After filming on the beautiful island of Kauai, Lindsay on Location has made its way to get a little more acquainted with Northern California. We discovered a local go to Rum company safari tour and all the happy hours on Kauai, and now it is Sonoma County’s turn for Lindsay on Location to dive into Sonoma County. We wanted to highlight Sonoma because it has so much to offer. Everyone thinks amazing wine, but there is so much more than just wine. And, we are excited to share all our favorite things to explore in Sonoma County.
With Sonoma County being a short flight from Los Angeles, it was an easy decision to hop on a flight and venture to Northern California. It is only thirty miles north of San Francisco and a great escape from city life. The open land and the rolling hills alone will make you enamored with the views. The region is broken up into three parts:
- Coast and sea villages
It has 55 miles of coastline for you to cure your seafood fix, camp along the bluffs or appreciate a hike or some picnics at the beach. Trails, beaches, and villages are scattered along this scenic coastline.
- Redwoods and rivers
The Russian river is just a few miles inland and has cut its way through the county. Whether it be paddling down the river or grabbing some fresh lunch at a quaint town, this area offers variety to all voyagers.
- Valleys and Vineyards
Either go big or small. One thing to do is not miss out on the wine region here. There are too many to see. The winemakers and vineyards are very prideful of their work, and they want all who pass through to enjoy the fruits of their labor.
Sonoma has miles of sprawling beautiful wine country, hills and valleys covered with vines, and wineries that’ll have you sipping fragrant wine. The country is one of the best in the country for wine and especially for those who have been bitten by the wine bug.
Belden Barns is a great stop to experience a family-run business who truly have love for their wine. Nate and Lauren Belden have been following their dreams by running their vineyard and land for about seven years, and this all can be tasted through their wine.
One of the most unique aspects of their property is their wishing tree. The couple traveled the world and would always see these wishing trees with notes of people’s hopes and dreams. These wishes eventually nudged them to start their vineyard. They now continue the tradition by having their visitors string up their own wishes. They want their winery to be warm and inviting to all. They give scavenger hunt backpacks to all the kids that keep them occupied for hours while the parents can taste and enjoy the vineyard.
Pinot Noir is a staple in any winery in Sonoma County. And, Belden Barns does not disappoint when it comes to their Serendipity and Estate Pinot Noir. But do not miss their unique Sauvignon blanc or Gruner. Truly a unique experience, especially sitting in their barn overlooking the grapevies or having a sip around the wishing tree.
Triple Creek Horse Outfit brought us out to enjoy the outdoors at Jack London Park with transportation on horseback. Dominic, the horse trainer, told us that wine tastes just a bit better after riding a horse, and he was not wrong. After taking in the views of the winery ruins, the sloping vineyard, and zigzagging on the trails on my horse, Daisy, the beauty of the region really starts to impact you. There are hundreds of miles of trails for everyone to enjoy in this state park. It is family friendly, dog friendly, and you can even take the Sonoma Ridge Trail if you want to level up on the difficulty of your hiking skills. It was great to casually trek the trails up to the views that Jack London was looking for when he wanted his retreat to the country. They are also reintroducing their sunset and moon rides with overnight accommodations at the Yulupa Mountain Ranch.
To make the day even better, a promotion is run with VJB Cellars, which is about a 20-minute drive from the park. A complimentary wine tasting is offered at the winery, and they offer gourmet Italian, wood-fired pizza, and gelato.
Now, I can finally answer the question: Does wine taste better after riding a horse? Yes, it does.
The resort to experience in Sonoma county is at The Flamingo Resort. Pool-side dining and drinking, a tiki bar, newly renovated, and it is centrally located to where you want to be. It is quite the marvel that has you crossed between mid-century architecture and a fresh, modern design. The retro/contemporary artwork that splashed around the property is a remarkable touch. Set on a 10-acre campus they offer guest immersive wellbeing and outdoor experiences for you to relax after a day on the river or wine tasting through the county.
Achadinha Cheese is a family-run dairy farm that has been going strong for three generations and now Jim and Donna are beginning to hand it off to their children. They believe in treating their cows and goats with love and in return they provide great cheese that is easier to digest, sweeter in the winter and more bitter in the summer.
The farm has a full ranch tour that includes the cheese plant, milking parlor and the loafing barns where the girls (goats and cows) hang out; cheese tastings are also included.
There is also a cheese making experience where you will roll up your sleeves and experience how the cheese is made. You will learn how to use the equipment, how to age the cheese, and everything in between.
I was lucky enough to go behind the scenes and milk a cow myself. Let me tell you. It is not as easy as it looks. There were a few laughs and giggles from the farmhands. It was an experience out of my element, but I definitely got the hang of it after a few tries.
Where do you go when you just want to sit back, listen to some music, try the local cuisine, and sample wine from the region? Head to The Barlow. An outdoor market district that covers four-city blocks, eighteen buildings and has producers of wine, meat, coffee, bakeries and restaurants. Stroll around enjoy the industrial-chic, dog-friendly area and savor the organic, local ingredients at all the eateries.
Getaway adventures is a great go to when you are looking to bike around the valley to the wineries, lazily coast down the Russian River in a kayak, or hike along the Sonoma Coast. Get the locals insider feed on what to see when you are traversing across the county.
Get yourself to Sonoma County. I want to give a big thank you to Bigi. She is the head of Sonoma’s Tourism Board and without her this unforgettable trip would have never happened.
You need to return for a follow up article. I understand time and space prevents a full exploration of the County but there is so much more to offer. Sonoma square with its rich history and Tuesday night Farmers Market. The old barracks used to house Spanish soldiers. You touched on one area that drew Jack London to Sonoma but Charles Schulz (Peanuts) also found the county so enticing he called it home. So much more.
Napoli Vineyards, Sonoma
* The last sentence in your introduction refers to “country” instead of “county”.
Just means I have to go back.