A Great Drive in Sonoma Valley
It's easy to zip through the Sonoma Valley in a day—the drive from Sonoma in the south to Kenwood in the north can be done in half an hour—but once you begin stopping at historic sites and wineries, your visit could easily be spread over two days.
Breakfast and Buena Vista
To hit the highlights, start in the town of Sonoma. Have breakfast at Sunflower Caffé, on the western edge of Sonoma Plaza, or a few blocks west of the square at Crisp Bake Shop, on West Napa Street. From your breakfast spot, head east on East Napa Street and north on Old Winery Road to reach Buena Vista Winery, the birthplace of modern California wine making. (Alternatively, for sophisticated Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs, book a tasting at Patz & Hall; to reach its hospitality center, turn south from East Napa Street onto 8th Street East.)
Wine, Food, and Wine
Enjoy your tasting, then backtrack to East Napa Street and head west. The road eventually becomes Highway 12, which you'll take west and north to photogenic St. Francis Winery for the 1 pm wine and food pairing (reserve a few days ahead). If you arrive early, ask about the self-guided vineyard tour, which ends at the culinary garden that supplies ingredients for the pairing. From St. Francis, head back south 2 miles on Highway 12 to B Wise (look for it on the right). Stop at this rustic-chic roadside tasting room for Moon Mountain District Cabernets and other wines.
From B Wise, continue south on Highway 12 and take Arnold Drive into the picturesque town of Glen Ellen. Turn right on London Ranch Road and wind your way uphill for a few minutes to reach Jack London State Historic Park. Take a short stroll through the grounds and observe the historic buildings near the parking area before the park closes at 5 pm.
Know More Than Jack
Afterward, or as an alternative if the weather isn't cooperating, drop by Jack London Village on the southern edge of downtown Glen Ellen and check out the historical displays in the main building near the Sculpturesite Gallery. Some detail the lives of other famous Glen Ellen residents as diverse as "Hap" Arnold—Arnold Drive, on which the complex is located, is named for this aviation pioneer and World War II air force commander—and the author M.F.K Fisher. If you need a pick-me-up, have a nitrogen-infused iced coffee (or a regular cuppa) at Horatius here. Dine in town at Aventine Glen Ellen or Glen Ellen Star, or return to Sonoma on Highway 12.
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