Living in wine country is never boring- we always find something to do, no matter the time of year or day of week. As we continue to explore our own backyard, it is a pleasure to share our newest discoveries with the Farmhouse Inn fans. Recent outings have taken us from Sebastopol’s Barlow over to Santa Rosa’s newest farm-to-table restaurant and up to Geyserville’s hidden gem, Garden Creek Vineyards.
The Barlow sits on the former site of an apple packing and processing plant in Sebastopol’s downtown. It is a mix of shops, distilleries, restaurants, community markets, wineries, coffee houses and art galleries. The Barlow has been opening its doors to visitors and locals alike over the last 2 years. This summer The Barlow began hosting Thursday night street fairs – wineries stay open later, local chefs set up popup tents offering amazing street food (everything from grass-fed burgers to Thai food and fish tacos), artists sell their wares and several bands are set up throughout the center playing everything from country to classic rock.
Let's start with a visit to Wind Gap Cellars. On Thursday night Wind Gap pours their newest pink and white wines in mason jars for $5-$7. We tried the rose and 2 whites, which were perfect on the warm summer evening. We opted for barbeque from the varied food tents – spare ribs and a tri-tip sandwich on a park bench - what more could you ask for. Wet naps came in handy as much of the food being offered on Thursday night ends up being finger food. The street fair is busy so leave time to find parking and be patient as you stand in line for food. To continue our food theme…
You may have noticed that many of our blogs, Facebook posts, Instagram photos and everything else we do revolves around food. Living in Sonoma County means that we’re foodies by default. We love food, our kids love food, even our wildlife loves food (the wild pigs in particular seem to be gourmets based on the number of garden beds they raid).
One of our recent epicurean discoveries is a little spot just south of Santa Rosa’s downtown area on Santa Rosa Avenue; The Naked Pig. The title alone makes us smile. This new farm-to-table offering is built for locals, but these restaurants are often the best ones. Only open for breakfast and lunch, The Naked Pig serves up everything from caramel-bourbon waffles to fresh salads with Dry Creek peaches and sheep’s milk ricotta. And the mint iced tea deserves its own blog- it is that good. They don't take reservations and the spot is a little hard to find, but we promise that the odd location and wait time are truly worth it.
This weekend we were out and about and we found another new favorite tucked up in the foothills of Geyserville’s Alexander Valley. Alexander Valley is the northern most grape growing region of Sonoma County. Its inland location and proximity to the Mayacamas Mountains make it an excellent climate for growing Cabernet, Merlot and Chardonnay. Many of the vineyards planted in Alexander Valley sit at 1,000 feet or above. It is a great region for high-elevation growing as their side of the mountain range faces west, giving them warm afternoon sun exposure.
Just off of Highway 128 in Geyserville is Garden Creek Vineyards. Garden Creek is run by a husband-wife team and one of the pair acts as the host to visitors- they make very little wine and all of it is direct-to-consumer, you have to visit as you won’t find them on a restaurant wine list.
They see visitors by appointment only; make time in your schedule for a visit. Their wines follow the European model – you’re meant to purchase them young and age them for several years. Be sure to get specific directions to the winery as some of Sonoma’s back roads can lead you on a never-ending loop through vineyards and farms (which isn't necessarily a bad thing).
Living in Sonoma is always an adventure. We often feel like visitors ourselves as we explore new restaurants, wineries and hot-spots; but don’t worry, we don’t mind doing the research for you. To see photos of our latest jaunts around Sonoma, and the world, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.