72 Hours in Sonoma
Ah, Sonoma County. One of North America's finest wine country stretches — a dream situation of world class food, drink, and outdoor enjoyment. There’s much to explore: 17 unique regions supporting more than 550 wineries. How to whittle that down? Here’s the 72 hour guide.
Pick a homebase. Of course there’s the town of Sonoma, with its charming colonial-era plaza filled with restaurants, shops, tasting rooms, and casual green space. There’s also Healdsburg, a walkable village with a bustling downtown. If it's ocean views you are after, book a room or rental in Bodega Bay, which has a relaxing vibe and plenty of natural atmosphere. There’s also arty Sebastopol, vibrant Santa Rosa, and cultural Petaluma.
Wherever you stay, you’ll want to get out and about and explore more than your little corner of the world. After eating breakfast (so many great options!) take a walk around your spot and enjoy the shops, galleries, and parks that are so prevalent in this corner of California.
Then get started with some wine tasting. Hirsch Vineyards grows grapes north of Jenner (another cool town) and runs a welcoming tasting room in convenient Healdsburg. At the moment, the team is offering private, outdoor tastings which are booked online here. We’d definitely snag one of those! After the tasting, enjoy a table at one of Healdsburg top flight restaurants — we love Charlie Palmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen, Barndiva, Valette, and Single Thread Farms. All of these should be reserved in advance.
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After a refreshing sleep, treat yourself! Book an appointment at The Spa at Kenwood Inn, the spa at Farmhouse Inn, or Vi La Vita Spa at Vintners Resort. If getting sporty is more your thing, hiking and biking in Sonoma’s 11 state parks and dozens of regional parks is a certain highlight. A picnic lunch on the beach — wine is a must — makes the most of the county’s 50+ miles of Pacific coastline.
An afternoon appointment at the Pax Wine tasting room in downtown Sebastopol is the perfect spot for people watching or enjoying a few nibbles or wine by the glass. Another of our favorite Sonoma must-see wineries is Peay Vineyards, which has two tasting options: the winery in Cloverdale or the Coastal Visit, which is situated near Sea Ranch.
For dinner out, head to Santa Rosa. Consider John Ash & Co near Vintners Resort, an icon of seasonal cuisine and wine pairing. The garden dining option at Spinster Sisters is the ideal way to enjoy the beautiful evening weather with a glass of superb wine. If by now a cocktail sounds like the perfect balance to the wine-filled days, check out Perch and Plow on the Old Courthouse Square.
After touring around, there’s bound to be something that you’ve placed on the weekend bucket list. Now is the time to check it off! Sonoma County is home to many museums, festivals, and art centers. There’s also bike and kayak rentals, as well as customized, personal wine tours. The shopping in this county is nothing short of superb, from antiques to fresh fashion and tons of wine country interiors.
We think one or two more tasting room visits are in order, and we love the wines from Joseph Swan, which you can enjoy with vineyard views at the winery in Forestville. Just over the county line in St. Helena, find another gem experience at Failla Wines, producer of many outstanding Sonoma County releases.
A long weekend in wine country is never enough, but with 72 hours in Sonoma County, you’ll hit some highlights and have a list of places to see next time you return.