A Local’s Guide To The Sonoma County Wine Country- Dry Creek Valley
North of San Francisco is often regarded as the Sonoma County Wine Country. While this is true, and anyone can look up what winery or restaurants are the highest-rated, but sometimes having a local’s perspective is the best. I know that no matter what country, state, or county I travel to I love to get off the beaten path and find the real gems!
Just off Highway 101 in Northern California, you will find the much talked about town of Healdsburg and their famous Dry Creek Road. Healdsburg is getting nothing but rave reviews this year as not only being a great wine town but for its friendliness and affordability. It is filled with art and boutiques that are made for shopping as well as tasting rooms on every corner. In the summer, Tuesday nights make for great local experience with free concerts and great food. I can attest to never having a bad meal anywhere in Healdsburg. (This is the reason why I run!) But, for a great afternoon getaway turn west!
Taking Dry Creek Road it to the west you will discover my favorite part of the road. It winds through the vineyards and is more rural, as it connects to beautiful Lake Sonoma. You will pass Wilson Winery which acquired a huge sculpture that dares to be seen. Owners Ken and Diane Wilson proudly keep this piece on display, formerly part of the Sculpture Trail in Geyserville. For breakfast or lunch, I highly recommend stopping and noshing on some true California farm-fresh food at the Dry Creek General Store. This building is truly part of Dry Creek’s history. Established in 1881 the store has continued to serve the area, serving up great food and wine is just part of the experience. Sit in their garden and enjoy the views of vineyards and redwoods. And if you like deviled eggs you have to try them! As you can see, the Sonoma County Wine Country is so much more than just wine!
After fueling up travel down the road to Ferrari-Carrano Winery. This Tuscan inspired winery makes for a beautiful stop. I recommend spending a little extra and doing a reserve tasting, their reserve Chardonnay perfect to sip while sitting on their patio and enjoying views of the valley and hills beyond. Take the time to walk through their garden, it is peaceful and so very well manicured. Experiencing this winery will make you think that you have checked out of the USA and into Italy, minus one passport!
To finish the day, or work off some calories stop at the Lake Sonoma Visitor’s center and take a short hike on one of the trails. This is also a perfect spot for stargazing. As one of the higher elevations away from city lights it makes for a great view during meteor showers! During the day you will see all the boats and jet skis out enjoying the sunny California weather. During cooler months you might want to grab a jacket as the wind can put a slight chill in the air.
I hope that you take the time to enjoy these special off the beaten path locations. They are worth the short drive! For more information on these or other locations visit www.sonoma.com Where are your favorite spots in the Sonoma County Wine Country?