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Graton: Small Town Shopping Tour
By Vesta Copestakes

« Occidental

Known affectionately as One Block Heaven, this especially small town is dominated by three really good restaurants. Wildwood Market Café got this town on the map many years ago and still excels at fresh, healthy food with wonderful flavors. Mexico Lindo has a loyal audience for Mario's traditional cooking and Underwood takes the high road with excellent tappas plates and wines. But we're here to shop - unless you happen to be hungry, which you can easily satisfy in any of the above places.

Let's start with Lou and Gary's Far West Tea Company. Yes, they sell and serve teas and excel at varieties in the same way a wine tasting bar excels at wines. Listening to Lou talk tea is so much like listening to a wine afficianado describe a Merlot. They also happen to sell art from locals as well as from around the world. I just like to visit with Lou and Gary on a regular basis because they are both such fine people. Right now they are especially excited about how their little ceramic pigs are being touted as the gift of the Year of the Pig. I have to say, they are sweet little piggys! Drink hot tea and relax a but in this serene environment and get to know Lou and Gary. Oh yes, and make sure you taste the chocolates in little wrappers on the tea bar.

Up the block, stop in to Graton Gallery and meet whichever artist of this lovely co-op is sitting at the desk. That's one of the delights of this well-lit and displayed gallery, you get meet the people who created the art. This gallery s one of the best abut having artist receptions ad events that showcase their work. You can count on them to be exceptionally professional as well as fine artists.

Up the block a tad more and slip into Mr. Ryder & Company antiques. Unfortunately, Mr. Ryder will no longer be at the door to greet you. He died of old age this past year, much to the sad dismay of his many fans who plastered the entrance to this store with cards and condolences. Betty Anne Sutton, who owns the store and lived with Mr. Ryder for many years, appreciates all the loving messages. Life goes on, as does her lovely store filled with unusual miniatures, furniture, antique clothing and some collectibles you won't find other places. Betty Anne works very hard for her animal friends, so any support you give her store helps her work rescuing animals and providing neutering. She's a very good person.

And much to the dismay of many, Susan Upchurch has decided to close her Jewelry Factory store on Mueller Road, but not without having a HUGE sale on the way out. Look for her ad so you get the dates right and make sure you take the time to come here. Her jewelry comes from around the world and feature precious and semi-precious stones in silver and gold.

Sebastopol »

Far West Trading Co

Graton Gallery

Mr Ryder Antiques

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