ADVENTURE: A Bay Area weekend getaway to a Petaluma treehouse! // EATING: Breakfast with the treehouse owners, Speakeasy, and Wild Goat Bistro // CRAVE: Homemade French toast!
I think I may have experienced the ultimate getaway weekend from San Francisco with a stay in a Petaluma treehouse nestled in quiet farmland. This has been a childhood dream of mine, climbing any tree I could get my hands on as a child and obsessively telling my father about the three-story treehouse that would fit perfectly in the big oak tree in our backyard with a U-shaped trunk. (Didn’t happen).
Now, finally, twenty-some odd years later, and dreams have become reality! Read on for my guide to where to stay, what to eat, and what to do for a magical weekend in Petaluma.
Where To Stay
Obviously, if you come to this area you have to stay at the Petaluma treehouse at Swallowtail Studios! There are actually two adorable treehouses, two barns, the main house, and a small cottage on this small farm about 10 minutes outside of downtown.
The owners are a sweet, down-to-earth couple, Michelle and Bill, who have been there for several years. Bill originally built the treehouses for his daughter who, ironically, never went in it till she came back to visit with her fiance and showed it to him years later. The property used to be an old artist community and even hosted The Grateful Dead for shows at the big barn.
Needless to say, staying in the Petaluma treehouse is a truly magical experience. Following a small dirt pathway, our treehouse was hidden in a grove of tall eucalyptus trees.
Entering two swinging glass doors, you find your own personal bungalow with an inviting bed covered in quilts and filled with mysterious artifacts.
Hanging pulley lanterns, crystals, binoculars, old antique board games, shadow puppet books and a large wooden armoire filled with fallen birds nests decorate the walls.
A collection of books on everything from dreams to ghost stories.
Depending on where you might like to have an impromptu picnic or happy hour, grab the cute wicker picnic basket from the corner or spend some time at the table and chairs outside on the Petaluma treehouse deck.
And yes, there’s even a small bathroom with a toilet!
We spent our weekend exploring the treehouse artifacts, playing games, and enjoying a glass of wine at sunset from our wine tasting in Petaluma earlier that day (more on that below!).
Where To Eat
Breakfast. If you stay in the Petaluma treehouse, the owners will offer for you to have breakfast with them each morning. Do this.
You will have some of the best homemade French toast covered in powdered sugar, drizzles of maple syrup and fresh berries.
Lunch. Wild Goat Bistro is the place to stop! Usually pretty busy, this place has great healthy filling American food focused on small plates, sandwiches, salads, and pizza.
One of our favorites was the bacon and tater pizza with brown butter + onion sauce, fontina, Yukon golds, rosemary, roasted red peppers, bacon, and Parmesan cheese.
We also sampled the sliders and chopped salad which were both delicious. Protip: Go for a late lunch in mid-afternoon to miss the crowds and get seats quickly!
Dinner. Speakeasy is a delicious spot right off main street. Serving up a mix of small plates like papas bravas, baked soft pretzel with cheesy dip (very tasty!), enchiladas, burgers, salads, trip tip melts, croque madame, short ribs — so really a little bit of everything.
Definitely get a round of their lobster mac ‘n cheese!
After dinner walk across the courtyard outside of the restaurant to The Big Easy for after dinner drinks. This spot is the sister bar of the Speakeasy and a local music joint that has live music six nights a week!
What To Do
Wine tasting! There are several small tasting rooms sprinkled around downtown. Start at Barber Cellars Tasting Room for some great reds, then move towards the town center to check out Adobe Road Winery Tasting Room. (Pro tip: If you’re hungry now is the time to stop at Wild Goat Bistro around the corner!).
The last stop on your list should be Sonoma Portworks for some unique port wines. Grab a bottle or two of their Sonomic Gold/Red Almost Vinegar — a great sweet, thick liquid that is the perfect dressing for salads, or glaze for meats. If you have a designated driver for the day, there are also a ton of vineyards in the surrounding area to venture out to!
Antique shopping. Petaluma is FILLED with antique shops. Spend the day strolling the quaint downtown streets and treasure hunting among these boutiques.
Hiking. Right outside of Petaluma is Helen Putnam Regional Park. This space has tons of different trails depending on what you’re looking for!
Holiday Lighted Boat Parade (December). If you are looking to visit Petaluma around the holidays, shoot for this annual Christmas parade of illuminated boats sailing down the Petaluma river that runs through downtown.
Butter & Egg Day’s Festival (April). We heard about the Butter & Egg Days Festival several times from locals, if you’re heading to Petaluma during the spring make a point to come for this festival! Expect a big parade, festival booths, and performances. Who doesn’t want to celebrate butter and eggs?!