Warner Custom Homes–Sean Warner-707-579-3288/(707) 477-3347 – Showroom at -3854 Santa Rosa Avenue, Santa Rosa CA 95407- www.wchremodels.com
PJ's Construction-Patrick Pedersen-707-756-2540 firstname.lastname@example.org
Larson Construction-Scott Larsen-(707)-526-6899-2300 Bethards Drive Santa Rosa CA 95405
Warner Custom Homes-Sean Warner-707-579-3288/(707) 477-3347 – Showroom at -3854 Santa Rosa Avenue, Santa Rosa CA 95407- www.wchremodels.com
Finger Painting (707) 838-4393 www.garyfingerpainting.com
Redwood Coast Painting (707) 545-3336
Alex Paint & Design (707)-477-5425
Doug’s Bugs-(707) 284-1084 www.dougs-bugs.com
Pat’s Affordable Fumigation-(707) 577-8100
All Star Home Inspections-(707) 284-2520 www.allstarhomeinspectionsinc.com
Halcyon Home Inspection-(707) 953-1446 www.halcyonhomeinspection.com
Joe Moore Roofing (707) 837-0620
Herb Palmer Roofing-(707)-795-6866
Ray’s Well Testing-(707)-823-3191 www.rayswelltesting.com
Weeks Drilling-(707)-542-3272 www.weeksdrillingsebastopolca.com
Carlos Septic Services-(707)-763-1397
California Steam Clean-(707)-566-0315 www.calsteamclean.com
Edmond Joseph Landscaping-(707)-938-1727 www.edmondjosephlandscape.com
Curry Landscaping-(707)-539-0578 www.currylandscaping.com
The Perfect Touch-(707)-527-7445
Garage Door Repair
Jeri-co Garage Doors-(707) 263-3321 www.jeri-cogaragedoors.com
Seismic Retrofit/House Bolting
Bolt down the Bay Area-1 866 664 BOLT www.boltdownthebayarea.com
On Point Appraisal-Zackery Powell-707-238-4500 email@example.com
Williams Appraisals-Ted Williamsfirstname.lastname@example.org
Walling Appraisal Co.-Todd Wallingemail@example.com
City of Santa Rosa (707) 543-4200
City of Rohnert Park (707) 585-6750
City of Petaluma (707) 778-4546
City of Sebastopol (707) 823-7863
City of Windsor (707) 838-1004
City of Healdsburg (707) 431-3300
City of Sonoma (707) 938-3861
GAS & ELECTRIC
Blue Star Gas (707) 573-3130
Suburban Propane (800) 776-7263
BDK Septic Service (707) 527-8788
Sequoia Septic Tank Service (707) 921-1602
Von Renner Construction (707) 576-1141
Ray’s Well Services (707) 823-3191
Weeks Well Services (707) 331-1769
Petersen Wells (707) 545-0246
Comcast (800) 266-2278
DirecTV (855) 833-4388
ATT (877) 311-8576
Sonic (707) 522-1000
HugesNet (866) 641-5015
Unicycler (707) 585-0291
Windsor Refuse & Recycling (707) 586-5545
In today’s real estate market it is essential to get pre-approved before starting your home search as it allows you to:
Understand your financial situation
Understand how much home you can afford before you begin your home search
Strengthen your purchasing power when making your offer
Getting pre-approved helps put you in a better negotiating position by letting the seller know you are committed and the financing is not in question
In cases where there are multiple offers for homes, buyers who are pre-approved have a better chance of an accepted offer on the house they wish to buy–versus those buyers that are not pre-approved
Choosing a mortgage loan years ago used to be like buying a car in the days of the Model T. As the old joke goes, buyers could have any color they liked as long as it was black. The same was true with mortgage financing. Homebuyers could pick any loan, as long as it was a 30-year fixed-rate with 20 percent down.
Today, consumers have a wide variety of loan options from which to choose. In fact, with so many different types of mortgages available, selecting the right one can seem overwhelming. But the good news is that an experienced mortgage loan expert from a company like Princeton Capital, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage’s mortgage affiliate, can clarify your options and help you select the mortgage that is right for your own personal situation.
Choosing the “best” mortgage product really depends on your financial circumstances, how much you intend to put down, how much home you’re looking to purchase, how long you intend to stay in the home, and many more issues. According to Princeton Capital, some of the choices that may be available to you include: Fixed-rate mortgages. While buyers can still pick the traditional 30-year fixed, they also have the option of selecting fixed-rate loans over 10, 15, or 20 years. In fact, borrowers can even pick a 40-year period in some cases.
The advantage of a fixed-rate mortgage is that you always know what you will pay every month for the life of the loan. So if interest rates go up, your monthly payment won’t be affected. Conversely, you wouldn’t benefit if rates go down unless you refinanced.
Fixed-rate mortgages are typically recommended for those who intend to live in their home for quite a while, usually at least five years or longer. The 10-year and 15-year fixed product may be good for those looking to refinance their mortgage and pay off their home faster.
Fixed-period adjustable rate mortgages. These loans, often referred to as “hybrid ARMs,” feature an initial fixed interest rate period, after which the interest rate becomes adjustable for the rest of the loan term. These periods that these loans remain fixed are typically three, five, seven or 10 years.
Advantages of hybrid ARMs: They generally offer lower rates during the fixed period than traditional fixed-rate mortgages. But once the introductory period is over, the rate is subject to change based on the financial index to which the rate is pegged. If interest rates are rising, your monthly payment could rise as well.
If you believe interest rates are likely to go down in the future, this may be a good choice. But a word of caution that rates are already low by historic levels. A hybrid could also be the right option for someone who intends to stay in their home for only a limited period of time and plans to sell their property before the fixed period ever expires.
FHA and VA Loans. Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) loans are popular homebuyer choices because they require a lower down payment and credit score than conventional loans.
But there are eligibility requirements and maximum loan limits, so they’re not for everyone.
FHA loans are private loans insured by the federal government. They’re popular with borrowers who don’t have enough funds to pay a traditional down payment because they require only 3.5 percent down to qualify. But borrowers are required to pay mortgage insurance, which slightly increases their monthly payments. Additionally, there are loan limits on FHA loans based on the cost of housing in a particularcounty, ranging from approximately $271,000 to $625,000.
Like an FHA loan, VA loans are private loans insured by the federal government and are popular with those qualified borrowers who don’t have enough money for a traditional down payment. VA loans can help reduce down payment requirement, sometimes to zero. But VA loans are only available to qualified military veterans and their families and are only available to these individuals for their own primary residences. Also, while there are technically no limits on how much a veteran can borrow using a VA loan, there is a $417,000 maximum amount the government will guarantee on these loans.
The good news in all of this for homebuyers is that there are many more mortgage loan options available today than there were years ago. But finding the right choice for you can be complicated. I would be happy to help answer some of your questions and put you in touch with a mortgage loan professional to get further information. Just give me a call. I’m here to help!
Below please find contact information for my preferred lenders:
Jeff Wolfe–(707)-568-7500 J P Wolfe and Associates-414 Royal Meadows Court, Santa Rosa CA 95404 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rental Properties/Property Management
If you own a rental/income property you will have to make the decision whether to self-manage, hire a property manager or a combination of both. Property managers typically charge 8% of the monthly rent in addition to tenant placement fees.
Some property owners will use a management company to place the tenant and then self manage the property after that. This ensures that the latest contracts and laws are being adhered to. This relieves the owner from having to screen tenants and checking the credit worthiness of future renters. The Property management companies typically charge 50% of the first months rent plus advertising costs for this service.
Self management is not as difficult as the public might think. This option allows an owner to have better control over who is renting their property and what service providers are used for repairs. This method of management also ensures maximum returns on you investment as it avoids additional outside management costs. If self managing, the property owner should keep records on an accounting system such as Quicken. It is also strongly advised that an account be opened with tenant screening company to confirm a tenants credit worthiness and/or rental and criminal background (information below).
When considering which option to use it would be advised to call Ben LeBerthon first. Ben has owned and operated his own property management company and has a wealth of information he can share. Although Ben no longer participates in property management he is still willing to teach his clients all of the basic things they will need to know.
Moving here from out of the area and looking for a place to rent? Just sold your home and need an interim rental? Or are you just looking to rent a home?
The rental market can be very difficult. Many owners place their properties on websites such as Craigslist. Potential renters must be cautious as there are a lot of scams out there. Never trust anything that seems too good to be true. Most scammers want you to send them money in exchange for keys. If you cannot deal with someone directly be suspicious. When in doubt call Ben LeBerthon and he can research the home and give you a clear picture as to who owns the property.
A list of local property management companies is below. It is much safer to go directly to one of these companies. Most management companies will have a website listing their available listings. It is advisable to contact them directly to make sure that you are aware of all of their listings.
As always it is advised that you call Ben LeBerthon if you have any questions about the renting process. Having owned and operated his own property management company Ben is very familiar with rental contracts, where the good neighborhoods are, rental trends and current pricing.
Property Management Companies
DeDe’s Rentals and Management-150 Coddingtown Center-Santa Rosa, CA- (707) 523-4500 www.santarosapropertymanagement.com
Baker & Associates Property Management-101 Brookwood, Suite B- Santa Rosa, CA- (707) 542-4700 www.bakerrentals.net
Sonoma County Rentals-50 E Street-Santa Rosa CA-(707) 836-3692
Tenant Screening Center-140 Wikiup Dr, Santa Rosa, CA 95403 (800) 523-2381 www.tsci.com
Willi’s Wine Bar
4404 Old Redwood Hwy.
Santa Rosa , CA , United States
Located off Highway 101, Willi’s Wine Bar pairs globally inspired small plates with more than 100 local and international wines. Originally a 19th-century stagecoach stop, the restaurant is now a romantic space with hardwood floors, fresh flowers, and a candlelit bar, as well as a heated outdoor patio strung with miniature lights. The menu blends French, Asian, and Mediterranean flavors in dishes like barbecued octopus salad with fingerling potatoes, and roasted bone marrow on toasted brioche with red-onion marmalade. In addition to glasses and bottles, all wines are available in two-ounce samples and mix-and-match tasting flights.
The low lighting, well-spaced tables, and gas fireplaces at this restaurant in Santa Rosa’s Railroad Square area create a congenial setting for dining on generous slabs of steak, seafood from the raw bar, and sustainable fish. With entrées like the 20-ounce, dry-aged rib eye and the 32-ounce porterhouse for two, there’s not a chance that meat eaters will depart unsated, and such nonsteak options as the tamarind barbecue prawns and the sea bass with charred baby leeks are a cut above those at your average temple to beef. The full menu is available in the adjoining lounge, which is renowned for its happy hour (3 to 6, except Sunday).
Address: 521 Adams St., at 7th St. Santa Rosa, CA 95401
Located in the Montgomery Village Shopping Center, Monti’s welcomes you with its rustic Mediterranean ambiance. In addition to different nightly specials from the large wood-fired rotisserie, including CK Leg of Lamb and Liberty Farms Lavender Roasted Duck, Monti’s menu offers both small and big plates that feature fresh local meats and seasonal produce. Also available are pizzas, pastas, salads and a selection of items from the raw bar. The well stocked wine cellar offers an extensive selection of wines, all available by the glass and there is a full bar.
Address: 714 Village CtSanta Rosa, CA 95404
Phone: (707) 568-4404
Sea Thai Bisto
“Even if you’re not that into Thai”, fans say “you’ll love” this “upscale” North Bay trio that whips up “fabulous” fusion fare with a “modern twist” (“pad Thai and chicken satay it ain’t”); things can get “loud”, but “wonderful, warm” service and “sleek” decor help ensure most “come back” for more “adventurous eating”; P.S. fish-phobes take note: the name is an abbreviation for ‘Southeast Asia.’
2323 Sonoma Avenue
Santa Rosa, California 95405
Ca Bianca’s cuisine is a blend from multiple regions of Italy, from Milano in the north to Sicilia in the south. Our delicious array of tantalizing dishes include house-made pasta and bread, perfectly cooked steaks, seafood classics, creative antipasti, garden fresh salads, and of course, rich desserts. Ca Bianca is a treasure of warmth and charm in the heart of Santa Rosa.
Address: 835 2nd Street Santa Rosa, CA 95404
Phone: (707) 542-5800
Bistro 29 located in downtown Santa Rosa, Sonoma County. Bistro 29 is a traditional bistro specializing in “Breton” regional cuisine. The number 29 comes from the department of Finistère (end of the earth) located in the upper tip of north-west France. Known for the Galette de blé noir (traditional buckwheat crêpe) and sweet crêpes, Bretagne also uses a variety of local seafood and produce that can easily be found in and around northern California.
Address :620 5th Street Santa Rosa, CA 95401
Phone: (707) 546-2929
Jack & Tony’s Restaurant & Whiskey Bar
Jack and Tony’s Restaurant and Whisky Bar is located in the heart of Sonoma County’s Wine Country, in Santa Rosa’s Historic Railroad Square. We are just 50 miles north of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge. We feature Modern American Regional cooking and an exclusive wine list focused on Sonoma County’s incredible wine producers. The adjacent Whisky Bar shelves over 200 expressions of Scotch, Bourbon, Irish, American and Japanese whiskies.
115 Fourth Street Santa Rosa, CA 95401
Phone: (707) 526-4347
Tex Wasabi’s Rock-N-Roll Sushi-BBQ
Popular Food Networker Guy Fieri churns out “unique” “Asian-BBQ fusion” (i.e. “pork sliders and ribs” share the menu with sushi) at this Santa Rosa branch of his modestly priced franchise; a “twentysomething crowd” fills the “slick, dark” space to imbibe “yummy drinks”
515 4th Street
Santa Rosa, California 95401
This “local favorite” “bustling” Santa Rosa bistro situated “right on old courthouse square” dishes out a “wide-ranging” Cal-Eclectic menu filled with “consistently good comfort food”
96 Old Courthouse Square
Santa Rosa, California 95404
Flipside Bar & Burgers
Flipside Bar & Burger: an innovation of the classic American diner. When you visit Flipside you will be greeted by both our friendly staff and an open air restaurant. The breezy, welcoming atmosphere flows all the way from our outdoor patio into our elegant interior, making you feel like you’re taking a mini vacation in downtown Santa Rosa.
Address: 630 3rd Street Santa Rosa, CA 95404
Phone: (707) 523-1400
The essence of good Indian cooking revolves around the appropriate use of aromatic spices. The skill in cooking lies in the subtle blending of these spices to enhance rather than overwhelm the basic flavor of a particular dish as demonstrated by Chef Uddab. We take pride in preparing the dishes from fresh ingredients and hope that you will enjoy them.
Address: 52 Mission Circle#110 Santa Rosa, CA 95409
Phone: (707) 538-3367
Say “sah-ZAWN” when you say Sazón, the new Peruvian restaurant in the Roseland neighborhood of Santa Rosa. You”re just as likely to say, “Wow!” or “Ahhhh!” or even “M-mmm!” because Sazón will delight you with authentic dishes of Peru. Ají amarillo the most important ingredient in Peruvian cooking. The Navarro family — father and two sons — who operate Sazón don’t cater to the timid American palate by stinting on this hot pepper or others in their sauces. They are blazing hot, just like at home in Peru. To sum up: Real Peruvian food has come to Sonoma County and it’s wonderful!
Address: 1129 Sebastopol Rd. Santa Rosa, CA 95407
Phone: (707) 523-4346
Rosso Pizzeria & Wine Bar
They may be “hard to find”, but these pizza tsars in Santa Rosa and Petaluma are “worth the search” for “awesome”, “blistered” wood-fired pies made with “top-notch ingredients” and “cracker-thin” crusts; “unusual charcuterie”, an “outstanding” list of “fairly priced” biodynamic wines and a “friendly, knowledgeable” staff add to the appeal of the “pretty basic” spots, as do “excellent daily specials” that “rarely miss a beat.”
53 Montgomery Dr. (at the Creekside Center)
Santa Rosa, CA
John Ash & Co.
“Superb food in harmony with glorious decor” distinguishes this “revitalized” Santa Rosa Californian boasting a “romantic setting” “overlooking the vineyards”; the locavore dishes are “beautifully presented” by a “polite, prompt” staff also offering an “extensive” selection of Sonoma-centric vintages, and while it’s “expensive”, it’s deemed “worth it”, whether for a “special occasion” or “after a day at the wineries.”
4330 Barnes Rd
Santa Rosa, California 95403
Lococo’s Cucina Rustica
As “perfect for a romantic evening” as it is for “families needing a night out without breaking the bank”, this “cute” Downtown Santa Rosa ristorante dishes out “fabulous”, “rich” fare including “fine pastas”; “accommodating” staffers “add to your dining pleasure”, but just bear in mind that it’s quite “popular”, thus “frenetic” and “difficult to get into on weekends.”
117 4th Street
Santa Rosa, California 95401
Chef-owner Gary Chu “cheerfully prepares sushi” that “could not be fresher” while “hobnobbing with the locals” at this longtime Cal-Japanese in Santa Rosa; with a “really nice ambiance”, “reasonable prices” and Sonoma County wines, regulars rave “who could ask for more?”
2446 Patio Ct
Santa Rosa, California 95405
A-listers flock to this new temple to Wine Country haute cuisine (without the attitude). Charlie Palmer protege Dustin Valette grabs the spotlight with dishes that have more unexpected twists and turns than an Alfred Hitchcock movie. Go for the “Trust Me” tasting menu, which changes almost daily. Favorite dishes include seared Kobe beef with foie gras butter, house-made semolina pasta with spring peas, and Valette’s signature Day Boat Scallops en Croûte.
344 Center St., Healdsburg, 707-473-0946, www.valettehealdsburg.com
Chalkboard restaurant, opened May 2013 under Executive Chef Shane McAnelly, offers a modern small plates menu emphasizing seasonal and technique-driven fare. McAnelly sources much of his menu from local purveyors and farms, with many ingredients coming from the restaurant’s own dedicated 3-acre vegetable and herb garden located at nearby Chalk Hill Estate Vineyards.
Offerings of local wine flights and an extensive list of wine-by-the-glass are a major focus at Chalkboard, as well the cocktail menu inspired by fresh ingredients from the Chalk Hill garden.
29 North Street (707) 473-8030 http://chalkboardhealdsburg.com
Campo Fina was born the summer of 2012, when the Rosens revived a 100-year-old building in downtown Healdsburg, right around the corner from Scopa. It’s been strongly received since the beginning, thanks to its prized outdoor area and strong Italian cooking. However, Campo Fina keeps the menu small, relying on pies and small plates only. Press Democrat’s Jeff Cox declared in his own Campo Fina review (also three stars) that “[n]o chef in the wine country comes closer to capturing the true spirit of Italian cooking than Ari Rosen.”
330 Healdsburg Avenue (707)-395-4640 http://campofina.com
Mateos Cocina Latina
MATEO HONED HIS SIGNATURE STYLE at Sonoma County Farmers’ Markets, starting simply after years in fine dining by selling Yucatan Tamales from his grandmother’s secret recipe. Soon his presence in the markets grew to a mobile kitchen where he created best-selling rustic-refined market based breakfast and lunch dishes. At the same time Mateo’s reputation was also established as one of the top in-demand caterers for many of the North Bay’s best private parties and culinary events. Mateo somehow also found time to launch his own private label El Yuca Mayan habanero sauces, crafted from his own, homegrown chills, brimming with spicy, Yucatán style.
214 Healdsburg Avenue (707) 433-1520 http://mateoscocinalatina.com/home/
With artwork and pitchforks on the walls, Barndiva, housed in a Mahogany barn just off Healdsburg’s main square, epitomizes rustic-chic. Popular with local chefs and winemakers, it sources ingredients for dishes like basil and fromage blanc agnolotti from small, sustainable Sonoma County purveyors; muddles cocktails with herbs grown around the property and on owner Jil Hales’s farm in Mendocino; and produces its own Cabernet. Hales’s art gallery, Studio Barndiva, is just next door. barndiva.com
Healdsburg Bar & Grill
Despite its Douglas Keane (of the shuttered Cyrus) pedigree, “don’t expect haute cuisine” at this “super-casual” bar and grill in Healdsburg, where “inspired” midpriced American pub grub – including a “great burger” – is served by an “exceptionally nice” staff in a kid-friendly setting; something of the local Cheers, it’s a natural to “watch the game” or linger at lunchtime “on the patio”, and there’s a “pretty good wine list” to boot.
245 Healdsburg Ave.
Healdsburg , CA , United States
Willi’s Seafood & Raw Bar
The perpetually packed Willi’s draws a festive crowd that likes to enjoy specialty cocktails at the full bar before sitting down to a dinner of small, mostly seafood-oriented plates. A few dishes, such as the warm Maine lobster roll with garlic butter and fennel, conjure up a New England fish shack, and others, like the top-notch ceviches and the scallops served with a cilantro-and-pumpkin-seed pesto, have a Latin American accent. The desserts transport diners to France (wildly flavorful crème brûlée) and beyond. The same owners operate the Bravas Bar de Tapas at 420 Center Street, another good choice if this place is packed
Address: 403 Healdsburg Ave., at North St. Healdsburg, CA 95448
Downtown Healdsburg has a “winner” in this Spanish taparia from the team behind Willi’s Wine Bar offering a varied selection of both hot and cold small plates (deemed relatively “large” by some) including paper-thin sliced jamón Ibérico, washed down with sangria and Spanish-tinged cocktails; a “to-die-for” back patio helps provides a “beautiful atmosphere”, and it all adds up to “good fun.”
420 Center Street
Healdsburg, California 95448
Cantina doors that open onto Healdsburg Avenue make this trendy eatery especially appealing in summer, when warm breeze wafts into the stylish space. Midcentury modern furnishings, concrete walls, and a long communal table fashioned from rough-hewn acacia wood create an urbane setting for chef Louis Maldonado’s contemporary American fare. Divided into five sections, the menu lets you mix and match to create a memorable meal. The mains might include Cornish game hen roulade with artichokes or loin of beef in red wine jus, served with quinoa and cider-braised root vegetables. The perpetually packed bar, known for inventive seasonal and historic cocktails, is the real draw for many locals.
219 Healdsburg Ave.
Healdsburg , CA , United States
Dry Creek Kitchen
Chef Charlie Palmer grew up in upstate New York and earned nationwide fame at Manhattan’s swank Aureole. Yet he’s considered Healdsburg royalty—some credit the town’s transformation with the 2001 opening of Dry Creek Kitchen, located inside the minimalist Hotel Healdsburg. Beyond the outstanding California cuisine, including dishes like star anise-crusted duck breast served in a pluot sablée (a French butter cookie made without sugar), the restaurant is also known for its wine list, which features around 600-plus bottles from Sonoma alone. charliepalmer.com
317 Healdsburg Avenue
Chef-owner Ari Rosen’s trattoria channels Italy with house-made ciabatta, excellent pizzas and tomato-braised chicken served in a black cast-iron pot. The popular Wine Maker Wednesdays brings in local winemakers (Suzanne Hagins of Horse & Plow, Fred Scherrer of Scherrer Winery) to join the floor as servers for the evening, pouring their own wines by the glass and offering them by the half and full bottle.
109A Plaza Street (707) 433-5282
Baci is committed to sourcing locally grown ingredients wherever possible, incorporating sustainable and organic-based cooking methods, and supporting small, local farmers on our menu. Above all, they are committed to delivering the purest and most transparent intention in our cooking, showcasing their passion, character and spirit in every dish.This focus and dedication to local and fresh seasonal ingredients has made them one of Sonoma County's favorite dining destinations.
336 Healdsburg Avenue (707) 433-8316 http://bacicafeandwinebar.com
“My favorite place in Healdsburg for breakfast,” says chef Douglas Keane. “It’s almost like a truck stop, but they make their own biscuits and gravy and nice, fluffy omelets (I hate overcooked omelets). In the summer they have heirloom tomatoes.”
165 Healdsburg Avenue (707) 433-8263
Costeaux French Bakery
This French-style bakery and café has won numerous awards for its bread, and the croissants are among Sonoma County’s best. Breakfast, served all day, includes homemade quiche, the signature omelet (sun-dried tomatoes, applewood-smoked bacon, and Brie), and French toast made from thick slabs of cinnamon-walnut bread. Among the lunch items are two au courant variations on classic sandwiches: a French dip made from house-roasted rib eye and a Monte Cristo (turkey, ham, and Jarlsberg cheese) on that addictive cinnamon-walnut bread. Arrive early on weekends to grab a seat on the open-air patio.
Address: 417 Healdsburg Ave., at North St. Healdsburg, CA 95448 |Map It
This cozy restaurant with a slightly Provençal feel serves a hodgepodge of cuisines, from an all-American chicken-salad sandwich and an excellent house-cured pork tenderloin sandwich, both for lunch, to Italian favorites like fusilli and smoked chicken in a basil cream sauce for dinner. Some of the standout dishes are French through and through, such as the escargots in garlicky herb butter and a generous charcuterie plate that includes pork-pepper pâté, duck rillette, and garlic salami. The vibe is casual rather than refined, but the reasonable prices and ample portions make this one of Healdsburg’s better values for a sit-down meal. If you’re planning a picnic, the restaurant is happy to pack up some food to go.
Address: 335 Healdsburg Ave., at North St. Healdsburg, CA 95448
This former apple-processing factory is now a food destination that will house a farmer’s market, bakeries, coffee roasters, breweries and wineries, like Kosta Browne and Wind Gap.
For their longstanding Santa Rosa restaurant, husband-and-wife duo John Stewart and Duskie Estes grow produce and raise livestock for their menu at MacBryde Farm, located behind their house in Forestville. They raise Red Wattle heritage pigs, rabbits, goats and flocks of turkey and chicken, and harvest everything from seven types of pumpkin to figs for their daily-changing, ingredient-driven menus. Adding to Zazu’s homey appeal: copper-topped tables, vintage mirrors and whirring ceiling fans.
“A little bit of Paris” in Sebastapol, this “sophisticated” bistro with “small-town friendliness” is a local “go-to” for “delicious” French fare paired with “excellent” wines; some say they get “a little claustrophobic” inside (there’s also a patio), but most don’t mind the “small storefront” setting in light of the “reasonable prices”, not to mention staffers who serve with “professionalism and good cheer.”
119 South Main Street
Sebastopol, California 95472
“Interesting creations” of “healthy food” anchor this “popular” Sebastopol hangout serving midpriced, organic “farm-to-table” Italian-inspired fare and “local” biodynamic wines; regulars warn “don’t eat here if you’re in a hurry” (service can be “on the slow side”) and wish the “modern” LEED-certified space would “expand” as “seating is very limited”, though there’s also a “beautiful patio.”
7385 Healdsburg Avenue
Sebastopol, California 95472
“Everybody finds something they like” among the “reasonably priced” Eclectic pub food, but it’s the “fine selection of local and imported beers” that really draws “lively, young” types to these “hangouts” from Dean Biersch of Gordon Biersch; the atmosphere’s particularly “wonderful in summer” on the “super” fire pit–blessed patio and downright “funky” on the weekends thanks to the “fantastic sounds” of local bands.
230 Petaluma Avenue
Sebastopol, California 95472
A “hip scene for Sebastopol”, this “interesting-concept” place with a “cool” look holds two restaurants under one roof, so “you need to choose Italian or Southeast Asian before you sit down”; many find it best for a “fun drink at the bar.”
6948 Sebastopol Avenue
Sebastopol, California 95472
From “foodies to grannies” there’s “something for everyone” at this “affordably priced” French bistro on the “outskirts of Sebastopol” where the “true farm-to-table cuisine” features produce from its own garden; other pluses include “quality” service and a “spacious patio” perfect for”lingering.”
8050 Bodega Avenue
Sebastopol, California 95472
Even though chef-owner Chad Harris’s tiny Fremont Diner off the junction of Highway 121/12 in Sonoma opened just in 2009, it nails the look of a roadside diner from the 1940s. The roof is corrugated tin, and a badly rusted pickup truck is permanently parked outside. The menu is classic Southern comfort food with a bit of Cal-Mex thrown in, cooked with the best Napa and Sonoma ingredients. Open only for breakfast and lunch (though there is a good selection of local craft beers), Fremont turns out black pepper brisket hash, fried chicken and waffles and an excellent rendition of the 19th-century Hangtown Fry with eggs, bacon, potatoes and oysters scrambled together.
The Girl & the Fig
110 W. Spain St.
Sonoma , CA , United States
A Sonoma County favorite since 1997, this charming spot serves French-country cuisine for lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch. (Proprietor Sondra Bernstein and chef John Toulze moved the original restaurant from Glen Ellen to the current downtown Sonoma location in 2001—and their fan base followed.) It’s practically de rigueur to precede a meal here with a Fig Royale (the house cocktail, made with fig syrup and sparkling wine) at the huge antique wooden bar; once you settle in to the homey, mustard-yellow dining room, though, you’ll have some tough choices to make. Should you try the brioche French toast stuffed with fromage blanc for brunch—or the duck confit with poached eggs and potato hash? The slow-braised carbonade de boeuf for dinner, or the pan-roasted black cod? Either way, be sure to sample from the extensive charcuterie offerings—and from the “Rhone alone” wine list featuring locally grown Rhone varietals (like Viognier, Marsanne, and Grenache).
This elegant dining room has gained a reputation as a destination restaurant through its focus on seasonal and locally sourced ingredients. The room is understated, with drapes in rich earth tones and softly lighted chandeliers, but the food is anything but. Dishes such as truffled organic poussin (spring chicken)—poached breast, braised leg, stuffed thigh—served with brussels sprouts, butternut squash, and black-truffle bread, are complex without being fussy. Others, like the butter-poached Maine lobster pot-au-feu, served with Parisian gnocchi, black trumpet mushrooms, delicata squash, pickled pearl onions, and lobster bouillabaisse, are pure decadence.
Address: Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa, 100 Boyes Blvd./Hwy. 12, 2.5 miles north of Sonoma Plaza Boyes Hot Springs,CA 95476 | Map It
This casual eatery’s menu, composed mostly of salads and sandwiches, is simple but satisfying. Highlights include the smoked duck breast sandwich, served on a baguette and slathered with caramelized onions. A meal of soup and local cheeses is a good option if you just want to nibble. Both the pretty patio, which is in the back, and the sidewalk seating area facing Sonoma Plaza are equipped with heating lamps and get plenty of shade, so they’re comfortable in all but the most inclement weather. On dreary days, cheerful artworks brighten up the interior, where locals hunker over their computers and take advantage of the free Wi-Fi. Omelets and waffles are the stars at breakfast.
Address: 421 1st St. W, at W. Spain St. Sonoma, CA 95476 |Map It
Born in the Azores and raised in Sonoma, chef-owner Manuel Azevedo serves dishes inspired by his native Portugal in this warmly decorated spot. The best seats are on a patio along an alleyway off Sonoma Plaza. Such boldly flavored dishes as pork tenderloin recheado, stuffed with olives and almonds and topped with a port sauce, might be followed by a dish of rice pudding with Madeira-braised figs or a port from the varied list. The daily seafood specials are also well worth a try.
Address: 452 E. 1st St., between E. Spain and E. Napa Sts.Sonoma, CA 95476 | Map It
Hot Box Grill
Comfort foods aren’t often described as nuanced, but the term aptly describes the locally sourced preparations chef Norm Owens conjures up at his modest roadside restaurant. Take the fries (but not too many): long and not at all lean, they’re cooked in duck fat and served with malt-vinegar aioli, lending them a richness that lingers pleasingly in your memory. There’s lots of frying going on here—of chicken, of course, but even the Cornish game hen gets the treatment. The corn-bread pudding on the side is creamy good. Up against these dishes, the daily-changing pasta offerings almost seem light, and the appetizers—think spicy ahi tuna with a ponzu sauce and persimmon “carpaccio”—downright dainty.
Address: 18350 Sonoma Hwy./Hwy. 12, Sonoma, CA 95476
Harvest Moon Cafe
t’s easy to feel like one of the family at this little restaurant with an odd, zigzagging layout. Diners seated at one of the two tiny bars chat with the servers like old friends, but the husband-and-wife team in the kitchen is serious about the food, much of which relies on local produce. The ever-changing menu might include homey dishes like grilled pork loin with crispy polenta and artichokes, Niman Ranch rib-eye steak with a red-wine sauce, or shepherd’s pie with rabbit ragout. Everything is so perfectly executed and the vibe is so genuinely warm that a visit here is deeply satisfying. A spacious back patio with tables arranged around a fountain more than doubles the seating; a heated tent keeps this area warm in winter.
Address: 487 1st St. W, at W. Napa St. Sonoma, CA 95476 | Map It
El Dorado Kitchen
The visual delights at this winning restaurant include its clean lines and handsome decor, but the eye inevitably drifts westward to the open kitchen, where chef Armando Navarro and his diligent crew craft flavorful dishes full of subtle surprises. Pumpkin seeds and spiced marshmallows top the popular butternut squash soup, for instance, adding a crunchy-sweet piquancy that plays well off the dish’s predominantly savory sentiments. Focusing on locally sourced ingredients, the menu might include Petaluma duck breast enlivened by the tangy flavors of parsnip purée, braised endive, roasted turnips, persimmons, and huckleberries. Even a simple dish like truffle-oil fries, liberally sprinkled with Parmesan cheese, charms with its combination of tastes and textures. The noteworthy desserts include an apple tart tatin, banana crisp with lime curd, and molten chocolate cake.
Address: El Dorado Hotel, 405 1st St. W, at W. Spain St. Sonoma, CA95476
Its owners hail from Lucca, Italy, which may be why this longtime favorite serves the most authentic Italian food in town. The heated patio out back adds to the setting’s down-to-earth charms. Daily fish and veal specials join such classic northern Italian dishes as linguine with pesto and lasagna Bolognese. Of special note are the roasted meat dishes and, when available, petrale sole and sand dabs. Enoteca Della Santina, the casual wine bar and retail shop next door, also serves dinner nightly.
Address: 133 E. Napa St., near 1st St. E Sonoma, CA 95476 | Map It
Its amazing range of terroir and microclimates distinguishes Sonoma County as one of the most diverse winegrape-growing regions in the world. The Pacific coastline, redwood forests, fertile valleys, and mountains produce an array of exceptional wines.
Despite the myth that wine tasting is an expensive activity, there are dozens of wineries in Sonoma County that offer either free wine tasting or waive the tasting fee with a wine purchase.
Below is a quick round up of Sonoma wineries with no tasting fees. This list is up to date as of press time, but visit the wineries’ websites or call to confirm tasting fees.
A. Rafanelli Winery
4685 W. Dry Creek Road
Albini Family Vineyards
886 Jensen Lane
Alexander Valley Vineyards
8644 Highway 128
26055 Soda Springs Road
Arbios Cellars / Praxis – Locals Tasting Room
21023 Geyserville Avenue
2201 Westside Road
3339 Hartman Road
Bodega Rancho Cellar Door
3625 Main Street
2064 Gravenstein Hwy N.
24737 Highway 121
6725 Enterprise Road
Dark Horse – Locals Tasting Room
21023 Geyserville Avenue
2001 Highway 128
Eric Kent Wine Cellars
1014 Hopper Avenue
12707 Old Redwood Highway
Francis Ford Coppola Winery
300 Via Archimedes
Freeman Vineyards & Winery
1300 Montgomery Road
Frostwatch Vineyard & Winery
5560 Bennet Valley Road
Hans Fahden Vineyards
4855 Petrified Forest Road
23120 Burndale Road
Hook & Ladder Vineyards & Winery
2134 Olivet Road
J. Lynne Wines
J. Rickards Winery
24505 Chianti Road
Jacuzzi Family Vineyards
24724 Arnold Drive
Korbel Champagne Cellars
13250 River Road
788 Gold Ridge Road
11466 Dunbar Road
9015 Westside Road
Martin Ray Winery
2191 Laguna Road
2859 Dry Creek Road
21015 Geyserville Avenue
Merry Edwards Winery
2959 Gravenstein Hwy N
Mojon’s Bench Wines
2355 West Dry Creek Road
Old World Winery
850 River Road
Paul Hobbs Winery
3355 Gravenstein Hwy. N. (Hwy. 116)
1220 Canyon Road
Pellegrini Family Vineyards & Winery
4055 W. Olivet Road
Pendleton Estate Vineyards & Winery
35100 Highway 128
4791 Dry Creek Road
107 North Street
Ramazzotti Vineyards – Locals Tasting Room
21023 Geyserville Avenue
Rancho Zabaco Winery
3387 Dry Creek Road
Raymond Burr Vineyards
8339 West Dry Creek Road
Richard’s Grove & Saralee’s Vineyard, Inc.
3575 Slusser Road
Ridge Vineyards Lytton Springs
650 Lytton Springs Road
7010 Petersen Road
Rochioli Vineyard & Winery
6192 Westside Road
2900 Main Street
Route 128 Vineyards & Winery
21079 Geyserville Avenue
Russian Hill Estate Winery
4525 Slusser Road
Sapphire Hill Vineyards
51 Front Street
7370 Highway 128
215 Center Street
981 Airway Court
Sonoma Cutrer Vineyards
4401 Slusser Road
4951 West Soda Rock Lane
Taft Street Winery
2030 Barlow Lane
V-Twin Vineyards/Del Fava Family Winery
134 Matheson Street
Healdsburg, CA 95448
Zichichi Family Vineyard
8626 West Dry Creek Road
After a busy day of wine tasting and exploring Sonoma County’s natural wonders, take some time to treat yourself to some Sonoma sparkling. No, not wine – beer.
Microbreweries, brew pubs, taverns, and bars have more than national brands on tap. From locally made golden pale ales to double IPAs, here you’ll find local beers take center stage. Beer tasting is best done in a tavern setting. What better way to enjoy the suds than with some hearty pub grub.
Russian River Brewing Company, Santa Rosa
Pliny the Elder, Blind Pig and Damnation. It may sound like the father from the famous Christmas Story movie is swearing at his furnace again, but actually, these are the creative names of just a few of this pub’s private label beers.
You can see the actual brew tanks in the cellar next to the bar, and the full, Italian-inspired, beer-paired menu makes lingering even more delicious. Stay for the live music, and sample as many beers as you like from the chalkboard list of dozens of frequently changing, seasonally inspired small-batch suds – it’s easy since two-ounce samples of any beer can be tasted for 50 to 75 cents.
Details: 725 Fourth St., Santa Rosa, 707-545-2337, www.russianriverbrewing.com.
3rd Street Aleworks
More than just a brewery or restaurant, Third Street Aleworks is a local hub-a “Pub” in the best sense of the word: a place where everyone from beer aficionados, to blind daters, to busy families with hungry kids can feel comfortable and immediately welcome.
610 Third St. Santa Rosa, CA 95404- Phone: 707-523-3060–www.thirdstreetaleworks.com
Located in Coddingtown Mall this larger chain restaurant has an extensive menu selection as well as a vast variety of beer styles that the world has to offer — from the delicate balance of German Kolsch to the robust intensity of Russian Imperial Stout.
334 Coddingtown Center
Santa Rosa, CA 95401
Hopmonk Tavern, Sebastopol and Sonoma
The original Sebastopol spot is housed within a rustic 105-year-old stone and timber tavern complete with a beer garden and live music stage. The Sonoma location features an acoustic band shell for music, too.
The concept is gloriously uncomplicated: owner and brew guru Dean Biersch (formerly of the Gordon Biersch empire) sends out artisan beers and eclectic menu of beer-recipe foods. Eats are a step up from the ordinary, ranging from curry samosas, to a drop dead succulent Reuben, to fresh-made fish-n-chips. Did we mention beers? Try at least half-a-dozen choices on tap, or select from a Beer Bible boasting more than 75 bottled options.
Details: 230 Petaluma Ave., Sebastopol, 707-829-7300; or 691 Broadway, Sonoma, 707-935-9100, www.hopmonk.com.
Barley and Hops Tavern, Occidental
The focus is on great beers like local favorites Pliny, and Death and Taxes, plus an array of boutique drafts. Owned by beer-lover Noah Bolmer, the restaurant serves gentrified pub grub to go with those suds, such as slow-cooked beef Bourguignon, savory German blaukraut and sausage, and ahi over creamy grits.
There’s more: later this year, Bolmer plans to open Warped Brewing Company, a fully functioning brewery inside the Barlow of Sebastopol, so he can craft his own signature beers.
Details: 3688 Bohemian Hwy., Occidental, 707-874-9037, www.barleynhops.com
Lagunitas Taproom and Beer Sanctuary, Petaluma
Lagunitas Brewery doesn’t take itself too seriously, and Sonoma County is all the better because of it. The legendary craft brewery is as famous for its IPAs as it is for the whimsical ramblings on their seasonal releases. Undercover Shutdown Ale? Yup- the story is almost as good as the beer.
The Taproom and Beer Sanctuary are a good place to check out their beers (both year-round varieties as well as seasonal and seemingly ad-hoc ones) and get a tour. Bands play and there is even a Beer Circus. It has to be seen to be believed.
Details: 1280 N. McDowell Boulevard, Petaluma, 707-778-8776, http://lagunitas.com/taproom/
Dempsey’s Restaurant & Brewery
For more than two decades, the locals have celebrated the bold flavors and robust beers of this friendly pub. It’s Sonoma County’s oldest brewery, and the fans come for signatures like Golden Ale, Mountain Wheat, Irish Ale, and a Red Rooster Ale imbued with notes of caramel and flowers. Food is beer-friendly as well, in staples like messy burgers, pizzas, and pulled pork sandwiches.
Details: 50 E. Washington Street, Petaluma, 707-765-9694, www.dempseys.com.
Located in the heart of Wine Country, on the corner of Healdsburg’s historic downtown square, Bear Republic Brewing Company offers award-winning food and world class, handcrafted ales. Established in 1995 by third and fourth generation Sonoma County residents, the Norgrove family invites you to come and discover their diverse menu, family friendly atmosphere and more than 14 freshly brewed beers on tap.
345 Healdsburg Ave
Healdsburg, CA 95448
Train Town is known as “the most well-developed scale railroad in the Americas” and is an adventure for all ages. It features a miniature steam railway that winds its way through 10 acres filled with more than 7,000 trees and a 50-foot clock tower.
Your journey will take you over five bridges and trestles, through two tunnels to the hamlet of Lakeview where the scale is three inches to the foot. Train Town includes three full-sized cabooses, dating from the 1930s and ’40s to explore at your leisure. Children will also enjoy a petting zoo and vintage amusement rides including a carousel and a 46-foot fully restored Ferris wheel.
20264 Broadway, Sonoma
African safari in Wine Country? African safari on a budget? Yes. Bring the whole family to experience the Serengeti in the hills of Santa Rosa at the unique 400-acre Safari West Wildlife Preserve & African Tent Camp in the heart of Sonoma County.
From open-air authentic safari vehicles you will view hundreds of exotic animals, including cheetahs, zebra, antelope, and giraffes. The wildlife park is designed to give the animals the ability to interact and roam about freely, and give visitors a once in a life time experience – a wine country safari. Eat at Delilah’s snack shop or at the Savannah Cafe.
Safari West also offers overnight luxury “camping” in raised tented rooms – a unique opportunity to see the stars and listen to the night sounds of Africa.
3115 Porter Creek Road, Santa Rosa
Mrs. Grossman’s Sticker Factory is the oldest and largest sticker company in the United States. The factory tours are free and you’re invited to watch as millions of stickers get printed, packaged, and shipped right before your eyes. You will see the sticker museum, a gift shop, and a class where you’ll decorate your own postcard using Mrs. Grossman’s stickers. This is a place your kids won’t want to miss. Reservations for tours are required.
3810 Cypress Drive, Petaluma
Candy and Kites specializes in kites, windsocks, flags, books, air toys, and beach toys, and also carries 80 gourmet flavors of salt water taffy. You’ll find just about every type of kite available including stunt, traction, and single line.
Candy and Kites
1415 Coast Highway 1, Bodega Bay
At Scandia Family Fun Center you will find a fantasy land which includes two 18-hole miniature golf courses with tiny buildings, bridges, and waterways. Also featured are 18 batting cages with slow pitch, fast pitch, and 40mph to 80mph machines.
Another unique offering for the whole family are the bumper boats equipped with water sprayers: a great way to cool off on a warm day. And don’t forget to stop by the Lil’ Indy Raceway with a track designed to give you the feeling of actually racing along its straight track and banked turns. There are both single and double cars, so all ages can enjoy the race.
5301 Redwood Drive, Rohnert Park
Driven Raceway, for older kids and adults, is a way to satisfy your need for speed in a safe environment. Driven Raceway is Sonoma County’s premiere indoor kart racing and family entertainment facility. Come experience European-style racing with the most sophisticated and high-speed electric karts available today.
Competition electric karts are fine tuned machines that have superb cornering and quicker acceleration than gas powered karts. The race karts are not only emission free, and environmentally friendly, they are extremely safe with staff having electronic control to slow down or even stop the karts (individually or all of them) at any time to ensure that all racers remain safe at all times. Driven also includes an arcade and party rooms.
4601 Redwood Drive
Rohnert Park, CA 94928
Double Decker Lanes, family owned and operated since 1975, is located next to the Foxtail Golf Resort in Rohnert Park. The bowling center is the largest and most modern in the North Bay, featuring 50 state-of-the-art lanes with bumpers and automatic scoring.
We have a full-service lounge and sports bar with big-screen TVs, a snack bar serving everything from delicious burgers to fresh pizza, a banquet/meeting room available for all events, and a video arcade with the coolest games – complete with pool tables. The center also has the “Classic Sports” Elite Pro Shop for all your bowling equipment, accessories, and lessons. The shop is able to handle screen printing, embroidery, trophies, executive gifts, and awards.
300 Golf Course Drive
Rohnert Park, CA 94928
707-585-0226, Pro Shop 707-588-8011
A great time for families, Cal Skate is a recreational center offering roller-skating, roller blading, and inline skate rentals and sales. The center offers various programs and special sessions, and also hosts birthday parties, fund raisers, and special events for schools, scouts, and clubs. It also has roller skating classes, adult morning skate and speed skating.
Its pro shop offers sales and repair services, skates, supplies, parts, specialty items and special orders. It staffs skate floor supervisors and party host managers to serve its clients. It also offers a full-service snack bar.
6100 Commerce Blvd.
Rohnert Park, CA 94928
Cal Skate and Roller Rink; and much more. It’s sure to put a smile on the face of any kid – even teens and tweens.
Find the ghoul factor that appeal to boys and girls of all ages – California Carnivores.It isn’t just science fiction. Hundreds of carnivorous plants have adapted and evolved into this interesting plant group that lures, traps, and then devours insects. Carnivorous plants grow naturally in swampy areas around the world where the water that is constantly running over and below the ground washes the nutrients away in the soil. In order to get those missing nutrients, the plants have adapted to trap and consume insects.
Since 1989, California Carnivores have grown and sold the widest variety of carnivorous plants in the United States. Venus flytraps, American pitcher plants, sundews, butterworts, bladderworts, tropical pitcher plants and others – all commercially cultivated for either the curious beginner or the discriminating collector.
Operated by Peter D’Amato – author of the award-winning book “The Savage Garden: Cultivating Carnivorous Plants” – California Carnivores houses the largest collection of carnivorous plants in the world open to the public, and sells plants at the nursery and through mail-order.
2833 Old Gravenstein Highway
Sebastopol, CA 95472
EXPERIENCE FARM LIFE
Farming is the heart of Sonoma County. Families can pick up a free Sonoma County Farm Trails map at most of the visitor centers and hit the road to explore a variety of working farms. You will experience life-on-the-farm with sheep, llamas, honeybees and butterflies, pet bunnies, taste cheese, see demonstrations, milk a cow, or see baby lambs being born. Or you can buy organic fruits, vegetables, plants and trees direct from the farmers. Seasonal trips to pumpkin patches, corn mazes, and Christmas tree farms include hayrides, haunted houses, animal petting, and more.
P.O. Box 6032, Santa Rosa
See California’s most beautiful landscapes from the back of a horse as you tour with Triple Creek Horse Outfit through Kunde Family Estate Winery in Kenwood, in Sonoma’s Valley of the Moon. Open year-round, weather permitting, and closed on Tuesdays, the rides take place on the 1,850 acre Kunde ranch – 700 acres planted with 20 varieties of premium wine grapes – family owned and operated for more than a century.
Small group, guided tours on lovingly cared for and gentle horses will take you through meadows, through wooded areas, and over creeks. Some trails encompass hilltop views of vineyards and Native American and early California sites.
The Armstrong Woods Pack Station offers horseback adventures through the beautiful giant redwood forest trails. You will see some of the tallest and oldest trees remaining in this part of California. The Parson Jones Tree is about 310 feet high; the Colonel Armstrong Tree is more than 1,400 years old. Trail rides include panoramic stops along the way for rest or lunch and instruction on well-trained quarter horses.
Armstrong Redwoods, Guerneville
The Chanslor Guest Ranch and Stables is a working ranch with horses, cattle and sheep grazing on the hillsides. Choose from a variety of horseback rides either on the ranch trails or on trails along the beach in the adjoining Sonoma Coast State Park. The coastal views are magnificent. The ranch also offers six guest rooms for overnight stays and serves a fantastic continental breakfast.
2660 Highway 1, Bodega Bay
The family-friendly Horse N Around Trail Rides along Highway 1 near Bodega Bay offers three different experiences in all, the 30-minute excursion that circles the ranch’s duck pond and the 60-minute Eucalyptus Trail outing where visitors amble through most of the 60-acre property. The final and most spectacular optioin is the “Donation Beach Ride,” a 90-minute trek along the coast from the dunes of Bodega Bay to the South Salmon Creek Beach. Every penny of the ride ($125 per person weekdays; $150 per person weekends) supports Hoof Beats of America Horse Rescue, a non-profit also located on-site. This non-profit arm rescues horses that have been neglected, abused, abandoned or destined for slaughter. Many of the horses used for this ride actually are rescue horses themselves.
16702 Coast Highway 1
SkyHorse Ranch is a 190-acre coastal California wonderland located in the beautiful rolling hills of Valley Ford, overlooking the Estero De Americano. You can enjoy the panoramic views, pastoral spirit, and abundant wildlife within a stone’s throw of fine dining, wine tasting, bicycling, fishing, golfing, kayaking, bird watching, nature hikes, beach walks and much more. It is also renowned for its historic part in Christo’s Running Fence. Christo’s Running Fence, designed and built between 1972 and 1976 was an incredible work of art, a white fence 24 miles long and 18 feet high, that ran from Petaluma right through SkyHorse Ranch, disappearing into the ocean. SkyHorse is about much more than just the Ranch. SkyHorse represents a philosophy and “a way of being” that is focused on creating possibility out of complexity, and moving into the world with clear intention and authentic expression.
SkyHorse Ranch EGEA
13950 Hwy 1
Valley Ford, CA
You can enjoy some of the best and most diverse horseback riding in Northern California at Wildfire Stables, Bodega Bay. The broad range of riding activities includes lessons, open range rides for experienced riders, ocean view rides, trail rides, and of course, our romantic Sunset Ride.
2660 N Highway 1
Bodega Bay, CA
The Pacific Coast Air Museum displays historic aircraft and features antique World War II planes. The museum’s mission is to preserve aviation history and educate children. “Climb Aboard” special events occur throughout the year.
2330 Airport Blvd., Santa Rosa
The two-story Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center is dedicated to Peanuts cartoons creator, Charles Schulz, his life, career and art. Walk along the gallery of comic strips or stop in the theater for a showing of a Peanuts TV show. Kids can stretch their imaginations in the education room with a mini library of cartooning instruction books, drawing tables, writing and art supplies. Next to the museum are the Snoopy Home Ice, an ice skating arena, and the Warm Puppy Café. Be sure to stop in for a grilled cheese or tuna sandwich. (Mr. Schulz’ favorite.) Throughout the City of Santa Rosa, you will find Peanuts on Parade: 150 five-foot tall, uniquely painted statues of “Joe Cool” Snoopy, Charlie Brown and Woodstock.
2301 Hardies Lane, Santa Rosa
The Sonoma County Museum celebrates and interprets the region’s rich history, art, and culture through exhibits and collections. Visitors are inspired by the dynamic collections. Exhibits include an education area with hands-on exhibits and other relevant materials. The museum also hosts “free family days” and community events in connection with many of its exhibits.
425 7th Street
Santa Rosa, CA 95401
Sonoma State Historic Park is made up of a number of National Historic Landmark sites and buildings in Sonoma which include the Plaza, the Sonoma Barracks, and the home of the Mexican commandante, General Vallejo. It includes the Mission San Francisco Solano de Sonoma, popularly called the Sonoma Mission, the last and most northern of California’s 21 missions which was built in 1823 and marked the end of “The King’s Highway,” El Camino Real. For 25 days in 1846, Sonoma was capital of the independent Republic of California. The Bear Flag Revolt started events that resulted later in the first California flag and American rule throughout the State.
363 3rd Street, West, Sonoma
Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park is a huge old adobe ranch building with authentic furniture and exhibits that depict early rancho life. It served as the center of General Vallejo’s 66,000-acre ranch and was the largest private hacienda in California between 1834 and 1846. The adobe home was the center of activity on one of the most prosperous private estates established during the Mexican period.
3325 Adobe Road, Petaluma
HIKES & WALKS
The Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve is a huge state park of California redwood trees native to the central and northern coast. A trek through this ancient redwood forest is an experience you and your kids won’t forget. The coast redwood is the tallest living thing on our planet and lives to be 500-1,000 years old, grows to a diameter of 12-16 feet, and stands from 200-250 feet tall. The Reserve includes a visitor center, large outdoor amphitheater, self-guided nature trails, and a variety of picnic spots. The park features strolls along easy, level trails that are disability accessible. While you can drive into the park, the best way to experience the dramatic affect of the towering redwoods is to park in the lot at the park entrance and walk in for free.
170000 Armstrong Woods Road, Guerneville
The 350-acre Spring Lake Regional Park offers an amazing diversity of activities for families. It’s home to the Environmental Discovery Center, which offers interactive displays and activities geared to kids 6-12. The Center’s “Science Saturdays” – the first Saturday of each month at 1, 2 and 3 p.m. – lets the whole family join in on fun science experiments. Family hikes take place with Center naturalists on the third Saturday of each month at 1 and 3 p.m. Much of the happenings here are centered around the72-acre Spring Lake including boating, fishing, and swimming.
391 Violetti Drive, Santa Rosa
Annadel State Park near Santa Rosa has 5,000 acres of rolling hills, streams, woodlands, and wildflower meadows. Hikers, equestrians, mountain bicyclists, runners and nature lovers can choose from over 40 miles of trails. Lake Ilsanjo and the nearby Spring Lake Regional Park offer fishing, swimming, boating and camping.
The Wells Fargo Center for the Arts Family Live Theater Show Series features world-class performances designed for kids ages 3-12 and their families … where music, comedy, dance and drama entertain all ages.
50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa
The Sonoma Country Repertory Theater presents “Theatre for Young Audiences,” offering an annual season of three productions geared for children and their families.
104 North Main, Sebastopol
Sonoma County offers biking trails designed for the entire family to enjoy. The Joe Rodota Trail is paved and runs between Santa Rosa and Sebastopol. It’s built on a former railroad right-of-way; several bridges have been constructed over the old trestles. The trail is especially popular in the spring with the vivid blooming of the wildflowers. It is an excellent place for bird watching year-round.
The West County Trail between the towns of Sebastopol and Forestville is a paved path and relatively flat with a few gentle climbs. An unpaved horseback riding trail runs parallel. The West County Trail and the Joe Rodota Trail offer beautiful farm and agricultural views.
For help with biking tours and plans, contact:
Getaway Adventures & Rentals
2228 Northpoint Parkway, Santa Rosa
If you’re looking for an adrenaline-pumping experience, check out Infineon Raceway where the Jim Russell Racing School has a full range of racing and karting options designed for experienced veterans as well as beginners. The school is one of the first to offer karting programs for children as young as eight years old, giving them the unforgettable fun and excitement of driving or racing a kart!
29305 Arnold Drive, Sonoma
Enjoy this unique course that features a zipline more than 800 feet long. Walk sky bridges high in the air. Marvel at panoramic forest views and deep ravines. Discover the world-famous California Coastal Redwoods in a way you never imagined. Sonoma Canopy Tours. It’s high adventure that’s green, family-friendly and educational.
6250 Bohemian Highway
Occidental, CA 95465
Take a flight back in time in a restored vintage aircraft flight over the vineyards, hills and coast of Sonoma Country. Climb aboard a 1942 WWII open cockpit bi-plane with a Vintage Aircraft Company pilot for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
23982 Arnold Drive, Sonoma
Float 500 to 1500 feet above the beautiful sights below in a hot air balloon without perception of motion or height. Above the Wine Country Ballooning flights begin just after dawn when the winds are soft and gentle offering the best views and delightful experience for the whole family.
397 Aviation Blvd., Santa Rosa
In Spring 2011, Up & Away Ballooning became the first hot air balloon operator in the United States to offer wheelchair-confined adventurers the opportunity to soar above the magnificent hills and vineyards of the Sonoma County Wine County. The special basket with a lowered rail, easy access ramp and window makes it possible for the seated passenger to enjoy more than180-degree visibility. The basket is only the fourth of its kind in the world.
2200 Airport Blvd.
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
707-836 – 0171
COASTAL AND WATER ACTIVITIES
Sonoma County’s Pacific Coastline, with more than ten miles of beaches, reefs, coves, tide pools, and headlands is a great family destination. It provides ideal spots for dune hiking, horseback riding, tide pooling, camping, and family picnicking. One of the most popular activities along the coast is whale watching as well as bird, seal, and otter watching. Bodega Head is one of the best whale-watching sites on the North Coast, and year-round home to many kinds of seabirds. The southern migration of the gray whale is from October to February; the northern leg generally occurs from February to April. One of the the best family friendly beaches on the Sonoma Coast is Doran Beach in Bodega Bay.
Sonoma Coast Visitors Center
850 Highway 1, Bodega Bay
The Russian River area and its towns offer old-fashioned as well as modern charm and a host of great ways to explore the River. Kayaking, Canoeing, Boating, Fishing, Swimming are popular activities at the River.
Russian River Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center
16209 First Street, Guerneville
The Petaluma River is an estuary linked to the San Francisco Bay and has been named as one of the top ten Bay Area leisure boating destinations by Latitude 38 magazine. It offers fishing and a variety of other leisure and recreational activities. Boaters from the Bay Area can stay in the Turning Basin harbor right in the heart of historic Downtown Petaluma and the scenic River Walk area.
Petaluma Visitor Center
210 Lakeville Street, Hwy. 116, Petaluma
Lake Sonoma has secluded coves for the quiet boater or angler (the lake is stocked), while water-skiing and jet skis are allowed in other designated areas. Facilities include boat and canoe rentals, a public boat ramp, full-service marina, swimming, a visitor center and a fish hatchery.
Lake Sonoma Visitors Center and Fish Hatchery
3333 Skaggs Springs Road, Geyserville
Enjoy the sun and the beauty of the Sonoma Valley at Morton Warm Springs Resort nestled among 20 acres of spreading oaks and large open meadows. Originally a campground for the Wappo Indians, Morton’s is steeped in history, beauty and tradition, and is long known for its healthy geothermal mineral pools and picnic areas. The diving pool, swimming pool and a baby wading pool are all flushed and refreshed nightly with pure and natural sand-filtered artesian spring water. Bring a picnic and the kids for a fun-filled day. Open seasonally.
Morton Warm Springs Resort
1651 Warm Springs Road, Glen Ellen
Sonoma County invites artistic endeavor; and it has the perfect stage for each expression. Sonoma Wine Country’s top performing arts centers and theaters include the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts in Santa Rosa, Spreckels Performing Arts Center in Rohnert Park, Green Music Center at Sonoma State University, Cinnabar Theater in Petaluma, Main Stage West in Sebastopol, Heritage Music Theatre in Petaluma, Occidental Center for the Arts, and Cloverdale Performing Arts Center.
Cloverdale Performing Arts Center
201 Commercial Street
Gualala Arts Center
46501 Gualala Road
Pegasus Theater Company
14520 Armstrong Woods Road
4444 Wood Road
Occidental Center for the Arts
4008 Bohemian Highway
Redwood Arts Council
P. O. Box 449
3333 Petaluma Blvd. North
Heritage Music Theatre
3333 Petaluma Blvd. N.
201 Washington Street
Green Music Center at Sonoma State University
1801 E. Cotati Avenue
Sonoma State University Center for Performing Arts
1801 E. Cotati Avenue
Sonoma State University Center for Performing Arts
1801 E. Cotati Avenue
Spreckels Performing Arts Center
5409 Snyder Lane
6th Street Playhouse
52 W. 6th Street
Arts Council of Sonoma County
404 Mendocino Ave.
Santa Rosa Symphony
50 Santa Rosa Avenue
Wells Fargo Center for the Arts
50 Mark West Springs Road
Main Stage West
104 N. Main