One of the best parts about working in Sonoma wine country is getting to hang out in this beautifully diverse corner of Northern California. Days off can be like a vacation in our own backyard. I asked a few Jordan employees to share their favorite things to do around Sonoma County. Here’s our top five list.
“On my days off, I love to take my family to Lake Sonoma for a picnic. First, stop off at the historic Dry Creek General Store for sandwiches, sides and other picnic goodies (Dry Creek Stacker sandwich is a must); you can even buy GoVino glasses or a portable picnic bag there if you’re not traveling with all the usual wine party gear. There are two Vista Points overlooking Lake Sonoma that aren’t well publicized for tourists, but well worth seeking out. For the lower vista, look for the View Point sign on your right just before crossing the Lake Sonoma bridge. For the highest vista, which has two sight-seeing decks, follow Skaggs Springs Road toward the marina and make a sharp right just before marina road and head up the winding hill. The drive to Lake Sonoma is also beautiful, meandering through Dry Creek Valley’s old-vine zinfandel vineyards.”
“Hidden away in the second level of a Healdsburg Plaza building, Akoia isn’t one of the most well- known spas in Sonoma County and definitely not the easiest to find, but that’s part of its charm. Arrive early and sip infused water while relaxing in an airy lounge overlooking the charming town square. Treat yourself to the Akoia Signature Facial and a Hot Stone Massage—both heavenly escapes. The spa uses all natural products by Arcona, one of my favorites, and also incorporates seasonal ingredients into its fruit scrubs, such as pumpkin in fall or lemon in winter. They also offer seasonal mid-week specials, private group bookings, private wine receptions and an array of pampering treatments. After an afternoon at the spa, head downstairs and shop the square.”
“I can hardly wait for summer when Healdsburg’s quaint, downtown square comes to life on Tuesday nights with live music. Droves of locals grab their blankets, bottles of wine and charcuterie and claim grassy picnic spots around a grand gazebo. You never know who you’ll run into, but it’s always fun. Tip for travelers: If you’re staying at the Hotel Healdsburg, they have the perfect picnic package that includes a blanket, two chairs and a small cooler with a bottle of local wine. You can also order food to go from Oakville Grocery or the food stands set up on the north side of the square. Get there early for a good spot! Locals start putting blankets and chairs out at 3 p.m.”
May 27-August 26, 2014, 6-8 p.m.
“When my husband and I have a rare day off together, we like to take full advantage of it right here in our own backyard. Start your day in the late morning at Bodega Bay’s Doran Beach with a hike along the sand, enjoying a few glimpses of sun peeking through the coastal fog. (Make sure to bring a jacket.) From there, drive to the town of Freestone in western Sonoma County, known mostly for its Pinot Noirs, to the new Freestone Artisan Cheese, which samples and sells sheep, cow and goat cheeses from the surrounding area. Spend the day exploring one of our quaint towns, such as Guerneville, Graton or Occidental. (Occidental has a special place in my heart because I went to grade school and got married there.) A nap will be in order in the late afternoon—at least it always is for us after a day in “West County”—so rest up before dinner at a fun restaurant in downtown Santa Rosa called Spinster Sisters. The wine list is diverse and intriguing, but you are welcome to bring a favorite bottle and pay corkage. Small plates are the specialty at this lively, hip spot—savory, global flavors from Thai-inspired grilled calamari to braised beef tongue, pork belly and the best Three Twins sundae and affogato, made with local Flying Goat coffee.”
“One of my favorite getaways—be it for a long weekend or just a day trip—is Anderson Valley, not far from Sonoma County. Just one hour north of Jordan Winery, this corner of Mendocino County is a completely different world from Sonoma wine country. The drive west on Highway 128 through the Yorkville Highlands wine region is breathtaking. A drastic elevation change and winding roads through the valley offer spectacular views. Lodging and dinner at the rustic but beautifully-appointed Boonville Hotel is a must. My favorite wineries to visit in the area are Goldeneye, Breggo, Drew and Roederer. Anderson Valley, which has temperatures much cooler than Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley, is home to world-class Pinot Noirs, cool-climate whites and gorgeous sparkling wines. Nearby Hendy Woods offers some great hiking trails and views of the Navarro River to enjoy between tastings. Even though I travel there for the wine, I always stop into the Anderson Valley Brewing Company to sample some specialty craft beers, available only at the brewery. Continuing west on Highway 128, you’ll drive through towering Coastal Redwood forests to the Pacific coast. A short drive north on Highway 1 leads to the seaside town of Mendocino, which has a Norman- Rockwell-painting feel to it. Anderson Valley and the Mendocino Coast are such a short distance from Healdsburg, but it’s almost like stepping into a time machine.”
Winery Jordan 1474 Alexander Valley Road • Healdsburg, CA 95448-9003
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