Last week’s blog post focused on a perfect day in Sonoma's Healdsburg and the Russian River Valley. We have come to the realization that one post on a perfect day in wine country wasn’t nearly enough. Sonoma County is an extremely large and diverse county - the size of Rhode Island and stretches from the Mayacama Mountains to the Sonoma Coast. There is much to see and do here (and we have so many perfect days).
This part of the California wine country has many great day-trip options; this week we’re heading to Sonoma Valley to visit our top three breakfast, hiking, and winery stops in Sonoma and Glen Ellen. If you missed last week’s post or are new to this blog click here to catch up.
A frequent question we hear from our guests here at Farmhouse Inn as they are headed out for the day is: "Where can I find a strong cup of coffee and/or a latte?" Fear not, we’ve done plenty of research on this topic. Next time you visit Sonoma or Glen Ellen make a stop of one of these favorites.
1. Open 7 days per week is the Sunflower Caffé right on the Sonoma Plaza just one door down from the El Dorado Hotel. Great coffee and espresso drinks are available as well as many breakfast basics. Sunflower also has some great additions like a spicy chicken slider.
2. For weekend travelers, the brunch at The Fig Cafe in Glen Ellen is a great place to start. Between the fig royale mimosa and breakfast pizza it is one of our favorite restaurants for breakfast (and dinner). Due to Glen Ellen’s small size The Fig Cafe is within walking distance of most hotels. The restaurant doesn’t accept reservations and it is strictly first come-first serve, so plan accordingly.
3. Between Sonoma and Napa on Highway 12/121 is the Boon Fly Cafe. Looking for a Bacon Bloody Mary? Boon Fly is where you’ll find it. In addition to an array of morning cocktails, Boon Fly also serves up house-made donuts and “Green Eggs and Ham”. Boon Fly is part of the Carneros Inn and a popular stop before beginning a day of wine tasting.
Need to work off those donuts and mimosas? A walk in one of our many Regional and State parks is in order. Sonoma and Glen Ellen are next to the Mayacama Mountain Range, so there are great walking and hiking options. Here are our picks for places to burn off some morning calories:
1. Jack London State Park in Glen Ellen is picturesque and easy to find. Located on London Ranch Road, the 1400 acre historic park houses a museum in addition to the hiking, biking, and equestrian trails. Due to the size of the park most visitors set aside at least 3 hours for their visit.
2. The smaller (only 140 acres) but just as picturesque Sonoma Valley Regional Park is great for a quicker visit. The SVRP can be accessed from both Arnold Drive in Glen Ellen and Highway 12 in Sonoma. There aren’t many trails with steep elevations, so this park is ideal if you’re looking for a nice walk instead of a vigorous hike.
3. For those looking to sweat (possibly cry) and perhaps planning for a necessary massage after a day of serious hiking; there's the 19 miles of trails at Hood Mountain. The park consists of 1,700 acres of wilderness in the Mayacamas Mountains and the mountain is 2,730 feet - one of the highest peaks between the Sonoma and Napa valleys. “Gunsight Rock” offers views of the valley and Bay Area landmarks. It is easy to spend the entire day here, so be sure to pack plenty of water, snacks, and congenial company.
Sonoma Valley is home to many well-known wineries including St. Francis, Chateau St. Jean and Kunde. The valley offers visitors numerous tasting options but if you’re interested in the road less traveled we suggest you visit:
1. Repris winery is located on Moon Mountain in the Mayacamas. Once known in the 1970s as a hippie commune, the current winery sits well above the valley floor and offers visitors several Bordeaux wines (and occasionally a champagne). While quite removed from the rest of the valley, this one is well worth the drive.
2. Closer to downtown Sonoma is SCRIBE Winery. One of the newer additions to Sonoma Valley, SCRIBE is part of California’s wave of “new” winemaking techniques. With everything from Sylvaner (a German white grape variety) to skin-fermented Chardonnay (in what looks like a pirate’s rum bottle), SCRIBE’s wines are often tough to come by due to their popularity. You will need to make an appointment if you’d like to visit SCRIBE.
3. Bartholomew Park is one of the most historic wineries in Sonoma and just a few miles from the Sonoma Plaza. Open to the public without an appointment, Bart Park is a great stop for a group who have varying wine preferences. The winery produces everything from Chardonnay to Sauvignon Blanc and Syrah and is a great spot to enjoy a picnic.
Many locals opt to bring a picnic with them to enjoy at the wineries or on their hike. This is a great way to experience wine country- our favorite places to pick up picnic items are the Glen Ellen and Sonoma Markets. (Don’t forget to pack a wine opener and some glasses.) Sonoma and Glen Ellen have plenty of restaurants for you to choose from for dinner, so many so that we won’t try to name them here- the Sonoma Valley restaurants are definitely worth a visit in a future blog.
This is just one day in Sonoma wine country; for more ideas and recommendations contact your concierge at firstname.lastname@example.org. To see photos of our latest jaunts around Sonoma follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.