What we love about Sonoma County

For Valentine’s Day, we asked staff members to share some of their thoughts and memories on what has helped spark their love affair with Sonoma County:

Elly Grogan, Senior Philanthropic Officer

I spent a good part of my childhood on a forty acre apple ranch outside Occidental. It was a magical place to be as a kid; I could roam and explore and wonder and imagine to my heart’s content. I stomped in puddles and got stuck in the mud, climbed trees, got happily lost, played in redwood forests, and marveled at how small I felt in such a big and beautiful world. That early, deep connection to nature has shaped who I am today, and is a big part of why I love Sonoma County, with its agricultural heritage and wild open spaces.

Ann Butterfield | VP for Finance and Operations

In the mid-‘80s I would travel up to Santa Rosa for business purposes from the Peninsula. It always seemed so far away, but every time I made the drive and the beautiful rural scenery rolled out before me, I felt a sense of calm. I had an inkling that one day I’d end up living here. Years later, when I had the opportunity to take a position in Sebastopol, we jumped at the chance and, 20 years later, my wife and I have raised our kids here and we smile every day knowing that we live in this beautiful place of Sonoma County.

Ariana Díaz De León

The first time I went to Armstrong Grove, I marveled at the coolness of the forest, the tallness of the trees, the dampness of the ferns—it completely filled my senses. I felt like I was in another world, where I could be truly present and connected, with the mindfulness to notice the tiniest of things. I have gone back hiking many times and my experience there always reminds me that it is a deeply spiritual getaway in the heart of Sonoma County that makes all my worries melt away.

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