Historically, the city of Sonoma boasts a long list of impressive facts. Not only was it originally inhabited by the native Miwok, Pomo and Wintun Indian tribes, but it was also the location of the northernmost California Mission, Mission San Francisco Solano. Currently Sonoma still plays a significant role in the establishment of modern history as well. Among many things, its fine wine is responsible for the city being voted the number one wine destination in the United States and number two worldwide. Whether you are in the mood to taste one of the many vintages that the various Sonoma wineries have to offer, take in some history, or just spend a slow day relaxing and enjoying a beautiful setting, Sonoma is the place for you.
Here is my list of the top five attractions to visit during your stay in the small town of Sonoma:
#1: Cline Cellars
Whether you are in the mood to taste some wine, looking for a beautiful destination for a wedding ceremony, want to attend an outdoor Easter Sunrise vigil, or desire to relax and stroll the grounds of a beautiful piece of property – Cline Cellars is the place for you. This winery not only ages and bottles over 40 different types of wine, it also has an on site California Mission Museum (open from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm) which houses the complete collection of California Mission Models that were originally debuted at the World Fair at Treasure Island in 1939. Aside from the many activities that Cline Cellars has to offer, it has many characteristics that are entirely unique to this winery alone. The property of Cline Cellars was the original site of the Mission San Francisco Solano; because of this the land is considered consecrated and has the official permission of the Catholic Church to conduct religious ceremonies on the property of Cline Cellars. Sticking to their mission roots, the owners of Cline Cellars thought it would be important to bring a sense of their winery’s religious connection to the modern day setting. How did they do this, you ask? They brought two donkeys to their property, Fancy and Pudding. Although it seems a little random, the donkeys were an imperative part to the establishment of the California Missions due to their role as the Padre’s packing animals. All around, Cline Cellars brings together Sonoma’s special past and its thriving present in a way that can help you learn and enjoy. To tour and taste wines at Cline Cellars, there is no need to make an appointment, just stop by anytime between 10:00 am and 6:00pm, excluding Thanksgiving, New Years and Christmas Day.
#2: Sonoma Cheese Factory
At the Sonoma Cheese Factory you can find much more than just cheese. Whether you are in the mood for some traditional Italian Gelato, fresh deli meats and baked bread, or just want to taste an array of unique cheeses, Sonoma Cheese Factory has got you covered! Here you can find unique varieties of Jack Cheese that integrate flavors such as Habanero, Pepper, Garlic, Pesto and even Lavender! For a delicious time, this is one destination that you cannot pass up. It is open from 8:00am to 5:30pm seven days a week and it is located on Spain Street.
#3: Basque Cafe Boulangerie
If you are ever looking to escape the hectic pace of everyday life and transport yourself to a relaxing Parisian-eqsue Cafe, this is the place for you. Not only do they offer an array of freshly baked, award winning breads, but they also have a full coffee bar and an all day bistro lunch. To grab a delicious croissant, or a roasted pork sandwich with balsamic onion confit you can visit the Basque Cafe Boulangerie and sit at one of their quaint outside tables any day of the week between 7:00am and 6:00pm.
#4: Mission San Francisco
The Sonoma Mission is located in Sonoma State Historical park. Here you can take a tour around the mission, admire beautiful Spanish architecture, or see paintings and read the interesting history of the establishment of the California Missions. While at the mission you have the freedom to explore at your own pace and admire a more historical part of what makes Sonoma so diverse and exquisite. If you plan to visit Mission San Francisco as a group, you will need to make an appointment by calling (707) 939-6188. The hours of operation are 10:00am to 5:00pm, Tuesday through Sunday.
#5: Centre du Vin
Centre du Vin plays many roles to the community of Sonoma, California. These roles include a restaurant, a hotel, and even a bar. When you are here you can truly relax and waste the day away in elegance and charm. This destination also doubles as venue for lively music acts that make the night come alive and entertain many of the Sonoma locals. The prices of the hotel rooms at Centre du Vin range from $350 to $395 a night with a minimum stay of 2 nights. To make a reservation, call (707)996-9779.
So there you have it! Five diverse destinations all located within Sonoma California that will make your visit not only a pleasure but a lasting memory you will never forget!