• Photo: Billy Carmen / Shutterstock

Sebastopol

A stroll through downtown Sebastopol—a town formerly known more for Gravenstein apples than for grapes but these days a burgeoning wine hub—reveals glimpses of the distant and recent past and perhaps the future, too. Before entering the district of browsable, if mostly modest, shops, you may notice a sign declaring Sebastopol a "Nuclear Free Zone." Many hippies settled here in the 1960s and 70s and, as the old Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young song goes, they taught their children well: the town remains steadfastly, if not entirely, countercultural. (Those hankering for a 1960s flashback can truck on over to Main Street's Grateful Bagel, complete with Grateful Dead logo.)

Sebastopol has long had good, if somewhat low-profile, wineries, among them Iron Horse, Lynmar Estate, and Merry Edwards. With the replacement in 2016 of the town's beloved Fosters Freeze location with a vaguely industrial-chic venue for California coastal cuisine and the continuing evolution of the cluster of artisanal producers at the Barlow, the site of a former apple-processing plant, the town may be poised for a Healdsburg-style transformation. Then again, maybe not—stay tuned (in, not out).

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