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VIGNETTE > A Trip to Sonoma

New American Hotel, Petaluma

New American Hotel, Petaluma


In the first decade of the 20th century, lawyer Alec Eells lived with his wife and three young daughters on his 8-acre gentleman’s farm in Homestead Valley. His San Francisco law practice frequently took him by train to Sacramento, Santa Barbara and Willits, but local family travel was always by a horse drawn vehicle. Automobiles were seldom seen in Marin County at that time. In 1903 there had been a petition considered by the board of supervisors to exclude them from Marin County. For short trips, a horse drawn cart served the Eells family well. But lengthy trips required a surrey drawn by two horses, Pat and George. In May 1908, Alec took his wife and their 10-year old daughter on a trip to visit friends in Sonoma. They left Homestead Valley in the surrey at 8 AM Friday, stopped for a picnic lunch on the banks of a creek just south of Ignacio, and arrived in Petaluma at 4:10 PM, a 34 mile trip. They stayed at the New American Hotel where they had three beds in two nice front rooms. Total cost was $4.50 including supper and breakfast. Stabling for the horses cost $1. At 8:30 Saturday morning they drove to Sonoma, arriving at 11:15. After lunch with their friends they returned to Petaluma The round trip had been 32 miles. They spent the night again at the New American Hotel. Sunday morning they left at 8:30, stopped for lunch again near Ignacio, and arrived home at 3:30. An enjoyable three day trip to Sonoma.

Want  more info? Read the History of Homestead Valley article:
A Sunday’s Outing

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