Many years ago, while searching for unique places to stay in California, (Napa Valley more specifically), I stumbled across a beautiful farm stay property just outside of Petaluma. I had been digging around on Airbnb and VRBO because although I longed to do a harvest season trip to Napa or Sonoma, I was a little taken aback by the hotel prices. I kept the property in my favorites on Airbnb until eventually the timing was right (= a good seat sale to SFO) and we were able to take a family trip to Napa. We figured that the farm would make a great base for us to explore some wineries during the day, while providing a ton of fun for the kids in the mornings and evenings. We would soon discover that the town of Petaluma (10 minutes away) was also pretty adorable with some lovely shops and restaurants.
Jani’s Place is a ranch with several different farm stay rental options – the Petite Renovated Barnhouse where we stayed (sleeps 2 adults, 2 kids), the Country Farmhouse (sleeps 4), and the Nest (sleeps 2). The property has a number of different pens full of goats, cows, llamas, emus, chickens, ducks and horses. Roaming free on the property are bunnies and some smaller goats. If this weren’t delightful enough, inside the more manicured and fenced backyard we discovered some peacocks and two adorable border collie puppies.
Not only is the property a ton of fun (it’s our idea of heaven), it is also really beautiful. Our barn house was so thoughtfully decorated. that I found myself taking pictures of Jani’s bookshelves so I could try to replicate the look at home (color-coordinated with carefully placed treasures). Another nice detail was the fact that we didn’t need to buy any provisions right away. The fridge was stocked with fresh fruit, juice, almond milk and some other basics. In the morning, all we needed to do was grab some freshly laid eggs from the chicken barn and start cooking.
Although the impetus for our trip was to do wine-tasting in the region, we found the property to be so beautiful that we rushed back each day to enjoy our late afternoons on the farm. The best way for me to show you is in pictures. Take a look:
Things to Know About Jani’s California Farm Stay
- Use the car covers in the driveway. The goats love to climb on cars. I blocked the license plate out on this one in case it was someone’s rental.
- Bring earplugs unless you are used to farms. The roosters start crowing in the early hours of the morning. Any cheap earplugs are fine, but as we are big fans of wildlife adventures, we have recently invested in these amazing Bose sleep buds.
- Book early. Jani’s place is often fully booked because it is so delightful.
- Save Money: If you have never rented from Airbnb before, please feel free to use this link to get a $35 credit towards your first rental.
Things to do in Petaluma
Petaluma is only about a 10 minute drive (or Uber) from the farm. This charming town almost seems like something out of a movie set as it is impeccably clean with rather talented musicians stationed here and there. We loved our dinner at Central Market, found delicious pie at Petaluma Pie Company and enjoyed gorgeous organic ice cream from Lala’s Creamery. We topped up our provisions at Petaluma Market and there is also a Whole Foods nearby. The town has some interesting antique shops, a fantastic book store called Copperfields’s and several nice clothing shops, including a lovely store called Maude Rare Find (where I spent too much money on rare finds). If you need a little amusement in the evenings, Petaluma has a 14 screen movie theatre and the nicely restored McNear’s Mystic Theatre for live performances.
Getting to Petaluma, California
Petaluma is 60 miles north of SFO, 37 miles north of San Francisco, and 13 miles west of Sonoma. From SFO it took us about 90 minutes to arrive at the farm on a Thursday evening in rush hour.
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