As it’s a cold and dreary January day outside, I thought I’d continue the posts about our California road trip, just to daydream a little!
After San Francisco, we headed North to the Sonoma Valley. We chose to stay near Santa Rosa, which is centrally situated for what we wanted to do, plus it was cheaper than a lot of options in the area. Quaint little towns and villages in this area offered some lovely guest houses but as it was Labor Day Weekend, the prices soared!
We stayed at the Double Tree Rohnert Park, a hotel I already knew well from family trips and is a familiar and comfy place to stay. From this base, we visited some local wineries, but mainly enjoyed the scenery. There were some beautiful views of the vineyards set over gentle, rolling hills. We visited (well, the outside as it turned out it was closed!) Paradise Ridge Winery. It’s a shame it was closed as the view was so idyllic, I could have happily sat there hours!
On our second day, before heading South, we took a scenic drive as suggested in our trusty guidebook (Lonely Planet, Coastal California) starting in tiny Occidental. The centre of Occidental was so tiny, we went straight through it before realising that was actually it! We headed from here, to the coast. We passed through dark forest for quite a while before the trees opened up and we were met with a spectacular view of the Sonoma coastline shrouded in morning fog. It was like driving through the clouds!
When we reached the coast it was still pretty foggy, but it had started to lift. The beach was a little chilly for my liking but families were heading out for a day at the beach.
We decided to go back inland and visit Oxbow Public Market in downtown Napa. It was fun to visit, though not exactly what I was expecting. It was indoors and full of delicious food of course, but it was much smaller than I’d imagined. We munched on Venezuelan corn bread sandwiches which were full of flavour, though maybe a little rich.
After two sun soaked days in Sonoma it was time to hit the road again. South, direction; the beautiful Central Coast…