pumpkin Patch

At the start of October, Ty and I brought in the season with “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” a 1966 classic that fills my soul with joy. Linus: “Each year, the Great Pumpkin rises out of the pumpkin patch that he thinks is the most sincere. He’s gotta pick this one. He’s got to. I don’t see how a pumpkin patch can be more sincere than this one. You can look around and there’s not a sign of hypocrisy. Nothing but sincerity as far as the eye can see.”

I feel that way about pumpkins. In California, we were driving down the highway and I spotted an orange-dotted field and yelped. Tyson pulled right over.

The Petaluma Pumpkin Patch is sincere enough for me, each squash grown locally by a farmer named Jim, whom we saw pulling up to the farm with a truckload of orange. I squealed like the deprived Phoenician that I am.

Look at those stems. You don’t see stems like that on the pumpkins at the grocery store, or those glorious pumpkin hues — although Trader Joe’s does get some.


I loved wandering the rows, marveling that a pumpkin begins as a blossom.

This patch was even rimmed with nodding sunflowers, dripping pollen all over their leaves.

“If we lived here, you’d be here every day,” Tyson said.

I know, I said.

“If we had kids,” he said, “we would bring them here, to this patch, and they could choose.”

“Yes,” I said, exactly.

I’ve tried to explain why I feel this way about pumpkins. My birthday is at the end of October — the 29th — and as a little girl, when I saw pumpkins in stores, I knew good things were about to happen: my mom’s pretty presents, a party, a visit from Granna, and then Halloween, Thanksgiving pies with my Aunt Marianne, and on into Christmas.

Pumpkins bring all of that to me.

Petaluma is in Sonoma County, California, just north of San Francisco. Arizona friends: there are seven places around our state where you can find a pumpkin patch with sincerity and actual pumpkins growing in fields. That list is here.

To my other readers, please tell me where you’ve found your own Great Pumpkins. I like to know these places exist somewhere out there, and I can visit come fall. (P.S. Seriously searching for a great patch near NYC, so I can go visit next weekend.)

I’ve heard you can grow pumpkins in Phoenix. Do you know such a soul? Can I come over?

By |2012-10-18T05:14:08-07:00October 18th, 2012|Travel|1 Comment

Home is whenever I’m with you

The Arizona summer rain woke me last night. Lightning made fireworks on the ceiling. I opened the windows and gave in to the romance, welcomed home by my beloved monsoons.

It was the kind of vacation that filled me with joy and left me encouraged to do brave things. The days were paved by new, lifelong friends, morning kayak rides across glassy Lake Tahoe, a woman named Belle, and nights driving across the Golden Gate Bridge.

I feel brand new.

Meanwhile, I’ve missed you.  A few scenes from the journey:

Free expression after an afternoon ride across the lake.

(Photo by genius friend Colin Vincent. Helps to have a photographer on board. P.S. Go see his yachting in evening gown series here. I looooove it.)

Morning at Camp K, Lake Tahoe. (Photo: Colin, again.)

An afternoon in a hammock with my vacation read: Adam Ross’ incredible collection of short stories,Ladies and Gentlemen. I actually miss the characters when the stories end. It’s one of the most enchanting and accomplished story collections I’ve ever read. You’ll adore. I folded down every other page corner hoping to remember a beautiful sentence or metaphor.

Fourth of July house party, dancing on the lawn. (Photo by Colin, and the rest will be, too.)

The two non-blondes and Nigel (whose owner is the third non-blonde.) Love you, H. Thank you for this.

And then on to the city, for our friend DJ Solomon‘s birthday party, swanky nights at Mas Sake (where you MUST go for drinks and appetizers in the city), a walk in Golden Gate Park and romantic bridge drives.

Sunset on the bridge at 50 miles per hour. (Colin!)

Magic, all around.

By |2011-07-11T13:10:07-07:00July 11th, 2011|Travel|1 Comment


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