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Overview

The charming town of Sonoma is steeped in California's early history, centered on a plaza surrounded by bed-and-breakfast inns and the largest collection of Mexican-era adobes in California. Sonoma is an excellent base for exploring the valley's wine country. Most wineries welcome visitors, including Buena Vista Winery - the oldest winery in California. In spring, the fields are carpeted in bright yellow mustard; in fall, the vines are liveried in maroon and gold and the air is heady with the aroma of fermenting wines. Boat trips up the Petaluma River lead to the town of Petaluma, where the 1834 headquarters of General Vallejo - California's ...

The charming town of Sonoma is steeped in California's early history, centered on a plaza surrounded by bed-and-breakfast inns and the largest collection of Mexican-era adobes in California. Sonoma is an excellent base for exploring the valley's wine country. Most wineries welcome visitors, including Buena Vista Winery - the oldest winery in California. In spring, the fields are carpeted in bright yellow mustard; in fall, the vines are liveried in maroon and gold and the air is heady with the aroma of fermenting wines. Boat trips up the Petaluma River lead to the town of Petaluma, where the 1834 headquarters of General Vallejo - California's largest adobe structure - is found in Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park. Highway 101 leads north through Santa Rosa and the Luther Burbank Memorial Home and Gardens. Jack London State Historic Park, in the hills above Glen Ellen, preserves the cottage where author Jack London wrote many of his novels. Northward, you won't want to miss the sylvan Russian River, a setting for the Russian River Jazz Festival and for a 12-mile cluster of bed-and-breakfast resorts. Nearby, Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve, north of the resort town of Guerneville, is ideal for camping.

Christopher Baker
About the Expert

Christopher P. Baker has authored guidebooks to Costa Rica, California, and various Caribbean islands for Frommer's, Lonely Planet, and National Geographic, among others.

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Christopher Baker for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: North of San Francisco, with an historic town plaza, a remnant of the town's Mexican colonial past. Today, Sonoma is a center of the state's wine industry.
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall
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Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    September and October are best, during the grape harvest. Winter is least crowded.