Petaluma residents make time to stop and smell the roses – all 7,000 of them.
Garden Valley Ranch is a 9-acre garden rose ranch that ships more than a quarter of a million flowers across the country each year. The grounds are beautifully maintained and on display for visitors year round. A 220-foot display border, 75-foot pond and a sea of 7,000 roses waiting to be cut are all must-sees on the Garden Valley Ranch tour.
In addition, there are several buildings on the ranch property that were built in 1890 and now enjoy National Historic Landmark status. Garden Valley Ranch is one of only two ranches that ships field-grown flowers to wholesale and retail florists, but they also sell to individuals. The roses are in bloom from May to September, so summer is the best time for a tour (and to buy yourself flowers). Another popular activity in Petaluma is Bellwether Farms, a lamb farm where cheese is made and aged from the ewes’ milk.
From January to March each year, the peak lambing season during which the baby lambs are born, roughly 150 ewes will give birth.
For visitors, learning about the process is interesting but the real reward lies in tasting the farm-fresh cheese. Sonoma Mountain, about 30 minutes from Petaluma, is another popular recreation option. Paths and trails make the area ideal for hikers and cyclists. Within the city limits, Petaluma offers dozens of parks, including the Petaluma Marina, Schollengerger Park, McNear Park, Prince Park and swimming facilities. A wide variety of activities for both children and adults is also available, including sports leagues, fitness and aquatic programs and classes ranging from dog obedience to kayaking.