Archive for the 'Wine Country Living' Category
Santa Rosa is more than the largest city in Sonoma County, more than the largest city between San Francisco and the Oregon border to the north. It sprawls across over 40 square miles and is home to 160,000 people–half of it to the West of Highway 101 stretching towards Sebastopol, home of not only to vintage Railroad Square and newer subdivisions but farmlands, vineyards and equestrian properties in the Willowside and Olivet areas and over to the Laguna de Santa Rosa. To the east of 101 is downtown Santa Rosa, flanked by numerous charming communities of vintage homes, from Fountain Grove to Bennett and Rincon Valleys and Riebli Valley wine country. Many out of town buyers are not aware of the geographic diversity and gorgeous countryside in Santa Rosa. Here is a lovely video vignette produced by Sonoma Uncorked.com You can search the most up to date listings of Santa Rosa homes and country properties for sale with my compliments by going to the search page of this website.
Before I ever moved to Sonoma County, I looked forward to my annual expedition to buy a fresh-cut Christmas tree at one of the many family-owned farms here. Many people from all over the Bay Area make the annual trip to Sonoma County’s 20 plus Christmas tree farms. It is a far superior alternative to visiting the mall or Home Depot for a tree. It’s a great excuse to get out doors in the fresh air and have some fun with the family.
Farms from Knights Valley to Petaluma, Santa Rosa to Sebastopol offer stunning wine country vistas and a chance to cut your own tree, or buy a live tree. Many have picnic areas and other attractions such as tractor rides for the kids. You can find Christmas trees of every variety, wreaths and cedar garlands.
What a great way to spend a day or two this holiday season! Drive through some of the most gorgeous country on earth, take a hike in the fresh air, drink some free cider, gobble up some candy canes, and come home with a very fresh Christmas tree for your holiday celebrations.
There are at least 20 farms in Sonoma County that offer cut your own or live Christmas trees for sale. Most of them offer free apple cider, candy canes and coffee. Many offer tractor rides to the kids and Santa Claus is even know to visit a few. There are farms in Sonoma, Petaluma, Penngrove and Santa Rosa, but Sebastopol is the Christmas Tree Farm capital of Sonoma County with 12 farms in all. Tree farmers seem to be a dying breed as many folks go to a parking lot at a mall to buy trees trucked in from who knows where. Visiting a local tree farm sure is a lot more fun. Follow the link below to Sonoma County Uncorked for a beautiful slide show, map and guide to all the Christmas tree farms in Sonoma wine country.
Feel free to comment with your favorite Christmas tree farm!
By dining out today you can help raise money for a great cause: Food for Thought, the Forestville-based AIDS Food Bank which does great work providing healthy food to many families in Sonoma County.
Click the link above to find the list of dozens of local restaurants, from A to Z thoughout the county that are contributing anywhere from 25% to 50% of your dining check to Food for Thought. What a great way to help out and eat well at the same time!
I was on the hunt for something else when I stumbled across this local video of some of my friends and neighbors talking about why they love Sonoma County, and it’s not just all about the wine! I thought you might enjoy! Bon appetit!
Then you should check out Heather Irwin’s BiteClub which is a great source of the latest foodie restaurant news in Sonoma County. You will find the latest restaurant gossip, new openings, and guides to the best places to get a bowl of soup or a chile relleno. She is in the midst of running the second annual best cookie recipe contest. A community of commenters and Twitterers offers their own takes and tips. “Find it Fast” helps you quickly search by cuisine and location.
I also use Yelp quite a bit, especially on my iPhone where I can find nearby restaurants based on my location. Posts are filed by nearby Yelpers in the community. Very handy.
And then there is Open Table. I used to use this just to make reservations on my laptop, but it is far more powerful on the iPhone, since it takes advantage of the GPS to find me something near by that is open, and then automatically sends an email from the iPhone to confirm my reservation. It is a completely simple and fast. I use Open Table way more often now since I downloaded the iPhone app. There are only 98 “wine country” restaurants on Open Table, so it is a limited list of the better restaurants rather than the more comprehensive listing on Heather’s site or on Yelp.
I am offering a break from all the market stat and technology posts. This video has great views of some Sonoma county back roads. Did you know you could do 2 rides a week for a year and not do the same ride twice? Courtesy of the Press Democrat, the Santa Rosa Cycling Club and today’s spring like weather!
I enjoyed this photo essay by Maira Kalman in the New York Times today. Sonoma County is home to many adherents of local, sustainably produced food. Worth a browse to see her photos of a journey to Northern California and back to New York-from fast to Slow Food, with tales of locally, sustainably produced food and the Edible Schoolyard movement. Worth a look–enjoy! and Happy Thanksgiving!
One of the great features of Flickr, the rich photo sharing/photo management site offers is a way for people to group their photos by topic or other features such as location. I recently discovered this pool of images from 638 (and counting) photographers exploring the diverse beauty of Sonoma County. Enjoy!
Today was too beautiful to spend inside, so I made a small excursion with friends that I thought I would share with you. First we hiked around Lake Benoist at the relatively new Riverfront Regional Park in Headsburg on Eastside Road.
This is the site of a former rock quarry on the Russian River. The quarry holes are now two decent sized lakes and a popular fishing spot. We took a trail off the main lake and sat on a park bench tucked on the hillside overlooking the Russian River, watching two fishermen below on a little cove. They told us they caught 2 steelhead and 3 catfish, and put them all back in, but had a good time doing it. The steelhead are protected and they didn’t have a taste for catfish.
I have brought the horses over here several times to ride–it is not a huge park for horse back riding (300 acres) but it is level with good footing so it is a good place to get some easy work in, and you can do a bit of a little gallop towards the back of the lake–the track is pretty broad and there are equal amounts of shade and sun, plus stunning panoramic views towards Mt. St. Helena. The park itself is bordered by sprwqling vineyards that extend all the way north to downtown Healdsburg. There is a very large stand of redwoods with some serious picnic tables and other facilities. The Eagle Scouts were there today sanding the tables and otherwise manicuring the grounds.
At lunchtime we headed over to Forestville. Forestville is a little town tucked between Sebastopol, Healdsburg and Guerneville with some good restaurants and shops, plus a couple of excellent restaurants (Mosaic and the Farmhouse). There are some beautiful country properties and ranches in the area which people might overlook when searching Sonoma County.
A welcome addition to downtown is the Nightingale Bakery which makes some seriously good baguette and other artisan breads, plus they sell local gourmet cheeses–great place to stop for picnic supplies. Another favorite daytime spot is Aioli Gourmet Deli. It is tiny but they make excellent soups and sandwiches plus gourmet takeout fare.
Afterwards I headed back towards Sebastopol for a shopping expedition at Andy’s Produce Market on Gravenstein Highway North. People come from all over West Sonoma County for their locally sourced produce and bulk supplies of grains and spices.
Today is an absolutely glorious fall day in West Sonoma County! Crystal clear skies, about 65 degrees. As good a time as any for me to preview a country property for some clients. The vineyards are golden and red. The grass is lush and emerald green after the first rains last month. This is one of my favorite scenes along The Gravenstein Highway. A magnificent row of liquid ambers line the driveway overlooking an expanse of Russian River pinot noir.
Sent from my iPhone
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