Specializing in Education, inspiration and environmentally-friendly products, the 12-Acre Real Goods Solar Living Center offers a great place on Hwy 101 to break up your road trip. The Center, just south of Hopland, features a picnic area, three different ponds, a children’s play area that’s fun and educational, tours and shopping. Children can burn off excess energy while learning a bit about solar power, or the whole family can just relax in the shade for a picnic lunch. For those who have a serious interest, take the 45-minute tour and learn how wind and the sun can be converted to clean, renewable energy. Check out the organic garden, permaculture landscape, the many types of eco-friendly building materials and the passive and active solar design incorporated into the architecture. There are many other interesting landscape features as well, like the bamboo pyramid and organic microfarm.
The heart of the 12-acre site is the straw bale retail store which features perhaps the best selection of English-language green books available anywhere, plus organic clothing and housewares, green alternatives for a clean and healthy home, great toys and gifts for children, solar consultants for your on- or off-grid solar projects, and much, much more. Real Goods is open seven days a week year-round, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The friendly and knowledgeable staff are always there to help, or just to say hello while you browse. Call ahead to arrange a tour, or just drop in. There is a requested entry donation of $2 per vehicle.