Sonoma County Day Trip: A Traveler’s Guide

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  • on JULY 15, 2015
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Sonoma County hosts a variety of wine, food, and fun. Many times there is much more to do that can be done in a weekend. Thankfully we can help with a day trip for visitors along Sonoma County’s Highway 12, showcasing the cities of Sonoma and Sebastopol.

A mix of country charm and local ingredients for breakfast

Image Source: Fremont Diner

The Fremont Diner located just south of downtown Sonoma at 2698 Fremont Drive, has exploded with San Francisco visitors coming to Sonoma. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner on the weekends (breakfast and lunch during the week), travelers can enjoy country cooking straight from local, Sonoma County food producers. Get there early for breakfast because it is a first come, first serve basis and a favorite for both travelers and locals alike.

Make sure to try their famous Chicken and Waffles or Ricotta Pancakes, made with Petaluma’s Bellwether Farms ricotta, fresh strawberries, and Clover butter, and make sure to pair with a Mimosa made from Carneros’ own Gloria Ferrer Winery.

Drive through scenic Sonoma Valley

Kunde Family Winery, in the small town of Kenwood in Sonoma Valley, is the perfect place to bring a picnic and relax on their outdoor patio. With over 20+ wine varieties, there is sure to be something for everyone. Guided tours of the caves are available throughout the day, everyday at no charge, without an appointment for small groups of ten or less.

If you have extra time, try the Mountain Top Tastings, overlooking all of the Sonoma Valley. Try to make a reservation a few days before during the busy wine tasting season, otherwise tastings on top of the Kunde mountain are welcome on a first come, first served basis. Tours are at 10:30 a.m., 12:00 p.m., 1:30 p.m., and 3:00 p.m. daily.

Shop for creative garden gifts in Kenwood

Swede’s Feeds Garden Gift Shop is a local favorite at 9140 Sonoma Hwy in Kenwood. Just across from several wineries like VJB Vineyards & Cellars with Italian varieties and wood-fire oven pizzas, and the Mayo Reserve Room.

The outdoor gift shop features hand-made art, creative gift items, gardening supplies, and living animals for kids and adults to play with, or at least have fun chasing. Take a picture with a dinosaur sculpture and have gifts shipped back home.

Shared seasonal in downtown Santa Rosa

Image Source: Spinster Sisters Yelp

The Spinster Sisters restaurant showcases Sonoma County’s Farm to Table Dining atmosphere. Found in downtown Santa Rosa’s SOFA Art District at 401 S A Street, the wood bar is a great place to pull up a chair for lunch and share seasonal dishes like roasted fresh garbanzo beans, house made kimchee and bacon deviled eggs, and anything else that is fresh from Sonoma County gardens. Try the Unti Vineyards (from Dry Creek Valley in Healdsburg) Grenache Rosé on tap, or share a bottle of a local hard cider favorite, Tilted Shed.

Get dirty with Pinot Noir at The Barlow

The MacPhail Tasting Lounge is new to Sebastopol’s The Barlow. Found at 6761 McKinley Street, in downtown Sebastopol, MacPhail showcases Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs from Russian River Valley, Sonoma Coast, and more.

They have several types of wine tastings; including an Intro Tasting, a Single Vineyard Tasting, and a Terroir Tasting in the new soil room, where they educate visitors on why the dirt (aka terroir) from four different vineyards in Russian River Valley, Anderson Valley and the Sonoma Coast AVA makes for four very different wines.

The lounge features a selection of wines by the glass and cheese plates featuring local Sonoma County cheesemakers and are open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays, and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends for afternoon noshing.

Get a taste for Sonoma County at The Barlow

Image Source: The Barlow

The Barlow in downtown Sebastopol takes over four blocks and is filled with food, drinks, art, live-music, and shopping. Shops in The Barlow all have a direct connection with the producers, and much of the production takes place on site.

Grab a cup of coffee at Taylor Maid Farms or Village Bakery, or a unique, customizable ice cream cone from Sub Zero Ice Cream & Yogurt where they create custom ice cream orders by adding liquid nitrogen to cream (vegan options available) and creating flavors as they go.

If you are looking for something other than wine at The Barlow, there is Spirit Works Distillery where you can get a tour of the production facility where they make Sloe-Gin, Whiskey, and more. Or, grab a beer on the patio at Woodfour Brewing Company.

Save your appetite for one of Sonoma County’s Best Restaurants

After a day of traveling through Sonoma County, dinner at one of Sonoma County’s best restaurants is in order. Zazu Kitchen and Farm in The Barlow helps define Farm to Table food in Sonoma County, growing much of their produce, and raising the livestock they use in many of their dishes.

Guests can enjoy starter plates like black garlic chicken wings, crispy pig ears, black pig bacon wrapped dates, & fresh, hand-made pastas, and main dishes with meat from sustainably raised on family farms. They even have family style meals, if you call ahead to order. Large groups can experience whole rabbits with a kale stuffing, polenta and roasted rhubarb, or an entire honey and chili pig head with the best parts of the pig, like pork cheeks.

Make sure to ask your server to hear the specials, which feature the freshest ingredients, and meat butchered in-house that morning. Take home the bacon. Guests can purchase Black Pig Meat Co. bacon to take home and share with friends and family.

Ready to start planning your Sonoma County day trip? Browse all the things to do in Sonoma County to start checking them off your list!

Main Image Source: Gloria Ferrer Winery


WineCountry Collective

WineCountry is made up of a dedicated and passionate team of wine, food, and travel aficionados. We diligently explore regions, both near and far, to curate the best ideas and resources. Whether you're musing over your next wine escapade, planning a romantic weekend away, embracing the Wine Country lifestyle at home, or are simply looking to be entertained for a moment, trust us to be your comprehensive guide.