Graton: A California Artist Community

Willow Wood

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Graton: A California Artist Community

Once considered a 'rough little apple cannery town' Graton (pop. 1,707) has become both a tourist destination and a favorite of locals.

This laid-back and dog-friendly community is home to artists, writers, retirees, and working-class families. It's easy to miss, tucked quietly away off major roads and nestled in the heart of the beautiful Green Valley, a historic apple region turned renowned wine region. 

Situated between Occidental, Santa Rosa, and Sebastopol in western Sonoma County, Graton's small yet charming business district features restored historic storefronts. It includes Zagat-rated restaurants, a contemporary California fine art and crafts gallery, an antique store, a small market, several tasting rooms, a community hall, and local real estate offices.

The Graton Gallery (9048 Graton Road, Graton, 707-829-8912) and adjacent sculpture garden showcase one of the largest overall selections of California fine art and artisan crafts in Sonoma County. You'll find original fine art paintings, prints and sculpture, jewelry, pottery, glass, textiles, and wood crafts by more than 50 local artists. New art shows debut every 6 weeks, and opening receptions for each new show are a chance to meet and talk with the artists, and enjoy the gallery's hospitality.

Housed in a 1906 Victorian storefront, Mr. Ryder and Company (9040 Graton Road, Graton, 707-824-8221) is a collective of antique and art dealers offering furniture, household items, artwork, glassware, and more. The outdoor patio features antique statuary, architectural elements, and garden furniture for home or garden. 

And when you're ready to eat, Graton boasts an outstanding culinary reputation.  

The Underwood Bar & Bistro (9113 Graton Road, Graton, 707-823-7023) offers big-city style but with relaxed sophistication for lunch or dinner; Food and Wine magazine listed Underwood as No. 4 of 'America's 50 Most Amazing Wine Experiences.'

A local gathering spot, the Willow Wood Market Café (9020 Graton Road, Graton, 707-823-0233) doubles as a general store and a café/soda fountain, serving down-home comfort food using fresh local ingredients in a relaxed and family-friendly setting.

And the family owned and operated Mexico Lindo (9030 Graton Road, Graton, 707-823-4154) serves  traditional dishes like chili rellenos and fajitas for lunch or dinner, with seating indoors and out.