Sunset over Russian River Valley
Sunset over Russian River Valley

Sonoma County, California is more than just a great region for wine and beautiful vineyards in the countryside as far as the eye can see. I just returned from traveling all over Sonoma with my boyfriend. I couldn’t believe how many activities there were for us beyond sampling great wine; it’s a diverse region immersed in agriculture and the environment. The area gives a new meaning to farm-to-table, as you’ll find yourself having dinner just a few feet from where the food on your plate once grew.

Farmhouse Restaurant Tataki of Sake Cured Tuna
Farmhouse Restaurant Tataki of Sake Cured Tuna

It’s meeting (and actually talking with) the young, up-and-coming chef or winemaker. It’s fine dining in Michelin-starred restaurants or taking in the scenery dining in a glass-enclosed patio overlooking a vineyard. It’s waking up in the morning to experience the finest luxury with a cozy farmhouse flair. It’s outdoor adventures in the redwoods or on the Russian River. It’s going off the grid to understand sustainable agriculture by visiting family-owned small farms. It’s seeing how cheese is made at the creamery that produces all of Chipotle’s cheese (in the Western Hemisphere). Or taking the Sonoma Cheese Trail (yes, this is a thing!) to meet interesting people and learn everything you wanted to know about the cheese-making process.

Russian River canoeing
Russian River canoeing

The lists linked below are tested and approved not only by me, but by my loving boyfriend who before this trip only loved beer, as well. Looks like we have a new place to frequent close enough to LA (with direct flights into Santa Rosa)!

Here’s the rundown of what you need to eat, drink and do—plus where to stay—in Sonoma County, CA:

 

Photos courtesy of Caitlin Martin/Spencer Marker.

Caitlin Martin
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