Wherever today finds you, we hope that you are surrounded by those you love, even if it a four-legged friend. Considering today is Christmas Day, we thought you might enjoy reading one of our favorite holiday stories. “A Child’s Christmas in Wales”, a short story/poem by Dylan Thomas, tells the story of a Christmas over one hundred years ago. It’s a good way to kick back for a few minutes and enjoy the season. Plus, we’ve got more history and good news for you to peruse. We at The Bloom wish you the Merriest of Christmases. We will see you next year!
Over the years, our family has enjoyed some Christmas reading. We’ve read through The Little Match Girl, The Elves and the Shoemaker, A Christmas Carol, Sherlock Holmes and The Adventures of the Blue Carbuncle, and many other great stories. But one of our favorites is poet Dylan Thomas’ A Child’s Christmas in Wales, which we read every Christmas Eve. It’s a beautiful story that shares Christmas memories from over one hundred years ago. If you’re looking for an enjoyable short read, here’s a link to a public domain version:http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks07/0701261h.html
At a time of the year, when many of us are the center of a human bee-hive of family and friends, and have work we enjoy, feelings of loneliness don’t pay us much attention. Still, there are many of our friends, who are older, or because of illness or the loss of someone near and dear to them, feel alone. They suffer more often from those great cripplers; loneliness and depression. In a world so wonderful and amazing, some may wonder why being lonely has gained such control over so many people’s lives.
Opportunity is knocking — right here in our terrific Lake County commercial real estate region. It’s a very good time to buy for a variety of investor-friendly reasons. And that means it’s also a good time to sell! The gap between Lake County commercial real estate prices and those of adjacent counties is greater now than historical patterns, and I believe that gap is going to close in the next few years. In my opinion, buying now for a ten-year investment with values that could favorably escalate in just two to three years, would be a very, very smart move.
There’s still time to support your favorite local businesses, restaurants, and wineries this holiday season. This week, we’re excited to share with you two more great local businesses! Lakeside Arts and Gifts is the perfect place to pick up a few last-minute gifts, and if you are looking for fun family nights, be sure to swing by The Game Hub to pick up something for hours of enjoyment. Plus, if you plan your holiday shopping just right, you can enjoy a scenic view of the entire county. What a great time of year to see our local communities all decked out for the Holidays! Thank you for your part in supporting the fine small businesses of Lake County. We at The Bloom wish you the happiest of holidays.
It’s the holidays in Lake County. The pale winter sun reflects in spots and flashes off Clear Lake. A few bass boats putt along the shoreline, their owners flicking their lures into nooks and crevices, then winding them slowly in. At the nearby park, a couple sits at a picnic bench, eating lunch. And hidden off to the side, tucked like a treasure to the left of the boat launch, sits Lakeside Arts and Gifts.
Kyle’s owned The Game Hub for ten years now, and he’s gotten to know his customers. “I wanted to be a teacher,” he says, “but went a different direction. I fell in love with running a business. But it’s cool to see people grow up and keep coming in.” As he chats, his daughter pulls white sticker off a label sheet and puts it on his hoodie. “What you doing?” he says kindly. “Are you putting stickers on my back?” “No, she replies, then waits for him to turn around before putting another one on.
The good thing about a COVID Holiday is it gives us time to do ALL our favorite at-home traditions. We’ve made a list of our favorite holiday cookies, movies and meals, and books. We may be spending more time at home, but we will be busy. Whether we like it or not, this may be one of the coziest holidays ever! We’re excited to share with you more local businesses you can support, The Painted Bird Gallery and Two Sisters Antiques, hidden in the courtyard in downtown Kelseyville. Also, don’t forget to share some holiday cheer: check out our calendars and find a toy drive nearest you. We at The Bloom wish you the merriest holiday season.
Entering the courtyard’s just the beginning of the journey when you head in to meet the Two Sisters. A couple Radio Flyer wagons and a bubbling fountain filled with fish first greet you, followed by metal buckets, washbasins, and statues, the appropriate overflow of any good antique store. Then you’ll make your way up the stairs and meet them. Tina and Robin Kingsley stand in the middle of their store, looking at all the things they have collected over the years. They’re surrounded by embroidery, ceramics, galvanized tubs, candles, figurines, games, and various other good finds. We’ve got a little bit of everything,” Robin says, a smile in her words. “A lot of everything!” Tina interjects.
Bob Phillips stands in front of one of his photos, his feet spread slightly wider than shoulder-width, a facemask hiding his bearded face. Under his opened flannel shirt, a ‘D’Art Frog logo shows, half-hidden. “I consider myself a landscape photographer,” he says, thinking for a second. “I’m really an old school photographer.” On the walls around him hang his photographs. Sure, there’s a spectacular photo of Mt. Konocti shaded in the purples and blues of sunset on one wall, but near it, an image filled with holiday revelers hangs. Close-ups of radial airplane engines and painterly photographs of downtown Lakeport fill the walls next to them, showing that Bob’s more than just a landscape photographer. When I mention it, he smiles. “When the gallery was just my work,” he says, “I would have people come in, look at my photos, and ask, ‘How many photographers do you have?’” he laughs.
Everything changes. No matter how hard we try to keep a wonderful moment from ending or changing, sooner or later, it ends and slips away like sand between our fingers. That’s all right. When we continue to step out and have new experiences, our good memories keep, and we add to them. Cats change too. Cleo, my friend and writing associate, is a case in point. Now that Cleo is nearly two years old, and no longer a teenager, she has put away kitten attitudes. Cleo has developed not only a mind of her own but very definite ideas about how her world should be.
The stage is set at the Soper Reese Theater in Lakeport. Four Christmas trees frame the presentation screen, two to the left and two to the right. A grand piano and podium balance the front of the stage; it’s the first time the piano’s been out since March. Maryann Schmid and Olga Martin Steele, cofounders of the 1 Team, 1 Dream competition, bustle back and forth from the auditorium to the lobby, checking on the innumerable details involved in coordinating both a physical and virtual competition. The theater’s sparsely filled; everyone’s distanced and masked. Three judges sit at their tables on the floor, spaced in thirds across the stage: Pat Scully, Laurie Dohring, and Ernesto Padilla all wait eagerly to hear the contestants. Olga wipes down the microphones with disinfectant wipes, then steps to the podium and double-checks that the Facebook feed is up and running. “Welcome to the first-ever business competition in Lake County,” she begins.
December is upon us, and Covid hasn’t stopped the Holiday cheer in Lake County. Check out our calendar page and see some safe ways you can do to join in the fun! Between holiday decorating contests and toy drives, you’re bound to find something right for you. This is the year to support the community in whatever way we can. On that note, we’re excited to share with you another great business in Lake County, The Soap Shack. Handmade soaps, lotions, bath balms, and even chapstick are the perfect stocking stuffers for someone you know. Whether you are buying local gifts, wines, or supporting your favorite restaurant, you’re supporting local businesses. We at the Bloom wish you and yours a happy holiday season.
“It all started when we went to a craft fair,” James begins. “We bought some soap, and I said, ‘We could make soap better than this!’” Tiffany laughs as she remembers the conversation. “But you know, he went home and did it! We’ve been making soaps ever since.” A drying rack sits a few feet behind Tiffany with an array of different colored soaps arcing like a rainbow on it. Shelves line the walls, filled with essential oils. Their converted bus looks and smells like soap-lovers heaven on wheels.
As you may recall, I once had a cat named Calico. Mrs. Fallon, the widow neighbor lady, who lived across the road and passed away a few years ago, was the reason I acquired Calico. She had cats. After she was gone, the cats ran wild. When Calico came to my house, I adopted her. We became good friends.
Thanksgiving always comes just as the oaks that surround our home reach their peak colors and fill the entire hillside with bright oranges and yellows that only glow brighter in the early evening twilight. What a sight to see! It’s another fun week in The Bloom: We’re adding to our Holiday Shopping Guide two great Kelseyville stores: Oak and maker. If you haven’t had a chance to visit either yet, now’s the time. It’s certain you’ll find there the perfect, unique gift for a loved one. Also, it’s time to start writing letters to Santa. While you’re in Kelseyville visiting Oak, be sure to drop off your Santa letters at Hometown Consignments; he said he’d write back! You can read more about that below. And if you’ve got some extra free time, be sure to read artist Helen Kate McAllister’s profile: Lucid Dreaming. Best wishes to you, and a Happy Holidays from The Bloom.
Oak Boutique in Kelseyville feels more like walking into a friend’s home that also happens to have clothes for sale. Just inside, owner Caitlin Andrus warmly invites you into her world. A welcoming sitting area in front of the store encourages you to slow down and stay awhile, another gentle reminder that this isn’t going to be an everyday shopping experience. It’s no wonder Oak is loved by locals and visitors alike.
Sebrina Andrus, owner of maker. in Kelseyville, reaches far above her head and pulls hard on the window shades, swinging the blinds high up the large windows of what at one time was Kelseyville’s Farmers’ Savings Bank. Winter light shines through them, illuminating the hand-crafted products of maker.
This year, Hometown Consignments is proud to serve as one of Santa’s helpers this holiday season. Beginning Saturday, 11/28, please bring your kids to the store to drop off their special letter to Santa, and Santa promised to write back. All kids who come with get a candy cane. Hometown Consignments is located at 405 3rd. St. Unit C. Kelseyville, California.
County of Lake encompasses hills, flats, lakesides, elevated lake views, downtown, fringe-town, historic, contemporary, high maintenance established businesses, low-maintenance service businesses, large or small — and zoned lots waiting for your builder! And, more. Finding out what is right for you means taking a hard look at who you are in the light of business.
Now that we have settled into fall, we can sit back and enjoy the red-gold leaves falling around us. The air’s crisp and clean, and we’re heading into the holidays. What better time to shop local? Today The Bloom launches our Holiday Shopping Guide, showcasing some of the best businesses in the county; you’re sure to find the perfect gift. This week, we’re excited to introduce you to Koontz Mercantile. If you haven’t already been, you’ll find that there is a little something for everyone. Also, in the spirit of the season, we’re happy to share a review of a Thanksgiving story written by local author Lori Armstrong. The book may be intended for children, but the message is for all ages. So no matter what your plans may be this year, we at The Bloom wish you a safe and happy holiday.
Did you know that a turkey’s snood can change color depending upon their emotions? I didn’t either until I read local Lake County author Lori Armstrong’s children’s book Bubbly Jock and the Thanksgiving Fallacy. It’s the story of Bubbly Jock Jack, a turkey living on an organic farm complete with corn mazes and goat yoga. There Jack spends his days following the farmer on his rounds, playing with the farmer’s children, and pecking grain from the visiting kids’ hands. He leads an idyllic life until he overhears something that makes him question everything.
Reuben and Kassie Koontz moved back to Lake County in 2015 after living in Santa Rosa for years. There, Reuben did high-end autobody work and made great money. But they wanted a different, more rural lifestyle. So Kassie moved back home to Middletown, where her family has lived for four generations. There, she and Reuben created Koontz Mercantile, an eclectic shop filled with all kinds of cool stuff. And ‘cool’ is the right word. The place has an aura of hipness. A surfboard serves as a shelf in the outdoor room, while a bicycle turned into a side table sits underneath rows of aprons filled with different sayings. “Shut up Liver, You’re Fine,” one reads.
This happens to be one of my favorite times of the year in Lake County. Some rain in the forecast, the first cozy wood stove fire of the season, a great book, and a puzzle on the table make these shorter days a refreshing change of pace. This week The Bloom sets off our shop local for the holiday season! If there ever were a year to support our local businesses, this would be the year. We are excited to share just a few gems with you. This week we will feature some of our favorite wines in the county to accompany your holiday meals and small gatherings. We hope you find something new; thank you in advance for supporting our local wineries. So sit back for a minute and enjoy some time with The Bloom.
If you’re looking for some great wine to pair with your holiday feasts, look no further. Lake County has an abundance of high-quality wines. It’s all because of our unique volcanic terroir, the secret that makes every Lake County wine unique. Here are eight recommendations to make any meal better.