By Wildwood

The Blue Wing Hotel*

HL treated us all to a lovely lunch at The Girl and the Fig restaurant in Sonoma. It was a perfect day to eat outside, and we were lucky to get a table on the patio. We had a lovely relaxing lunch recalling past trips we have taken together. They have all been different, and we have never failed to have a wonderful time.

After lunch we strolled around the central square. The rich history of the city of Sonoma is still reflected in the adobe brick and colonial buildings built by the Spanish and later the Mexicans. The final mission, in a chain built by the Franciscan friars, and stretching from the Mexican border, a day's walk apart is just off the square. Ultimately, the early white settlers in the area got together, declared their independence and established the Bear Flag Republic. The Bear flag still flies over the state capitol, now in Sacramento.

It is sometimes a bit jarring to see an espresso bar or a wine tasting room in these venerable old buildings, so I prefer the ones that are slightly off the beaten path, empty and relatively untouched. I love the peeling layers of paint and plaster, revealing adobe bricks and aged wooden verandas and balconies. It is not difficult to imagine the travelers and soldiers who stayed there and sat on the veranda in the evening....

*Built in 1840 by General Mariano Vallejo for the accommodation of emigrants and other travelers, the building was converted to a hotel during the Gold Rush.

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