How to Do a Wellness Escape to Sonoma, California
Traverse the region where old-school pleasure meets new-school cool and see why there’s so much more to Sonoma than sipping.
As I was begrudgingly cleaning my junk drawer the other day, I stopped to flip through my old passports. It struck me that there are two places that repeatedly dot their pages: Italy and Vancouver. It occurred to me that, while the two spots don’t have very much in common, the unique appeal of each was so strong that travelling there seemed well worth my hard-earned dollars throughout my 20s.
After my trip to Sonoma County, I realized that it’s the love child of these two spots: It has Italy’s enthusiasm for food and wine and Vancouver’s culture that implores you to get outside. The scenery is a stunning combination of both places: Sonoma County’s three regions span from coastal sea villages and redwoods to rolling hills and vineyards. What’s more, you get something different from every town and city you visit – and there are 30 (!) in total. With everything I adore condensed in one scenic place and so much more to explore, I have no doubt that there will be another stamp repeatedly tattooing my passport throughout my 30s and beyond.
Take a winding drive up the coast to Timber Cove Resort, dramatically positioned on one of Cali’s most stunning coastlines (case in point: Ansel Adams often shot there). You’ll be greeted by a cozy resort that’s heavy on kitsch, with record players in each guest room and a homey lobby with a wood-burning fireplace, board games and a bar. The menu at the on-site restaurant, Coast Kitchen, is filled with local produce, freshly caught seafood like grilled swordfish and oysters, local brews and craft cocktails. Consider this resort your ’70s-chic home away from home. But take note: the beautiful coastal drive is full of hairpin turns on the way back.
The Bay Area’s food scene wouldn’t be much without the help of local produce from Sonoma County and Petaluma. They’re well known for dairy, eggs and fresh produce, like avocados and olives. Stop in at Wild Goat Bistro, where you can taste the local goods in a rustic, converted mill. Try the shishito peppers or Caprese salad with local burrata. But save room for the pizza – it’s what this place is best known for. Take a post-dinner stroll through charming downtown Petaluma, but exercise caution: it’s so cute it could result in the desire to relocate.
Release your inner tree hugger by hiking among the California redwoods. The misty, winding trails at Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve lead to awe-inspiring trees like Parson Jones, which stands at 310 feet tall (longer than a football field) and is the tallest tree in the world. This rainforest is also home to Colonel Armstrong, a tree that’s more than 1,400 years young.