Kenwood Press

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Glen Ellen Telegram: 12/01/2020

And the winner is…

Money raised to decorate Berkland Bridge

Glen Ellen’s own Tracy Salcedo has been awarded a great honor. Her book Hiking Lassen Volcanic National Park has won the title of National Outdoor Book Award. Tracy used to write this column and is still a consistent contributor to the Kenwood Press. She has been writing outdoor guides for more than a decade and she’s thrilled that the Lassen guide is the one being highlighted. That park “truly has my heart” I have heard her say on more than one occasion. I can also personally recommend her most recent book, Search and Rescue – Alaska, if you enjoy anything about Alaska, adventure, outdoor trekking, and SAR.

On the topic of local talent, we have so many artists that live in our little town. Glen Ellen’s Ed Davis has written a number of books (In All Things, A Matter of Time, Road Stories) and Arthur Dawson’s poetry and historical books have received praise, including the recent Where the World Begins: Sonoma Mountain Stories and Images. These two together with Tracy and other locals are part of the Glen Ellen Writers’ Circle. Read more about them by looking up that name online. Also in town we have the artistry of wine makers, chocolatiers, sculptors, photographers, painters, musicians, and all aspects of the culinary arts from pastries to fine dining.

Getting by with a little help from our friends…

It truly does take a village and 2020 has shown us once again that together we are stronger, more resilient, and the embodiment of community. This holiday season if you plan on gift giving, consider supporting your neighbors and shop local. Think of the artists we just mentioned. So much talent right here. So many unique experiences or gifts to be had. Interested in a book? Consider local writers and then shop as local as you can – Readers Books in Sonoma is one suggestion. Pick up some chocolate from Betty at Wine Country Chocolates and send a taste of Sonoma to loved ones in a different state. Going out for a meal? Consider visiting one of our amazing Glen Ellen eateries.

Did you know that McCormick’s Mercantile is still open? Sheryee McCormick wants everyone to know that, “We will be open on Saturday 5, 12 and 19 in December. We also offer shopping by appointment. The store is decked out for the holidays offering greeting cards, stocking stuffers and gift items. A request for appointment can be made to or call 404-317-3821. Gift certificates for product or framing services are available at any time and can be purchased in store or by phone.”

Flatbed Farm (13450 Sonoma Hwy.) also wants everyone to know that they continue to be open on Saturdays, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., with a senior golden hour that begins at 9 a.m. In addition to produce, they have lovely pantry items, coffee, pastries, sundries, and various farm-inspired gifts. Oakhill Farm’s Red Barn Store (15101 Sonoma Hwy.) is similarly open on Saturdays, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. through December. The store is stocked with seasonal produce and various other items including their famous wreaths.

Many wineries have holiday specials and incentives this time of year. For example, Laurel Glen Winery has a special promotion for Giving Tuesday on Dec. 1. Bettina Sichel says, “Shop our website,, for a selection of complex, long lived and beautifully balanced Cabernet Sauvignon, both current and library vintages, or call us to place an order for pick up: 933-9877. Spend $850 before tax and shipping anytime until midnight on Dec. 1, and we will send you a Coravin Model Six Limited Edition wine preservation system (includes three argon capsules, two screw cap adapters and a carry case.) Plus, we will donate five percent of all sales on Tuesday, Dec. 1, to the Redwood Empire Food Bank.” There will be an extension of this offer through Dec. 4 for readers of the Kenwood Press!

How about some home-town pride? We couldn’t hold the Glen Ellen Village Fair this fall but the fair committee is sitting on an inventory of T-shirts (and a few sweatshirts) that they’d love for you to consider picking up for a $10 donation each. Contact the treasurer (me) at and I can show you the styles that we have, or follow the Glen Ellen Fair Facebook page to see photos of what is available. All money goes into supporting the fair costs coming into next year. I would love to have you help clean out my storage closet and get you some of that home-town pride.

2020 shakes down another tradition

This Dec. 1 column would typically include an announcement about the Santa sleigh rides and caroling in the village. Alas, COVID strikes again, and one of our town holiday spirit elves (they prefer to stay anonymous) recently sent me this wonderful history of the event to share with you instead.

“In 2000 I was in the parking lot at St. Leo’s church. For some reason Neil Shepard was there with his wagon and Clydesdales. They were so impressive and beautiful. Our daughters loved petting the horses (4 and 3 years old). Something made me ask Neil if his wagon was for hire for the holidays as I thought it would be wonderful to have them go through the village of Glen Ellen. (Note: I did not know who Neil was, nor did I remember the wagon from the Village Fair(s) – it was a random spur of the moment comment). He answered, “I have been waiting for years for someone to ask me that.” And that was the beginning! Neil had met his person!

“The first year Neil suggested using the fire station as the starting point as he needed help from a fire truck for traffic safety reasons. We had a small group, including Santa, and we rode throughout the village. I realized that it would be much more fun for the kids who were waving at Santa to be able to ride on the wagon with him. So, in 2001 I came up with the plan to do “circle rides” around Robinson Road with the beginning and ending spot the Saloon. The Saloon was amazing and said that not only could we use the parking lot but they would provide cookies and hot chocolate and they have done that ever since.

“My friend [a second anonymous elf] who was a local Girl Scout Leader, came up with the idea of Bob Gossett playing the guitar and he has graciously contributed his time, voice and guitar all these years. She also found a more permanent Santa Claus to ride on the wagon. And she was the inspiration who said, “wouldn’t it be great if the bridge was decorated as the wagon rides across?” So in 2001 we decorated the bridge with scraps of garlands from the Church Mouse. Over the years I’ve bought tons of lights and more garlands and this year the Jack London Yacht Club donated so I could purchase matching garlands and commercial lights!

“Neil refuses to take payment for his contribution of his lovely horses and colorful wagon. He has a lot of other gigs during the holidays so we are humbled by his generosity. The Fire Station graciously provides a fire truck every year. The Saloon and the Glen Ellen Village Market graciously provide electricity for the garland lights. This year the bridge will be lit but no wagon - just isn’t feasible or safe in COVID.”

The buzz from around the bend

I’ll close here with a great big announcement – The Jim Berkland Bridge will be lit with professional holiday lights on Dec. 9. The projects committee of the Glen Ellen Forum (and notably, the tireless efforts of Leslie Vaughn) secured permission and agreements, and then the Forum was able to, over the span of just a few incredibly generous hours, raise the hefty funding to make it happen. YOU ARE ALL AMAZING… what a community. The Glen Ellen Forum’s next monthly meeting will be held via ZOOM on Monday, Dec. 7, 6:30 p.m. It won’t be nearly as awesome as last year’s winter social, but it will be a fun meeting with some virtual game playing and good spirits. The link to the meeting is up at and will be promoted on the Facebook page. To stay up to date with the happenings, request to join the email list at

As always, if you have any Glen Ellen-related news to announce, please email or call 996-3352.

Do you have any Glen Ellen stories to share? Milestones? Celebrations? Email, or call 996-3352.

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