The riverside town of Petaluma in Sonoma County was once called the "Egg Basket of the World" for its bustling egg industry in the early 20th century. Thousands of chicken farms operated in the surrounding countryside. While Petaluma retains its rural charm, the chicken farms are long gone. Today, Petaluma is now known as a foodie haven, with dining options that include a mix of ethnic cuisines and awarding-winning restaurants using the best locally grown and produced products.
Petaluma's commercial core is on the National Register of Historic Places, and the central shopping district, which consists of mainly two-story stone buildings, has recently undergone a revitalization that includes an emphasis on downtown living. Dozens of antique shops operate in the old-town district. And the annual Butter & Egg Days Parade & Festival, held in April, is a throwback to Petaluma's agricultural past.
Residents appreciate the access to relatively affordable homes and the direct commute to San Francisco, 35 miles south on Highway 101.