Wine Country. California’s cherished vine-covered landscape located in the heart of Sonoma County. Home to some of the world’s finest wines, Sonoma attracts people from all over to its vineyards for tastings and weekend escapes. Whether you are a sophisticated wino or simply a visitor seeking a sample of the lavish lifestyle, there’s more to Sonoma than its viticulture.
Below is a list with the top 5 destinations you didn’t know about in Sonoma County. Pinky up!
1.) Sonoma Cheese Factory
Located along the historic Sonoma Plaza, just down the road from California’s last mission is the Sonoma Cheese Factory. Known best for its vast variety of cheeses, olives, and deli sandwiches, it is a stop worthy on anyone’s visit. One step inside the doorway and the aroma tingles the nose with a sense of satisfaction. Best part is, you are welcome to sample all the cheese, fudge, and even gelato. Be sure to get yourself a taste of the lavender and pesto cheeses.
2.) Tiddle E. Winks
Take a trip down memory lane at this fun, colorful “vintage five and dime”. Walk inside and you’ll be greeted by the storeowner, Heidi, best known around town as “the Candy Lady”. Let your eyes wander and as you become reacquainted with your beloved childhood toys and games. Like a museum, you can’t help but want to touch everything in the store. Enter further and you’ll be halted by towering shelves, jam-packed with classic candies that will have you yelling “Please Mom, Can I have it?!”
3.) Chanticleer Books & Prints
Not your average bookstore, this hidden gem off the eastern corner of the Sonoma Plaza, is home to one of the finest libraries packed with rare and collectible books. The vintage hanging sign and large picture window give you a sense that upon entering you might bump into the illustrious local, Jack London. With an assorted selection of genres from Western Americana to Travel and Exploration, you’ll feel welcomed by storeowner, Steve Blackmer and the great writers of the past.
4.) Baksheesh Fair Trade
Unlike any other store on the Plaza, this boutique showcases craftwork from some of the world’s greatest artisans. For those not aware of fair trade business, Baksheesh’s mission is to operate around economic and social justice empowering low-income, Third World artists. With home décor, clothing, paper goods, jewelry, unusual instruments, and other various accessories from over 40 countries, you’re sure to walk away with something truly special.
5.) California Missions Museum
Ever been to a museum that offers a wine tasting? On the grounds of Cline Cellars is the California Missions Museum, home to the rare, handcrafted models of the 21 missions from the 1939 World’s Fair. The property accommodated the first camp of the Sonoma Mission. The Spanish Missions were constructed along the El Camino Real beginning in San Diego and ending in Sonoma. On the site, you can take in the essence of what life was like with its old structures, vast landscape, and even two donkeys Padres would have used for labor. They even have their own sustainable organic farm! The California Missions Museum offers a historical perspective to a fancied wine tasting. Entry to the museum is free, however the drinks are on you.
Stan of Cline Cellars and the California Missions Museum, explains the history of the zinfandel.