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Favorite thing: One of the best things you can do in the Sonoma Valley is to have a picnic. It not only cuts the cost of dining out but also affords an opportunity to savor the many flavor sensations of an area noted not only for wine but fine fresh produce and artesian food stuffs like bread and cheese. Besides the great things available to eat, there are breathtaking vistas and add the sunny dry climate and you have as perfect picnic conditions as you can get.
Fondest memory: One day we had stocked up on all the perfect ingredients for a picnic. We had local artisan cheese from Sonoma, salami from an Old World outfit in San Francisco, big crusty loaves of bread from a local bakery, juicy tomatoes, olives and finally two bottles of wine from our morning tasting excursion to two vineyards. All we needed was an equally enticing place to enjoy it all. After some driving we found some nice picnic tables right next to a field with rows of vines dangling scenically in the sun. With this backdrop, we sat down with gusto, not paying much attention to the benches. An hour later after a relaxing meal, I decided to capture the event on film but when I rose from my seat, I felt my pants less eager to follow suit. The sticky sensation was one you normally feel on your shoe when you step in gum but this time I had sat squarely in a big gooey mass of it. Everyone found it pretty amusing except for me though I good naturedly took their ribbing. I tried everything to get it out including icing the sugary glob to harden it. We did manage to get the gum itself from the pants but to this day, there remains a stain to remind me of our “perfect” little place. My guess is if I had to do it all over again, I would. I can almost taste the myriad of flavors thinking back even now and nearly feel the strong sun on my face as I stare out at the golden mountains. Yeah, I’d do it again but maybe this time I’d look down first.
Updated Jan 1, 2006
Favorite thing: Sonoma Valley is filled with wineries which are mostly open to the public for wine tasting and sales. For some of the wineries you do need to book ahead, but there are plenty that you can just arrive at and taste (and purchase) their latest vintages.
Most of the wine tasting I had done prior to my visit to California was in Australia, and over there you pretty much just turn up and taste for free. But in the Sonoma Valley it seems most wineries charge for a tasting - you pay a set price for a set number of small tastes.
I actually didn't mind the fee for tasting as I felt this helped to alleviate the feeling that you should buy something after tasting for free. And better still, some of the wineries will waive the tasting fee if you buy a bottle or two.
Fondest memory: For the wine novice, some of the wineries offer tours. These will get you out in the vineyards and also teach you about the wine making process, finishing in the cellar for a peek at the final product.
Some of the wineries have picnic areas, so after your tasting you can sample one of your purchases, enjoyed with perhaps some cheese and biscuits, also purchased from the winery, or other food you have bought with you.
Written Oct 23, 2008
Favorite thing: Angelo's on Hwy 12 coming from Infinion Raceway has some incredibly delicious beef jerky.
Broadway market at the junction of Hwy 12 and Napa Rd. is where the local workers go for lunch. Made to order sandwiches run about $4-5.
Farmer's market 8-12, Friday mornings 2 blocks north of plaza on First St. west across the street from the Depot Hotel. Tuesday nights 5-8 during the summer in the Plaza with free Jazz concewrts the second Tuesday of each month.
Free jazz concerts at the Sonoma Lodge (across from Broadway market) most Saturday nights 6-9 pm
Updated Mar 30, 2008
Favorite thing: I met this lady and her husband on the wine tour. As I mentioned earlier, as the tour progressed and the wine was consumed we all became better friends. Now looking back at this photo I realize I don't even know her name. But it was a fun day.
Updated Jan 27, 2008
Favorite thing: If I'm attending an elegant 4-course dinner in Sonoma at nights, I will not be caught dead wearing casual wear (of the "pure" variety, which is tattered/raggedy looking), that's for sure. And even for daytime wine tasting, I would wear a funky/casual chic outfit, rather than "pure" casual/raggedy clothing. Then again, that's me. Unfortunately, most Californians are always enrobed in their beach fashion complete with flip flops almost all the time, and that's the truth. I've lived in So. Cal for many years and know the scene.
For a lavish nighttime affair: an elegant ensemble
For daytime wine tasting: casual/funky chic outfit
For a more rugged/laidback daytime activity: casual wear
Enjoy Beautiful Sonoma!
Updated Aug 19, 2009
Favorite thing: CHÂTEAU DE BAUN
The vineyards of Château De Baun are located in the Russian River Valley, a cool growing region recognized as producing some of California's finest Chardonnays, Pinot Noirs, and champagnes. The champagne was very good and I bought one bottle of it and a blue flute to my *blue-glass* collection.
Address: 5007 Fulton Road
P.O. Box 266
This is the T-Bird car in front of the main building
Updated Aug 26, 2002
Favorite thing: If you do a birds eye view through "Maps by Microsoft Virtual Earth" the house is located on the corner of Patten & 5th St. East. The house is not shown but you can identify the surroundings with the front view of the house on the Dream Home 2009 site.
I hope this helps.
Written Jan 24, 2009
Favorite thing: I'd have to say my favorite thing about Sonoma is the wide variety of food and drinks to sample. You can pack the perfect picnic and dine among the vineyards or really go all out and find a world-class restaurant.
Fondest memory: I'll be moving to Los Angeles with my husband next summer. :(
What I'll miss the most is the way the Valley smells like wine in the fall during the Crush.
Written Feb 25, 2003
Favorite thing: Information about what you visit in Sonoma can be obtained from the Sonoma Valley Visitor Center which is on Highway 121 as you enter the valley from the south.
Written Jul 8, 2003
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