Our experiences

Planning family gatherings

Sonoma County vineyards

Soon after moving to Santa Rosa, we started planning family gatherings and reunions. One side of our family had organized reunions in Colorado, The Netherlands, and Texas. Now, the family thought, Sonoma would be an excellent venue.

Planning a larger reunion brought out the benefits of living in the Wine Country. People needed a place to sleep. It turned out, short term rentals were available at Bodega Bay. Our house could accommodate about ten people. Some members came with tents and planned to stay at Sonoma Coast State Park, a couple miles north of Bodega Bay and about 40 minutes from our house. Those campgrounds have direct access to a huge sandy beach that stretches as far as the eye can see (with an occasional whale blowing steam). My wife and I enterd that same beach once a week via the free Salmon Creek beach, which is just a couple miles north. Doran Beach, just south of Bodega Bay, also features an extensive, lightly used, beach. Of course, Bodega Bay is a fishing town and fish can be bought right off the boat in the morning.

Bodega Bay

Our proposed family itinerary followed our own trips’ notable sites: the Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve with its massive Redwood trees, Goat Rock at the mouth of the Russian River where sea lions habitate, Bodega Bay where Hitchcock’s The Birds was filmed, the Korbel winery learning about its historic vineyards and, then having lunch there (the only champagne region in the US with the right to market its product as Champagne).

Having lunch at a winery, such as Korbel, has always been one of our favorite outings. Where can one bring a picnic basket with wonderful fresh lunch comestibles, allowed by most wineries, and purchase a couple bottles of the world’s best wines? A great lunch for eight people for sixty dollars? With over two hundred wineries (and numerous craft beer breweries), Sonoma is an entertainer’s wonderland.

It is also a place for physical activity. Spring Lake, within walking distance from our house, is a delight to wonder around in, or to row a boat. For hiking trails, mountain biking, and trail riding, Trione-Annadel State Park (within 5 minutes from our house) is the place to go. In all, Sonoma County Regional Parks includes more than fifty parks and beaches from Petaluma to Gualala and Sonoma to Bodega Bay. Many offer wild landscapes and miles of trails. In addition, Sonoma County contains eleven California State Parks. The attractive cities of Guerneville, Sebastopol, Santa Rosa, Healdsburg, and Sonoma, all are no more than a half hour from 5405 Spain Ave.

Fog rolling over the trees in Guerneville