Charles Schulz Museum & Foodie Adventures
Santa Rosa Travel Blog› entry 15 of 36 › view all entries
Since it's Mother's Day weekend and my folks are in town, I wanted to take my Mom up to Santa Rosa to see the Charles M. Schulz museum. My parents have had a bit of a rough week between a bit of unsettling health related news and then news of a long time family friend passing away as they were driving here Friday evening. I thought taking them out for a day of sightseeing might help get their minds off everything and be an opportunity for us to all see something new!
I grew up on Peanuts and Snoopy has a lot to do with how my parents met so I thought this would definitely an awesome way to spend the day. And I also remembered from my mini Food Network addiction, hottie Guy Fieri's show (Diners, Drive In's, and Dives), there were a couple places featured near Santa Rosa that I've been wanting to try.
As with the best laid plans, they never quite work out just like you plan! LOL. Getting Mom up and ready for my planned 8am departure proved to be futile just like I figured. Santa Rosa isn't that far (almost 2 hours) but given the amount I was trying to pack in a day, I wanted to get up and out early so we'd have time to fit everything in! We got on the road at 9:45am and we got to our first destination, Hanks Creekside Restaurant in Santa Rosa featured on episode "House Specials" - they are known for their awesome pancakes.
Passing back through downtown, we saw several buildings and street corners that had bit Peanuts characters statues on display which was neat. We were in the railroad square area and there was train conductor Charlies Brown and across the street was Woodstock with his train operator's uniform. Of course, had to stop and take a few photos of them! LOL. We later learned that all these sculptures throughout the city and at the museum were donated by sponsors and artists created unique designs which were later auctioned off.
Because Holdredge Winery closed at 4:30 and the museum at 5pm, I reversed the order and we went up to Healdsburg first to see the winery and then back down to the museum. Finally getting to try John's award winning wines was quite the treat! He is a partner in one of the defense firms we primarily use in that region which isn't my regular territory so I don't get to deal with their office much. I was told he has one of the best Pinot Noir's in the world (which now has been rated one of the 30 best in the world by Food and Wine Magazine) so I knew I wouldn't be disappointed.
After leaving there, we drove around a bit and tried to follow the signs to the new Coppola vineyard which moved from Napa and after be lead on a dead end venture, we turned around and headed to our primary destination which was the museum. We arrived a little before 3pm so we had plenty of time to peruse everything.
Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center
The museum was founded in 2002, across the street to the ice rink that Schulz owned and built. Although originally from Minnesota, Schulz spent the last 30 years of his life in Santa Rosa and was a big influence and icon in the region.
Unfortunately, you are not able to take pictures in any of the exhibits in the museum, except for the hallways and outdoor courtyard. The museum features regular, permanent exhibits but also have rotating ones in the lower gallery. The museum was really interesting and had the Peanuts tie in everywhere (including the bathroom which had some of the comic strips incorporated in the tiles). There is a recreation of his studio and a wall from the house he once lived at in Colorado that features a nursery room painting he did for his daughter. The new owners of the house helped restore it and the museum paid to have it cut and transported to be a permanent part of the museum's display.
Spike was Schulz's childhood pet and what inspired the iconic Snoopy we love today. Artis Yoshiteru Otaini was comissioned to create soem pieces for the museum and this was one of them. The bas relief sculpture emphasizes Snoopy's evolution from the 1950's to 1990's. This piece was originally a three-dimensional design rendered in layers of cut paper, has now come to life in a 7,000 lb sculpture that took over two years to complete. Fabricated by Academy Studios, it was constructed with 43 layers of deep maple veneer and is 26 feet long, 9.5 feet high, and 10.5 inches deep.
Christo Wrapped Doghouse
I've been a huge fan of Christo and his rather odd approach to art and even went and saw the umbrellas he did many years ago in Southern California.
The outdoor courtyard features several Peanuts sculpture, a granite bench dedicated to the memory of Charles Schulz and then the best is the baseball cap with Woodstock's birthbath underneath.
Snoopy's Home Ice - The Redwood Ice Arena and the Warm Puppy Cafe
Across the street from the museum is the ice arena that Charles Schulz built and placed hockey in. It's a full rink with a variety of skating activities available. Outside are more large Peanuts sculptures and a bench where you can sit with Snoopy and it's a webcam that's updated every 30 seconds.
Inside, the ice rink is very different than ones I used to frequent when I was into hocky. It is made to look like you are actually outdoors and has scenery like building windows and lights that give it a unique ambiance.
In conjunction with the Ice Rink is the Warm Puppy Cafe. This was where Charles Schulz at his breakfast and lunch everyday up until he died. He had a reserved table right by the window that he sat at each day. Apparently his studio was a short walk nearby which is why he came to the Warm Puppy and to watch the ice rink activity. Not surprising that they kept his reserved table there as a tribute to the memory of such an icon.
Snoopy's Gallery and Gift Shop
Across the parking lot from the ice rink if you continue to wander along the street is the Gallery and Gift Shop.
On the ramp upstairs is custom handwoven carpets that line the hallways with Peanuts scenes and as you near the top, the most gorgeous Snoopy themed stained glass window and the best is the original barber shop pole from Schulz's dad's store back in Minnesota. It is still fully functional and hanging on the wall for visitors to enjoy. Posters and merchandise from various around the world openings and shows decorate the exhibit cases there.
Once we finished at the gallery and store, we were ready to head back to Sacramento. I had planned to take a detour through Napa to stop at the other foodie place I saw featured on Food Network that I've been wanting to try. They are known for their Ahi Burger which is sushi grade ahi flown in every day! YUM! After getting lost and stopping in a super upscale Santa Rosa neighborhood to check out some new houses for sale (took some pics as these were some gorgeous homes - cheapest was reduced to 1.
All in all it was a fun day and I am looking forward to getting back up to that Santa Rosa wine country area to check things out some more! Fun times!