Palate-pleasing experiences to outdoor adventures
Sonoma County, Calif.- The wintery escape to Sonoma County is an intimate experience with new sights to see, tastes to savor, and people to meet.
The Pacific Ocean brings the lively whale migration and bounty of crab season, the dormant vineyards express happy yellow colors of wild mustard blooms after the rain, and new, dynamic experiences emerge to sate the appetite for curiosity.
Milestones in 2022
The Charles M. Schulz Museum is celebrating its 20th anniversary and Charles M. Schulz’s 100th birthday in November. The exhibition From Spark Plug to Snoopy: 100 Years of Schulz will kick off the centennial celebration (March 20-September 18, 2022). Check for special events and galleries to discover the universal appeal of Peanuts’ remarkably uplifting legacy at
Jordan Winery is celebrating its 50th Anniversary and will announce a series of exceptional wine dinners, vineyard hikes and other exclusive events.
In 1972, Christo and Jeanne-Claude began work on their environmental art installation The Running Fence, a veiled 18-foot fence extending 24.5 miles across the hills of Sonoma County. It took four years to complete the project. Watson School, near Bodega, commemorates the art project. The largest extant piece of The Running Fence drapes the ceiling of the Monte Rio Theater auditorium.
New Food & Drink Trends
Shrubs: The rise of the meticulously crafted mocktail
Sonoma County’s culinary establishments are welcoming sippers of every variety with new non-alcoholic beverages for drink menu. Shrubs are free-spirited fruit and herb infusions crafted with ingredients from nearby gardens and farms, bringing vibrant colors and complex flavors to tantalize the palette. Find a sparkling hibiscus tea, blood orange, and lemon drink at the Bird & The Bottle, a California star thistle honey soda at The Matheson, a dragon fruit lemonade and cucumber cooler mocktail at Blue Ridge Kitchen, a grapefruit, agave, and Fresno chili soda at Willi’s Wine Bar, a huckleberry shrub at Wit & Wisdom Tavern,and drinks with prickly pear-hibiscus purée or blue elixirs at Fern Bar.
Craft spirits, beers, and ciders on the rise in Sonoma County – New Distillery Pass
Sonoma County is now home to more than 50 local breweries, cideries, and distilleries, earning a national reputation for craft beverages. Celebrate this February the return of Russian River Brewing Company’s coveted Pliny the Younger release and explore Santa Rosa’s brewing heritage during the 5th Annual FeBREWary. On Mondays, Fridays, and select Saturdays at Old Possum Brewing in Santa Rosa, the Austin’s Southern Smoke BBQ pop-up dishes out slowly smoked, Texas-style barbecue made with Joe Matos heritage-raised beef in Santa Rosa and serves. To explore the specialty micro-distilleries in the region, grab a Sonoma County Distillery Pass and enjoy tasting flights of vodkas, whiskeys, ryes, and more.
Olio Nuovo: the freshly pressed olive oil producers of Sonoma County
Nearly a dozen small producers in Sonoma County mill olives onsite within hours of harvest into olio nuovo, or new oil, and backyard growers bring their olive harvest to custom mills at neighboring farms. The resulting oils are fresh, much higher in antioxidants, and deliver wildly complex flavors on the palate. Gold Ridge Organic Farms has 70 acres of olive trees in the rolling hills of Sebastopol and is the newest establishment to open their Tasting Salon to the public. A tour of the property is gifted with a 360 view of West Sonoma County and an educational guided tasting of their medicinal quality oils. https://www.goldridgeorganicfarms.com/
New Restaurant & Bar Offshoots
Table Culture Provisions
The chef/owner duo Stephanie Saint Louis and Steven Vargas, alums of popular Petaluma foodie spots Della Fattoriaand The Shuckery, have found a new permanent home for Table Culture Provisions. Their new haute-cuisine-meets-comfort-food restaurant is serving hyper-seasonal California-French fare for brunch, lunch, and dinner. Try their wildly popular Delicata Squash Rings.
Chef Christian Caiazzo, former owner of the celebrated Osteria Stellina, has opened his new Italian inspired bakery-café with his wife, Katrina Fried, in Petaluma. The freshly baked morning buns, olive oil cakes, warm focaccia, and Italian sandwiches and salads are made with produce sourced from Green String Farm and local markets. Drink orders are filled with the espresso machine and foamed with Straus Family Creamer milk. http://stellinapronto.com
Visit Stockhome for Swedish food and conscious retail
In the historic town of Petaluma, Michelin-Bib awarded Stockhome has been serving up Scandinavian food since 2018, and recently expanded their retail collection with kitchen goods, pantry items, and home goods made locally or by BIPOC and BIWOC artisans.
In Healdsburg, Melissa Yanc and Sean McGaughey’s new 2020 bakery, Quail and Condor has been the hot spot for Danish rye and olive champagne and pistachio croissants. The culinary couple has just debuted a new concept called Troubadour Sando, a sandwich shop specializing in their world-class breads.
Lo & Behold Bar + Kitchen
Nearby, Laura Sanfilippo and Tara Heffernon of the original Duke’s Spirited Cocktails are opening Lo & Behold Bar + Kitchen at the southern end of Healdsburg, serving elevated mac n’ cheese with white miso and panko, steamed pork dumplings, smoked duck, and farm-to-glass cocktails.
A group of the Michelin-starred SingleThreadRestaurant alums is opening a new modern wine bar named Maison Healdsburg, designed for the after-dinner sipper to enjoy from 2:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.
Movement and wellbeing
Visitors are asked to observe the region’s Leave No Trace principles when exploring the meandering rivers, towering redwoods, lively woodlands, and natural resources that serve as mecca for wellbeing.
Bell Mountain Immersive Sound Experience
Medlock Ames Winery offers guests the opportunity for a deeper look at critical elements of their organic farming and land preservation practices that are often unseen. Developed by local composer and sound artist Hugh Livingston, the 90-minute experience includes a self-guided audio tour exploring sights and sounds across the 340-acre Bell Mountain Ranch, followed by a guided tasting of six current release wines, paired with local, organic cheeses.
Cycling guide extraordinaire Steve Zavestoski founded Comova Cycling for those looking to embark on adventures into Sonoma County’s natural hidden gems on two wheels. Zavestoski curates custom, mixed terrain cycling tours that include accommodations under the stars, in Comova’s cabin with a hot tub, or at a 5-star hotel.
Radiate Studio + Gua Sha
Sebastopol’s new Radiate Studio offers indoor and outdoor vinyasa flows and soothing balancing classes for every level of practitioner. Those looking for an extra dose of healing and relief can enjoy Gua Sha facials and massages from the studio’s experienced holistic healer amidst West Sonoma County’s natural woodlands.
Helen Putnam Regional Park gets a new trailhead
Helen Putnam Regional Park, named after a former teacher and the first female mayor of Petaluma, covers 216 acres featuring trails for hiking, bicycling, and horseback riding. Visit the newly minted West Wind Trail, a multi-use trail for all fitness levels, from the park’s new parking lot on Windsor Drive. Climb the grassy hillside to see expansive views of the Petaluma Valley and dive into the tree covers of oak and bay to find the Pomo and Filaree trails. Hikers might spot hares, foxes, and other wildlife that call these woodlands home.
Volunteer while visiting
Sonoma County is a vast natural destination and agricultural community deeply invested in the sustainability of the land. Visitors can explore the region through the lens of the environmentally conscious locals with responsible volunteer opportunities.
Learn the benefits of gleaning and help gather surplus food from local farmers, garden growers, and property owners with organizations like Farm to Pantry and Petaluma Bounty. Sign up to help sort and deliver produce to those in need with the Redwood Empire Food Bank.
Roll up your sleeves and volunteer with Pepperwood Preserve to assist in ecological restoration and management projects, such as plant propagation, trail maintenance, habitat restoration, invasive species removal, and more. Discover the Sonoma County Regional Parks while volunteering on fire recover trail work, improving facilities, or assisting campgrounds.