Ultimate Guide to Glen Ellen

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Charming Glen Ellen, California may be small, but the tiny town packs a lot of punch. Located in the picturesque Sonoma Valley and less than 20 minutes from the enclave of Sonoma and only 40 minutes from downtown Napa, we can see the reason why famed novelist Jack London was drawn to the region. And as the home base to WineCountry Media, we are also quite fond of the picturesque town. From some of Sonoma’s best wines to adventuring in the wild, wild west, here’s an insider’s take on Glen Ellen, CA.

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Lodging / Glen Ellen

Gaige House + Ryokan

Forget dusty bed and breakfasts of days past, the Gaige House + Ryokan is a modern fusion of Japanese contemporary design and tradition and the intimate perks of a B&B. Sitting along the Calabazas Creek, the Glen Ellen hotel boasts 23 unique guest rooms, each with its own charm through vintage furniture, thoughtfully selected art, and windows welcoming in nature’s beauty. A wander through the magical property will have you exploring private zen gardens with bubbling fountains and meditation areas. A stay will establish your Sonoma ‘Om’ away from home.

Insider Tip

Continue your mindful retreat and find peace with an in-room massage by one of the hotel’s talented therapists.

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Lodging / Glen Ellen

Jack London Lodge

Historic, rustic, and charming, the Jack London Lodge is nestled in downtown Glen Ellen, CA, and a stay includes wooded views from any of their 22 spacious rooms. Feel welcomed after a long day of exploring with their plush beds, luxury linens, vintage furniture, and gorgeous wood floors. While the hotel is a peek into Glen Ellen’s past, you’ll find all the modern amenities needed, like flat screen TVs, WiFi, and even a continental breakfast spread to fuel your adventures.

Insider Tip

No need to venture far for a good meal and good time. You’ll find Umbria, a restaurant celebrating the cuisine of the same name, onsite for lunch and dinner. And for late night eats and drink? Go downstairs (and travel through time) to the Jack London Saloon to drink with the locals and get a taste of the famed Glen Ellen landmark until 2 AM.

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Lodging / Glen Ellen

Olea Hotel

The Olea Hotel is steeped in a rich Sonoma County history and has hosted many famed guests and had a bevy of names and owners since its initial opening in 1900. Three different buildings and two cottages now make up the gorgeous boutique inn’s guest accommodations, and each suite or cottage boasts private outdoor areas, heated floors, and luxurious bathrooms perfect for cozy moments

Insider Tip

Don’t miss out on an epic morning meal — the Olea Hotel goes far above the typical, complimentary breakfast. Each morning, their executive chef whips up a two-course meal made with local, organic ingredients and sweet and savory options.

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Glen Ellen Village Market

Coffee, gelato, gourmet foods, and local products are just a few of the items found at Glen Ellen Village Market. Open daily, the market also offers a deli and to-go orders for any occasion. And considering its location in the midst of Wine Country, they also have a diverse array of wines, heavy on the Sonoma Valley, of course, along with international selections.

Insider Tip

‘Wine’ not peruse the market’s impressive assortment of over 200 beers from around the world to sip on something other than vino.

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Restaurants / Glen Ellen

Les Pascals Patisserie et Boulangerie

At first glance, you’ll be drawn in by Les Pascals Patisserie’s cheery yellow building, but the really good stuff is found inside. French husband and wife duo, Pascal and Pascale, are the masterminds behind the charming bakery and cafe. Between traditional pastries, like eclairs, tarts, macarons, and more, to fresh baguettes, it’s easy to fall in love with this Glen Ellen favorite.

Insider Tip

With four croissant flavors to choose from (pain au chocolat, pain au banana, almond croissant, raisin croissant), why not enjoy all four and share a flaky pastry flight along with a caffeinated beverage to begin your day in Glen Ellen, CA.

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Restaurants / Glen Ellen

Fig Cafe & Winebar

Part of Sonoma’s the girl & the fig’s famed restaurant family, the Glen Ellen restaurant and wine bar offers a sensational dinner menu celebrating California fare, from flavorful starters to decadent desserts. And for those who can’t choose, especially with so many delicious options, they offer a rotating, three-course option to tantalize your taste buds.

Insider Tip

Pause midweek with a visit and an opportunity to mingle with winemakers. The restaurant hosts Wine Wednesday events to share complimentary tastings from local wineries between 5:30 - 7 PM.

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Wineries / Glen Ellen

Benziger Family Winery

Benziger Family Winery was voted Best Winery & Tour by Sonoma People’s Choice Award in both 2016 and 2017 with good reason. At first glance, the sustainable, organic, and biodynamic winery can easily peak any wine lovers interest, but after tasting their wines and experiencing their unique, behind-the-scenes tours and tastings, this Glen Ellen, CA winery will always have a place in your heart. With over a handful of their wines receiving 90+ ratings, there’s an impressive roster to explore with any visit. And we probably should have led with this, but also to note: baby animals and a tractor tour.

Insider Tip

A casual tasting and two out of the three tours are available to book daily, but for those looking to learn and experience the most they can from this Glen Ellen winery, we recommend contacting the winery to book the Private Tour, Tasting, & Lunch with a Benziger Family Member.

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Wineries / Glen Ellen

Imagery Estate Winery

With wines as diverse as their colorful labels, Imagery Estate Winery is looking to mix up the region’s norm and indulge drinkers in varietals not often found in Sonoma County, like tempranillo and lagrein. But it’s not just about your taste buds, the winery also wants guests to feast their eyes on their impressive art and elegantly decorated interior with a visit.

Insider Tip

After you’ve soaked in the sites of their tasting room, grab two bottles (required with a table reservation) and head outside to Imagery’s picturesque picnic area. Shaded by umbrellas, but perfect for enjoying the Sonoma County, CA weather, bring a picnic with all your favorites and pour glasses from syrah to riesling.

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Things To Do / Glen Ellen

Jack London State Historic Park

Mark your map, because nature lovers and history buffs are not going to want to miss this stop. Not only can you see where in Sonoma Valley, California Jack London put down roots later in life, but the picturesque park has ample hiking, areas for enjoying a meal al fresco, and even the historical buildings and ruins from the writer’s days spent in Glen Ellen.

Insider Tip

Before you visit, be sure to check out the park’s calendar. Between guided hikes and even an annual Broadway Under the Star’s musical event, there’s always something exciting and sometimes unexpected happening at the outdoor venue.

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Wineries / Glen Ellen

Quarryhill Botanical Garden

As the saying goes, “Stop and smell the roses,” and a visit to Quarryhill Botanical Garden is an opportunity to do that and so much more. 25-acres make up the Sonoma Valley, biologically diverse ‘hidden gem’, and the garden thrills visitors with its colorful plantlife, relaxing ponds and waterfalls, and stunning views of California.

Insider Tip

While a self-guided walk is easy, the garden also offers docent-led tours for those more curious folks. Book two weeks in advance, and prepare to explore all sorts of flora and fauna.

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