The Norcal Nomad

Traveling in Northern California

Changing Times in a Small Town

Written By: Deborah Linnekin - Oct• 14•14

It was a day when I felt nostalgic, so I returned to a town I have visited before. I lived there 30 years ago and the streets are still familiar, although the buildings have changed and the businesses have updated to modern versions of their old selves or moved on to be replaced by something more desirable to new residents of the town.

Some of the stores I loved are gone; the new ones are often upscale chain stores that offer the same things in every town. I did make some fun discoveries there, though. The bakery where we headed for a shopping break has become a real estate office and the florist has been replaced as well. My brother delivered flowers for Franco’s Florist, so I remember it vividly.

There are beautiful murals on the walls of many of the old buildings. They are tiled or painted and feel quaint although I know they are fairly new.

Mural next to Starbucks

Mural next to Starbucks



The old post office, that has housed other businesses for many years, has become a beautiful restaurant named Postino with front garden seating protected from the street by a walled entry. Personally, I think this would be the perfect setting for a wedding or anniversary party. It’s elegant and surrounded by nature at the same time.

Side Entrance to Postino

Side Entrance to Postino

Postino Front Gate

Postino Front Gate




Lafayette is also home to a day program for developmentally disabled, adults called Futures Explored. It meets the needs of many adults in nearby towns and offers one of the best Christmas boutiques in the area with handmade goods created by the clients.

There are antique stores tucked along the boulevard and in La Fiesta Square and lots of spots for a quick bite to eat, that include many of well-known fast food establishments and the requisite Starbucks on the corner. However, the overall feeling of the town is one of unrushed beauty that has developed over time. Indeed, some of the buildings still stand on their original foundations without much change, but that, too , may become a thing of the past as new businesses take over old spaces and need to cater to a clientele that needs Wi-Fi and electricity to fire up their portable devices in order to remain in touch at all times.

Lafayette_CA_Oct2014 063

The warm afternoon feels like summer and the cool shade of old tress that line the street offers a welcome respite from the sun. The trees are a feature of this town that makes it feel established and well loved. The banners that are flying from the lampposts tout fitness at the moment, but they will change with the season and soon project some holiday cheer.

Nearer to the holidays, I’ll probably revisit Orchard Nursery at the far end of town. It’s a favorite of mine at Christmas time when the entire interior feels like a giant Christmas forest. Summer was lovely and fairly cool this year, and the fall has stayed warm so far. Perhaps it will stay warm for a few more weeks and walking down Mt. Diablo Boulevard will continue to be a refreshing experience. If the chill sets in, just remember a jacket and umbrella and you can still enjoy the ambiance of a small town near the bug city.

Hope to see you there!

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