This August, Mitch and I visited our friends who recently moved out to San Jose, California. While we were there, we wanted to cross another wine country off the bucket list, so we took a day trip to Sonoma County.
Sonoma is just west of Napa Valley. Some of the popular places in Sonoma are Healdsburg, Santa Rosa, Sebastopol, and the Russian River Valley.
Healdsburg is a super trendy, walkable town that is perfect for a day trip with friends or significant other. There are tons of tasting rooms and so many great places to eat. We spent a full day here and loved it. I definitely want to go back!
We started off the day enjoying tasty pastries and getting our caffeine fix at Flying Goat Coffee, conveniently located right in the center of downtown Healdsburg. No surprise, this seemed to be a hot spot in the morning!
Next we made the short walk to La Crema‘s wine tasting room (no reservation required for small parties). This sleek and modern tasting room was a lot of fun tasting limited production wines and learning about the wine. Our server was also a teacher at a nearby school and it was cool to hear about how engrained the wine making industry is in the local community and economy.
After La Crema, we went to Williamson Wines for a free wine tasting experience that also included small snack pairings. We were recommended by a local to go here and we were so glad we did. We really enjoyed the great wine and felt compelled to buy a couple of bottles to bring home, but more than that it was just really fun.
After 2 wine tastings, we definitely needed to eat lunch. We ate at Chalkboard, known for its modern small plates made from locally sourced ingredients. The food was phenomenal!
Anyone that knows me, knows that I am obsessed with ice cream. So when wine tasting in the beautiful town of Healdsburg, obviously I had to make a stop at Noble Folk Ice Cream.
The vanilla ice cream (which is my favorite) was a perfect treat. It’s located right in the center of Healdsburg near Flying Goat Coffee and several wine tasting rooms.
Noble Folk Ice Cream
For our last wine tasting of the day, we went to Gary Farrell, which is about a 20 minute drive from downtown Healdsburg. The tasting room and patio featured beautiful views of the valley. The wine was great and perfectly paired with artisanal cheeses. This was the most expensive tasting experience of the day, but the price seemed reasonable given the stunning view and cheese pairing. You can make a tasting reservation in advance on their website.
Gary Farell Winery
In the morning we had some time to kill before heading to the San Francisco airport, so we decided to stop in Sebastopol. We had read a fun thing to do in Sebastopol on Sunday mornings is the farmers market. While it was a fun stop the farmers market was much smaller than we expected and didn’t take much time at all to walk around the whole thing.
The Farmers Market
After the farmer’s market, we were heading back to our car when we stumbled upon The Barlow, a trendy and modern outdoor walkable marketplace with shops, a brewery, cidery, and more. We were happy to stumble upon this gem as it was a perfect place to spend a couple hours.
One of our first stops in The Barlow was Golden State Cider. I was a pretty big fan of their cider and a huge fan of their cute logo. See the adorable otter on the coaster below.
Golden State Cider
One of my favorite stops was California Sister. If I didn’t have to fly back to Minneapolis, I would have bought so many plants from this floral shop.
At The Barlow, you will find many shops and places to eat and drink. If you have a few hours to fill, The Barlow in Sebastopol is a fun choice with lots of options.
If you’re planning a trip to Sonoma definitely consider spending some time in the cute town of Healdsburg (and stopping in Sebastopol).
Can’t decide where to stay in wine country? Check out my post on planning a luxurious trip to Napa Valley.