In a place like Petaluma that’s brimming with history and well-preserved old homes, it’s odd that there aren’t more B&Bs.
In fact, there is just one in the entire city.
Located in the Brewster Hill neighborhood, Cherry Hill B& B is an eight-bedroom Victorian mansion filled with history, art and antiques.
When it was first built in 1897, the home was Dr. Galland’s Birthing Hospital, and later, a rest home for the elderly. (The street where the B&B is located still bears the doctor's name.)
Today, it’s owned by Michael Lerner and Kathy Mason Lerner, who welcome guests from all over the world into their abode, feed them Water Street Bistro pastries and regale them with stories about running around with Ken Kesey, Neal Cassidy and other counter-culture icons from Bay Area’s history.
Liking people helps when you’re running a bed and breakfast, but so does having an eventful life.
Kathy Mason Lerner was a member of the Family Dog , the commune and promotions company started by Chet Helms. She was friend of Janis Joplin and made jewelry for many musicians of the era. Michael, a New York City native, moved to the West Coast in the early ‘70s and made films.
“The Tibetans take numerous lifetimes to attain higher consciousness,” says Michael. “We in the West found a little pill to open the third eye.”
The Lerners purchased the home in 2008, which they have filled with Japanese furniture, antique vases and paintings as well as Mason Lerner’s own pleine-air pieces (she also exhibits at numerous galleries in the region.)
Guests stay in either the Parlor Suite, which has a private entrance, queen brass bed with a new mattress or the Butler’s Suite, with a queen bed, small sitting room and bathroom with clawfoot tub and shower. Fresh coffee and pastries are served every morning and Wi-fi is available throughout the house.
The couple’s loveable Japanese akita dog, Ushi, is a crowd favorite, prone to greeting guests at the front door and then laying at their feet.
The Lerners’ laid back style is part of the appeal.
“Traveling is a pain in the ass, even when you are going to beautiful places,” says Michael Lerner. “We want to offer something that is comfortable, but that’s very different from the Sheraton.”
Rates are $125 per night for Sunday through Thursday and $150 per night on Friday and Saturday. For more information, visit www.cherryhillbnb.com