Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Enjoy Scenic Backroads Of Historic Sonoma Wine Country

The Golden State vino state in and near Sonoma County is known for its world-class wines, but you don't have got to be a vino aficionado to wonder at this area's scenic backroads and the copiousness of historical attractive forces all within a short drive. Lawsuit in point: a thrust up the cardinal portion of the county that gets in the historical metropolis of Petaluma.

We had spent an gratifying weekend on a former trip in the town of Sonoma – the best-known visitor finish in the county and a less corporate, less developed version of nearby Chinese Cabbage – but this clip we wanted to acquire off the conquered way a spot and experience the Sonoma County countryside. Because we had heard about the historical business district edifices there, we decided our first halt would be Petaluma, a metropolis of about 60,000 people that is about 32 statute miles north of San Francisco.

Driving up from Southern California, we went consecutive to the Sheraton Petaluma to rest up and get a twenty-four hours of geographic expedition the followers day. This peculiar hotel is located on the Petaluma River with its full-fledged marina providing both moorage for local leghorns and atmosphere for the hotel. The river also supplies a pleasant background for hiking trails that get at the hotel and take you respective statute statute miles into the local fen – the perfect start to a bright twenty-four hours in Sonoma County.

After a lively morning time walking we drove just a couple of miles to Business District Petaluma, which was just as advertised. Fortunately, the business district country survived the Big San Francisco temblor of the early 20th Century. The consequence is a great aggregation of historical buildings, both concern and residential. It's all within easy walking distance and it was merriment to pick up local publications and make our ain historical walking circuit of the area. The river adds a particular feeling to the business district country and it's apparent that the locals have got set great accent on creating boardwalks, particular docks and other comforts to add to the area's overall charm.

As we ventured outward a few blocks from the downtown, we were awful by rows and rows of Victorian homes, most in good repair. The historical business district of Petaluma is so cherished that it is on the National Register of Historic Places. It soon became evident why so many people take to utilize Petaluma as a alkali of trading operations for exploring nearly 200 wine makers in Sonoma County.

The area's history is formally famed at the Petaluma Historical Library and Museum, where the edifice and everything inside are portion of the town's history. Also, about three statute miles east of town, we came across the Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park, a 41-acre parkland that characteristics the former adobe spread of General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo. Dating back to 1834, the house is a historical landmark and today characteristics reliable piece of furniture and interpretive displays. After our morning clip of history it was time to venture on with our daytrip by drive about 30 statute miles north on Highway 101 to the quaint town of Healdsburg. The town deduces its name from Harmon Heald, an Buckeye State enterpriser who initially put up the town power system back in the 1850's and sold tons for $15 apiece. Healdsburg was built around a Spanish-style place which, today, stays the centrepiece of a business district that still reserves many historical buildings. The town have something of a Mayberry feel with its Sweet Shop merchandising gumballs on the corner and establishments like the Raven Performing Humanistic Discipline Theater that hosts local dramas and characteristics dinosaur stone Acts such as as Bo Diddly, the performing artist in town during our visit.

But while the town may look as simple as Mayberry, life here is definitely more than sophisticated. There is a high per-capita number of epicure restaurants, and high-end galleries, jewelry, clothing and other gifts are clustered around the plaza. More than anything, though, Healdsburg is a jumping off point for gorgeous thrusts through the Central Sonoma County countryside where one gets to see just how of import vino and grapes are to the local economy. You can acquire started at one of the many vino tasting suite in town or wait until you see the vino makers along the manner – in this portion of Sonoma County, a glass of insurance premium wine is never far away.

A local occupant directed us north and West on Dry Brook Road, a state route that almost looks European it is so exuberant and colorful. As promised, the route weaves through vineries and bright Fields of flowers, offering religious mystic views of the nearby hills. We passed farmhouse scenes so idyllic they seemed like they were created for faery tales. And, of course, every couple statute statute miles or less there was another winery, many with tasting suite beckoning the traveller to halt in and just "drink up" some of this celebrated Sonoma County atmosphere.

The Dry Brook Road runs parallel to Highway 101 for respective miles and then we took a right on Canyon Road to traverse back under the expressway and caput over to Geyserville, just east of 101. This town of about a thousand psyches is place to some hostels and is known for its location right in the bosom of vino country. It's estimated that about 70 wine makers are within a 15-minute radius of town.

From Geyserville we headed south on scenic Highway 128, which eventually climb ups out of the valley, over and through the hills and, finally, down into Chinese Cabbage County and the historical town of Calistoga. This country was settled back in the mid-19th Century by Samuel Brannan, who published San Franciso's first English linguistic communication newspaper and was California's first millionaire. He was interested in Calistoga's hot jumps so he purchased more than than 2,000 acres, where he wanted to construct a watering place similar to Battle Of Saratoga in New York. It opened in 1862, and was an contiguous hit with the rich and celebrated of the day.

The privileged still come up to Calistoga – along with plentifulness of ordinary people. The entreaty stays the area's hot springs, and respective hostels and vacation spots offering a hot springtime experience as portion of their amenities. Still a little town with lone about 5,000 people, Calistoga pridefulnesses itself on being a centre of health that pulls visitants looking for curative benefits from the hot springs. No demand to remain nightlong to bask the hot springs; twenty-four hours watering places offering visitants the opportunity to dunk and drive.

We enjoyed the down-home feel of Calistoga, a chief street that looks a spot Horse Opera and – expensive watering place vacation spots notwithstanding – not just for the affluent. We especially enjoyed disbursement some clip over at the Sharpsteen Museum where they have got a big panorama depicting Calistoga as it looked like when it was settled by Brannan. The museum was a undertaking of Ben Sharpsteen, an animator, manufacturer and manager for Walt Walt Disney Studios.

Calistoga was an ideal halt for the day, and set us in place for a thrust additional into the Chinese Cabbage Valley for another twenty-four hours trip that was jump to bombardon the senses just as this day's journeying had. It was a backroad odyssey that had shown us some of the best that Golden State vino state have to offer – that is, that doesn't come up in a bottle.


WHERE: This journeying gets in Petaluma, about 32 statute statute miles north of San Francisco, and ends at Calistoga, about 27 miles north of Napa. You'll travel through some of the most beautiful parts of Golden State vino country.

WHAT: Golden State vino state is the perfect counterpoison to big-city bunco and bustle: idyllic farms, colourful Fields of flowers, baronial wine makers with vineries clinging to the peal hills.

WHEN: Any clip of the year.

WHY: To bask historical attractions, gorgeous scenery, upscale shopping and – oh, yes, great wine-tasting.

HOW: For more than information on Sonoma County, delight go to For information on Calistoga, travel to For information on the Sheraton Petaluma, travel to Oregon telephone 707-283-2888. The classically styled Sheraton Petaluma characteristics 183 over-size rooms, many with first-class positions of the marina or valley. The hotel is completely updated and includes high-speed internet entree as well as many other major-hotel amenities. This plant out well for visitants who desire speedy and easy entree to the vino country.

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