Photo by Wilson Lee
I am frequently asked by my clients to come up with some options of fun things to do in Sonoma for their guests. The truth is that there is SO much to do! I choose to live and work here because there are so many options to keep me entertained! When friends and family come to visit me, it’s always tough trying to decide what to do, as a long weekend is never enough time for it all. To narrow down the options, here are a few of my top favorite places to visit in Sonoma County! You can’t go wrong with any of these options for wine tasting, lodging, spa treatments and dining. Enjoy your time in Sonoma! It’s a special place!
Hanzell Vineyards (http://www.hanzell.com/) – Hanzell is pretty well known to anyone who is a wine connoisseur. But if you are not a wine expert, here is your chance to experience and learn what one of Sonoma’s top wine producers has to offer. Their private estate tour will teach you everything you need to know. It starts off with a drive through their vineyards. Given they are on a hilltop, the views of the Sonoma Valley are stunning! After your learn a bit about the vineyards and farming, you will get a tour of the winery and production facility, followed by a taste of their delicious Chardonnay and Pinto Noir. For those that are interested in learning about winemaking from vine to wine, this is the experience for you! You will walk away relaxed, happy and well educated! Advance reservations are required.
Mayo Reserve Room (http://www.mayofamilywinery.com/Reserve-Room) – This was one of the greatest discoveries ever! The Mayo Reserve Room offers a 7 course tasting menu paired with wines. It sounds fancy and expensive, right?!? Wrong! This experience is only $40 per guest. I’m not sure how this is even possible! The setting is casual and the food and wine are great. It’s truly the best deal in wine country and I highly suggest checking it out while you are in town. Beware, a designated driver will be needed to get you home. You’ll have a happy buzz and be stuffed to the brim! Advance reservations are required.
Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards (https://www.gloriaferrer.com/) – This is an old favorite of mine. For those of you that know me well, you know that I am a lover of bubbles! Gloria Ferrer offers so many different sparkling wines, I feel like a kid in a candy store when I’m there. While all of the wines are great, the Brut Rose is my absolute favorite. Pink bubbles – I’m in! The best part of Gloria Ferrer is their vista terrace overlooking the vineyards and the Sonoma Valley. The views are some of the best in all of wine country. I could sit on their patio, sip bubbles and nibble on their homemade spiced almonds all day long! They also offer daily tours if you are interested in seeing their production facility and learning more about the process to make sparkling wine. Reservations are not needed.
B.R. Cohn Winery (http://www.brcohn.com/) – More wine tasting you might say?!? Well, yes, BR Cohn is yet another gorgeous winery in Sonoma, but the reason it’s one of my top picks is not for the wine (which is delicious by the way) but for the olive oils! I am an olive oil fanatic. When you live the farm to table lifestyle, you find that spices and oils can make or break a dish. BR Cohn makes a variety of different infused olive oils and they are top notch. You can even sample them before purchasing. The toughest part will be deciding which ones to buy! And for those of you wondering, BR Cohn is also available as a wedding/event venue. It’s really a one stop shop: wine tasting, olive oil samples and wedding venue site visit. If your lucky enough, you’ll find live music going on in their amphitheater or Hog Island Oyster shucking fresh oysters on the lawn. Hope you enjoy!
Timber Cove Inn (https://www.timbercoveresort.com/) – The Timber Cove Inn holds a very special place in my heart. I grew up on the water and the ocean has always been a necessity in my life. The Timber Cove Inn is located in Jenner, so it’s a bit of a drive from downtown Sonoma, but it’s well worth it. Take a drive to the coast and soak in those gorgeous ocean views. They have a casual restaurant onsite, so enjoy some chowder and a glass of wine, before taking a walk along their seaside cliffs. This is one of my all time favorite sunset spots in all of Sonoma. There is nothing more magical than the sun disappearing into the Pacific Ocean. I have no doubt you’ll agree! PS – If you are looking for a spot to pop the question – this would be my suggestion for you!
Farmhouse Inn (http://www.farmhouseinn.com/) – This place is a true gem. They are an inn, restaurant and spa, so there are many reasons you might decide to visit them! The inn is spectacular. As you might suspect, it is an old farmhouse, that has been fully renovated to offer pure luxury. It’s the perfect spot for a honeymoon or a romantic weekend getaway. Beware, it’s is not cheap, so start saving your pennies now! They also have a Michelin star rated restaurant (try the Rabbit three ways) and a world class spa. When I want to treat myself to a fantastic meal or massage, this is where you will find me hiding out!
Glen Ellen Star (http://glenellenstar.com/) – If you are looking for a great meal, this is the place to have dinner! This is one of my favorite local hidden gems. The highlight is the wood fired roasted veggies that they offer as a first course. Every time we go, we order one of each selection. I’ve taken friends and family here who don’t love veggies, and they agree that their Brussel sprouts are better than dessert! Yup – they are that good! They offer a small menu with 5 or 6 entrees and a few different pizzas. It’s impossible to go wrong when ordering. Everything is out of this world. Bonus is that if you are seated inside, you can watch the chefs prepare each dish. Dinner and a show! They book up quickly, so don’t forget to make a reservation in advance. They are also available for rehearsal dinners.
Safari West (http://www.safariwest.com/) – Did you know that there is an African safari adventure in Sonoma County? Well, there is and it’s spectacular. I had been hearing about this place for years and finally last year, I went with a group of friends. They have on-site lodging, so we took advantage of staying on the safari overnight and boy we were not disappointed! They offer these screened in cabins, with plush beds, private bathrooms and decks with views of the giraffes. It’s glamping at it’s finest! The safari tour was so wonderful. They take you on these large open air jeeps and we got to see everything from Rhinos to cheetahs to zebras to monkeys and so much more! The best part is that we got to visit them in their natural open air habitats, up close. It was truly a wonderful experience for adults and children alike. I highly suggest checking it out!
While there are so many other great things to do in Sonoma, I would say that these are my personal favorites. Given how passionate I am about Sonoma, I really could go on and on, so please don’t hesitate to ask if you need further suggestions. I love sharing all of the beauty that is Sonoma County with the rest of the world. I am so lucky to call this place home!