A Picnic With Jack London in Sonoma Valley

     The winter months can be quite chilly in California wine country and other wine regions across America.

     But with spring upon us and the hot summer months ahead, it’s time to pack a picnic, pick a couple bottles of wine, and enjoy a leisurely meal in the great outdoors.

     If you’re looking for an out-of-the-ordinary picnic experience in wine country, consider Jack London’s Beauty Ranch in the Sonoma Valley.

     Though San Francisco born, London lived and wrote during his later years at his Beauty Ranch, where his writing career reached its peak. He loved exploring the valley on horseback and once observed, “When I first came here, tired of cities and people, I settled down… in some of the most beautiful, primitive land to be found in California.”

     Today, 800 spectacular acres comprise a state historic park that bears his name. It’s a place where you can hike, picnic, or stroll among the oaks, madrones, California buckeyes, Douglas fir and redwoods… examine Jack London memorabilia at The House of Happy Walls… wander the haunting ruins of Wolf House… or ride on horseback up a three-mile trail to the summit of Sonoma Mountain for a magnificent view of the valley.

     London was only 29 when he and his second wife started their ranch in the hills above Glen Ellen. He was already internationally famous for “The Call of the Wild” (1903) and “The Sea Wolf” (1904).

     In 1909, following a troubled two-year voyage through the South Pacific on their boat (The Snark), the Londons made Glen Ellen their permanent home.

     Through one of his later novels written at Beauty Ranch, London brought new fame to the region. In “The Valley of the Moon” (1913), he perpetuated an Indian legend that claims Sonoma means “many moons.”

     Today, the park is a continuing memorial to a remarkable author, farmer and adventurer.

     Not to mention a great place for a picnic.

     (Park admission is $6 per car. For operating hours, call 707-938-5216.)

     Tomorrow here on VinesseTODAY.com, we’ll tell you a little more about the Sonoma Valley. And then on Wednesday, we’ll share details on a very special wine event that will take place there in just a few weeks.

Posted in Editor's Journal
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