(Editor?s note: This is one in a series of monthly stories taking a close-up look at neighborhoods in Petaluma.)
Neatly tucked away on the outskirts of town, a tiny, village-like neighborhood built on a hill offers its residents features such as scenic river views and a peaceful park.
In many ways, it?s reminiscent of the type of neighborhood found in San Francisco, Boston and other large cities, but it?s actually one of the best-kept secrets in Petaluma.
It?s the McNear Landing neighborhood, a group of 146 homes that were built in three phases off of Petaluma Boulevard South near Highway 101 starting in 1997, and many of its residents rave about its quaint charm.
?I think it?s wonderful,? said Betty Coleman, who has lived on Brighton View Circle for the past 10 years. ?I live on top of the hill, and have a view of the [Petaluma] river and the hills. It?s really a lovely place.?
?It?s very quaint and peaceful,? added Sydney Brown, who has resided on Warren Drive since 1999. ?It has a village-type quality that makes it feel like San Francisco, and the river view adds an airy, spacious feature.?
Many residents said they were drawn to the neighborhood primarily because it is adjacent to the river.
?The big selling point for me was having a home on the river,? said Linda Stokely, who has resided on Chetwood Drive since 2001. ?I could throw a stone in the river from my kitchen.?
?I love the feeling of being near the water, and often walk by it,? said Sylvia Ross, who has lived on Addison Circle for the past seven years.
?I?ve staked out a one-mile walk that ends down by the river. We have a lovely walk along the river, but it stops. It would be wonderful if it connected with downtown, but that probably won?t happen in my lifetime,? said Coleman, 86.
Residents often enjoy watching boats drift by.
?During the Christmas parade, the boats come right through here. They did during the mayor?s boat parade this month, too,? Brown said.
?Pretty much every weekend, a regatta of boats comes up the river. And the barges are there. It?s neat to see a mountain of white rock going by at night,? said Scott Stevens, who has lived on Chetwood Drive for the past three years.
Stokely also enjoys the barges, but says they aren?t drifting by as frequently.
?We don?t have the big barges coming through like we used to,? she said. ?Pomeroy [Corp.] used to be across the river, but now that it?s gone, it?s deadly quiet. I miss seeing the barges come by with the tugboats.?
Many residents enjoy watching the river from the neighborhood?s small park.
?The park also is a great place for children to play,? said Anne Schenk, a resident of McNear Circle for the past nine years.
The similar-looking homes were built in phases, according to a pre-conceived architectural plan, and the neighborhood?s general aesthetic appeal attracted many eventual residents.
?And the neighborhood is well kept, because people here really care about it,? said Lynne Brown, who has resided on McNear Circle since 1998.
?Many people are upgrading their homes, such as installing marble flooring,? Stevens added.