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Three Perfect Days: Sonoma

Long considered Napa Valley’s sleepy cousin, Sonoma is ripe with vineyards and rugged valleys that are now just tame enough to conquer.

Author Sarah Horne


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“I am sort of a hunter-gatherer. I love to go for a run along Dunes Beach, and when I get to the end and it’s low tide I collect mussels. Or I’ll go mushroom picking for chanterelles and porcini up at Salt Point State Park.”



“I love taking my kids to Snowbunny, the organic yogurt shop in Healdsburg. My order is the original tart.”



“I can’t think of a better way to start the morning or recharge after a dayof wine tasting than with a latte from Flying Goat Coffee.”



“Customers often ask me for wine tasting suggestions, and I tell them wineries that bring something new to the table. The Benziger family has made a dramatic commitment to bio-dynamic farming and gives a great tour and tasting that reflect their farming principles.”


Getting Dirty

Hop over the Mayacamas mountains to Calistoga, where the resort Solage Calistoga offers a modern take on the area’s traditional mud baths, inspired by local Native Americans. (Robert Louis Stevenson and P.T. Barnum were early fans of the unusual treatment.)

STEP 1: Head to the property’s sleek bathhouse and select your custom blend of essential oils and mud at the mud bar.

STEP 2: Enter a warm, private room and slather yourself with the stuff.

STEP 3: Twenty minutes later, just as your skin starts to itch, slip into a therapeutic mineral bath.

STEP 4: Nap time! Wrapped in a down comforter, indulge in a relaxing, full-body “sound experience” that’s just as peculiar as you’d imagine.


High Camp at Bohemian Grove

For two weeks each July, the members of the mysterious men’s-only Bohemian Club head to a closely guarded 2,700-acre compound off of Monte Rio’s Bohemian Highway. Staff members are forced to sign nondisclosure agreements and get their hands scanned for entry, but several journalists have infiltrated the top-secret confab over the years to peek at members as they frolic in the Redwoods, perform skits and engage in a ceremony known as the Cremation of Care. The difference between the campers in this wooded glen and the rest of the hippies dancing in the forest in Sonoma? This group includes some of the most powerful men in American business and politics: think Colin Powell, Arnold Schwarzenegger, George Bush (both of them) and a sprinkling of Rockefellers and Forbeses. If your invite got lost in the mail, hey, there’s always the nearby Russian River Beer Revival.

6 Responses to “Three Perfect Days: Sonoma”

  1. Shana Ray Says:
    January 2nd, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    It is truly a wonderful place to visit (and live) and there is more to Sonoma than simply wine tasting, which you captured here perfectly! Great description of the area.

  2. Alana Gentry Says:
    January 11th, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    Headsburg is my favorite town in Sonoma County. Two other completely different regions (45 minutes from Healdsburg) is Kenwood (Kunde Winery is there) and Sonoma, the town. The town of Sonoma has been called “the island” by the locals, it’s the place with the quirky characters. Healdsburg is full of friendly, fun types.

  3. Grace Hoffman Says:
    January 13th, 2010 at 9:39 pm

    I’m from Iowa but when I visit Northern California, Healdsburg is my favorite place to visit! I can’t recommend it and the Dry Creek Valley area enough! I’ve made so many great friends and visited so many beautiful places. Michel-Schlumberger is awesome! I was just there last Summer and hiked their vineyards! Just spectacular!

  4. Simon Kitchen-Dunn Says:
    February 1st, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    If you would like to live the dream why not doing perched above the Alexander Valley on Chalk Hill Road on 17.5 secluded acres at the end of a country lane.

  5. Sonoma William Says:
    February 23rd, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    Great article. Good picks on wineries. So many more gems not mentioned though, make sure you come spend 2-3 days and explore fully!

  6. Lisa Villarini Says:
    March 14th, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    Healdsburg is definately the best of the best of Sonoma County-You got it right with Lime Stone the perfect shop to take home special one of a kind items like the wine label tray made from local somoma wineries and right next door is the best restaurant Dry Creek Kitchen-food is exceptional and service was top notch!

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