The Laughing Lady leans back and guffaws, her huge, smiling body rocking. Meanwhile, the boy above her sticks his tongue out, then slowly draws it back in. The nutcracker wiggles back and forth eagerly, while blackbirds desperately try to get out of the pie. But it’s just getting started. The kittens search for their lost mittens, while Giannini from the Bank of Italy in San Francisco looks on impassively. The Fonz, the Man From U. N. C. L. E, and Atom Ant all make an appearance, as does Fozzie Bear. It’s just another afternoon at the Lunchbox Museum in Nice, where Deb Clarke showcases her massive collection of retro Americana.
“We’re creating healthy alternatives for people,” Josh says, finishing up the smoothie while Margie rings up the customer. “When I discovered this, I worked at the post office, and Margie was at CVS. Hang on.” He pulls out his phone and scrolls through it. “Here it is.” He flips the screen our way, showing a picture of him with a neck brace. “I had to go through neck and spine surgery and felt terrible. But I lost 100 pounds in ten months, and feel great. Margie lost 50 pounds.” He’s bouncing around the shop, full of energy. Margie’s just as excited as Josh. “It’s a healthy café,” she adds. “We have protein waffles, protein donuts, vegan options, and a fitness and recovery menu. “We are making a healthy, active lifestyle hub. It’s more than coming in and getting shakes.”
Hidden Valley Lake is located in the southern part of Lake County where residents can enjoy more than a dozen amenities in and around the 102-acre lake including a semi-private 18-hole championship golf course and modern camping facilities. The Hidden Valley Lake Association supports more than 100 jobs in hospitality, private security, landscape maintenance, finance and other industries.
While unloading disposable surgical masks and hand sanitizers for Middletown area small businesses and nonprofits recently, we asked Chanele Hellwege why she started her shipping, packing and vehicle registration business on Hwy 175 in Middletown, she responded, “See a need, fill a need.” And that is how Middletown Mail and More got started.
It’s seven o’clock in Middletown, California. The sun has just set, leaving its last beams to stretch across the rugged Mayacamas Mountains. As the last glimmer of purple eases from the ridges of Mount St. Helena, the lights around Twin Pine Casino begin to glimmer. Located approximately thirty minutes north of Calistoga and just south of Middletown, a rural town with an incredible art gallery and spectacular Thai food, Twin Pine has been a part of the Middletown community for decades. It hosts free Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, supports the local community, and serves as an evacuation center during fires. And, like everyone else, Twin Pine has had to adapt. Following the COVID shut down in March, Twin Pine made some large adjustments to ensure that the guests were safe when they visited.
Shannon Scudder, Guest Services Manager, sits at a couch in front of the large windows of the Tallman Hotel, looking at a guest book dated from the turn of the 20th century. “Look at the handwriting on this one,” she says, her finger resting halfway down the page. “It’s lovely. I like to pull the […]
The first annual Big Valley, Small Farm Tour will be held on September 21st. In preparation, The Bloom is writing articles on some of the farms that will be participating. For more information on the tour, please visit their Facebook page. The sun blazes overhead, searing my skin. It’s August in Lake County, and the […]
I’m standing at the register talking to Dale Grable, owner of Thai American Market, about some of the products he carries. “You know the sriracha sauce you see everywhere?” he asks me, a knowing look in his eyes. “Of course,” I reply. “That’s not made in Thailand,” he continues, then begins to tell me more. […]
The blue of an afternoon Lake County sky stretches like a canvas across the opened barn doors. It appears like an old Mediterranean landscape painting, with the puff of oak trees rising above green tufts of Dancing Poly’s extensive garden. Artwork hangs along the walls, reflecting the glimmer of the strung lights overhead. Two heavy […]
Simon Avery of Peace and Plenty Farm turns his head sideways, looking at the saffron plants stretching down several rows. It’s a cold day, and clouds shroud the top of Mt. Konocti, scudding quickly across the sky. He shudders as a chill wind whips across the fields. “It’s a mile walk if you take all the rows,” he tells me, hunching his shoulders inward to keep warm. His cracked, farmer’s hands rub against his shirt. “And you’re bent over like this,” Melinda Price demonstrates, her tall form reaching down past her knees, her blonde hair pulled back into a bun. “All day. Picking the flowers.”
“We’ve had people visit us from Australia, France, England, Germany, Spain,” Paul Vejar, co-owner of the Featherbed Railroad lists off. “Spain,” June Vejar adds. Then she counts more countries off on her fingers. “Switzerland, Russia, Mexico.” She pauses. “All over South America.” We’re standing outside, a red caboose on either side of us. The wind […]
Gary Butrick, owner of Carlton Tire, steps out into the waiting room from the back office, his white hair and beard shining in the sun. “You doing okay?” he asks a waiting customer, who nods. Another person steps in the room. “How can I help you?” he asks. “I need some tires,” the woman begins. […]
It’s pretty amazing that Lake County has an Asian food market. But even better than that is the fact that Lake County has a great Asian food market. Thai American Market in Nice, founded by Dale and his wife Yupi, is the perfect Asian food store for people who don’t know what to do at […]
It’s the “More” part of “Jackson’s Thrift and More” that makes Jackson’s so unique. I met Jeni Jackson, the owner, a year or two back when I wandered into her business. I saw the refinished furniture outside and decided to head in and see what she had. As I walked in the doors, I saw […]
We recently got a new wood stove. It’s been long overdue. The one in our house was from the late 1970’s and had seen better days. It had been installed somewhere else before, and whoever hauled it up to our house had dragged it up the steps with a team of trained monkeys, leaving scratches […]
I’ll just be clear from the beginning: Lakeside Appliance in Clearlake is the only store I’ll ever buy an appliance from again. I’ve got my reasons, including my own Lake County Christmas miracle that involves them. Even without my happy Christmas story, it’s rare to run into a business that runs with such a dedication […]