I was very pleased to read "The Other Side" by Marc Stirdivant about Sebastopol [Jan. 4]. Sebastopol, which could be called Berkeley North, in miniature, is a fabulous town with many great features. Some he well captured, especially the mirthful sculptures of the Amiots. Their pieces of public art do so much to enliven visual Sebastopol, not only on Florence Avenue.
Other valuable items of local culture unmentioned:
1. Pâtisserie Angelica has baked goods and candies better than any encountered in the San Fernando Valley. During Hanukkah 2013 I was able to purchase a wonderful blue and white dreidel cake. The attentive staff is knowledgeable. They offer West County High Tea during the three days each week the pâtisserie is open.
2. Michael Anthony is a great boot maker with a small shop on North Main Street. He is a personable craftsman who has years of experience. All of his boots are custom-made.
3. Copperfield's is a stellar local chain of bookstores with a branch on Main Street. The clerks are superb, and the card selection is found nowhere else and will entertain and please friends and loved ones. Copperfield's is the antidote to national chains of booksellers. Or should I say chain? At Copperfield's there is a there there.
4. The Barlow. Expansive new development overlaid on a former apple packing house. Many shops, restaurants and soon the Hotel Barlow.
5. Sebastopol Hardware: What can I say about this Ace Hardware store except that it is the best. The staff reflects the care of the owners. No hardware store has employees who care more or are as helpful. This should be a training store for all persons employed in retail.
6. He did not mention the ease of access to Sebastopol. Horizon Air/Alaska Airlines offer multiple flights daily to and from LAX. Flying time to the Charles Schulz (the creator of "Peanuts" was a onetime Sebastopol resident) Airport in Santa Rosa is 1 1/2 hours. The Schulz Airport is small and access to much of Sonoma County is easy. The drive from the airport to downtown Sebastopol takes 35 minutes.
7. He gave himself away as a Southern Californian by referring to U.S. 101 as "the 101." The use of the word "the" does not occur in Northern Californian argot in reference to freeways.
Thank you again for writing and publishing the sweet story on Sebastopol.
Bodega Bay, Calif.
I have appreciated the specific and practical articles that your section prints each week: You write for the traveler. Some travel sites, I think, write only for other travel writers (viz. New York Times article on World War I battlefields).
But the reason I am writing is because the Dec. 28 Travel section was brilliant. It offered me ideas for the future as well as hints for the present (e.g. I am going to renew my passport before my March trip to Ecuador, even though it doesn't expire until 2016. I have only two pages left that are blank).
Thank you so much.
Marina del Rey
Hint for a change
Regarding the Dec. 28 letter on "Suitcase Squeeze": Amen to the excellent suggestion from Carol Clark regarding an additional folding suitcase rack. May I add that hotels should have a small table or additional wall hooks in the bathroom to hang change(s) of clothes. What I've done is drag a chair (if small enough to move) into the bathroom on which to place my change of clothes. Just a suggestion.
Terri De La Torre
Reader Barbara Frank decries spending $587 on a luxury hotel room in Mexico when that money could and should be spent feeding the poor [Letters, Dec. 28]. Of course, that principle applies to spending $100 per night or, in fact, spending any money on travel or other optional activities. There's always someone poorer who needs that money. And that's the underlying message of Frank's letter: Feel guilty about enjoying your own life.