Victorian Mourning & Petaluma

Petaluma: home to chickens, birthplace to Winona Ryder, scene of many movie locations and neighboring city to where we live. I had a day to kill and decided to gear up with my camera and head over to explore.

This is the thing about where we live: There is a lot of quaint and it is really hard to pick a favorite area cause everything around here has its cool (and its bust). Downtown Petaluma? By far my favorite of that area. It also worked out that the Petaluma Historical Library and Museum is currently hosting an exhibit of Victorian Mourning Customs. Dude. So off I went, exploring new territory and taking in some creepy.

First off, you can see small traces of Fall making their way in all over the county. This is just one of MANY views you can take in, seas of vineyards changing colors with the season.

Vintage Bank Antiques is fantastic for one. It is inside an old bank building and it is jam packed with goodies, down to what used to be the vault. A tap on the overpriced side but still fun to walk around in. I see you Oddfellows. *wink*

There is small riverfront area that is surrounded by lots of cute shops and restaurants. Typical Sonoma county landscapes can be seen behind

One of the best coffee establishments I have found out this way is ACRE. Petaluma and Santa Rosa both have one. Hand made, they take their time, lots of tasty treats and they make a chai latte with fresh pressed ginger that wakes your mouth right up.

Properly refreshed with some mint tea, I made way over to the mourning exhibit which is hosted in what used to be the Public Library.

The exhibit itself is small but the pieces being exhibited were authentic, mostly consisting of garments worn and lots of information regarding mourning practices.

This gown was absolutely exquisite and clearly the gem of the entire collection.

Traditional jet mourning jewelry…. these, like other pieces, were a tap hard to take photos of cause they were in glass cases.

There was also a small section talking about post mortem photography but all of the photos shared were just print outs of photos found on the web. I would have liked to see a little more when it came to post mortem mementos, lockets, tear catchers and the art made with hair. These things are a lot harder to come by. There was only one of these items and it seriously did not disappoint: a wreath type arrangement that was made from the hair of three daughters from the same family that died of diphtheria.

And a detail, if you will. The craftsmanship of this was insane.

I did a drive by Cypress Hill Cemetery and honestly it was a huge let down. You can’t blame me though because I am absolutely ruined when it comes to cemeteries thanks to Laurel Hill. I doubt those shoes will be filled any time soon unless we go to New Orleans or Paris.

Short but oh so sweet. With Reza getting out of school in a couple of hours I decided to head back to our hood, this time taking back roads through the country side and wouldn’t you know, I had time to impulse stop in Sebastopol. Antique Society who not only was huge, but filled with tons of awesome goodies. I was more on a looking tip but I did manage to score Josh an original, vinyl pressing of The Cure’s “Japanese Whispers”. I love it when whims end up being fruitful.

Overall, a fantastic day… even if it was by myself.

I have a lot more photos of the exhibit and Petaluma so if you are inclined, you can see them over on flickr.