Sister V was visiting from Virginia for a week which meant outings just about every day.
Since V makes handmade greeting cards and does a lot of decorative rubber stamping, high on her list of places to go was to Mrs. Grossman's Sticker Factory in Petaluma in Southern Sonoma County. Petaluma is headquarters of Mrs. Grossman's.
Visitors can tour the factory, by reservation. The cost is $3 per person and, visitors get their $3 back if they spend $20 or more in the retail shop on the day of their tour.
Friend MA came along with us for our 11 a.m. tour. We saw stickers being printed, cut by lasers, and packed for shipping. We met employees and their dogs. Mrs. Grossman's is a dog-friendly workplace and as long as chief dog Angus approves, other employee's dogs come to work in the factory.
The final part of the tour is a Sticker Art craft project...each of us was given a blank postcard and bag of stickers.
As you can see, our creations were extraordinary! The fact that we were the only ones on our tour over the age of 10 or so, did not hold us back when it came to creativity.
Then it was on to do a bit of serious shopping in the company store. Believe me, it was not hard to spend $20 and a whole lot more. The store has stickers for just about every subject and theme. It also sells ribbon, card stock, scrapbooking materials, and lots more. When you go, be sure to check the sale tables and racks at the back of the store for special buys.
By now we were famished. Just a short drive from Mrs. Grossman's is Mr. Pickles Sandwich Shop.
Mr. Pickles is a franchise chain of neighborhood sandwich shops with locations mainly in California and Nevada. The Petaluma shop is one of the first Mr. Pickles and is always busy. Order your sandwich or salad in line and one of the staff will bring it to you. My favorite is the Tuna with Swiss Cheese, Avocado, and Cucumber...my bread choice is the Dutch Crunch.
After lunch, we headed to the City of Sonoma to spend the rest of the afternoon walking around the Plaza.
Unique shops, galleries, and restaurants line all four sides on Sonoma's Plaza. Wild Chickens used to wander on the Plaza, but this time we didn't see any.
We wandered into any and all shops that caught our attention. The Hipkiss Gallery is one of my personal favorites. It showcases the whimsical sculptures and art works of members of the Hipkiss family.
Our final stop along the Plaza was at the Mission San Francisco Solano, the last and northernmost California mission. It was the only mission founded after Mexico's independence from Spain and also the only mission founded without the prior approval of the Church.
Most of the Misson's buildings are open to visitors for a small fee.
Before heading home, we made one more stop few blocks off the Plaza at Vella Cheese, the small cheese factory where I first was introduced to Dry Jack Cheese. Other cheese producers now make Dry Jack, but, for me, none are as good as Vella's.
In the stone building where Vella first got its start, there is a small retail shop at the front and the factory at the back. The friendly staff cut samples for us of just about all the cheeses that Vella makes...they've come a long way from making just Dry Jack, but, to this day, I always come away with a wedge of Dry Jack.
And so ended a fun day.