There is no shortage of “logo” accommodations in California’s Sonoma County wine country. If you belong to a particular lodging chain’s loyalty program, chances are you’ll be able to find a place to stay where you can pile up the points.
But if you’re looking for a different kind of wine country experience — one that truly defines “getaway” — then it’s worth seeking out the hidden gems that dot the Sonoma landscape.
Today, we bring you two sightseeing destinations to consider between winery visits, as well as a pair of lodging options that are absolutely out of the ordinary…
- Bodega Bay — Sixty-eight miles north of San Francisco, this pristine place of natural beauty serves as a counterbalance to the steel and glass of the City by the Bay. The most prominent geological feature of Bodega Bay is Bodega Head, a peninsula that forms the protective arm between the ocean and the bay. The San Andreas fault runs right through it, separating steep, rocky bluffs from sandy dunes. Atop the bluffs, grasslands rise more gently to the coastal ridges. The Head provides a dramatic vista and the ideal place to watch whales migrate south. The peninsula also is one of three points of the Red Triangle, which is a major feeding ground for great white sharks. Trails provide opportunities for hours of hiking.
- Bodega Bay Lodge — From its seaside perch situated on seven acres of gracefully landscaped grounds, the Lodge offers sweeping views of Bodega Head, Bodega Bay and the Pacific Ocean. Its warm and cozy rooms have private balconies, down comforters and real wood-burning fireplaces. The ocean-view Duck Club Restaurant and Drake’s Fireside Lounge highlight local seafood and farm-fresh ingredients from Sonoma County. The on-site spa offers an extensive list of treatments and services, available in treatment rooms or guest rooms. Adjacent to the spa is an ocean-view heated swimming pool and whirlpool spa. No wonder Bodega Bay Lodge is considered the quintessential California coastal retreat.
- Sonoma Redwoods — The serene, majestic beauty of western Sonoma County’s redwood trees serve as a reminder of the magnificent primeval redwood forest that covered much of this Northern California area before logging operations began during the 19th century. California coastal redwoods are among the largest and oldest trees in the world, and are the tallest living things on the planet, with some reaching higher than 370 feet. They’re capable of surviving for 2,000 years or longer, although the average life span is roughly 500 to 700 years. Today, the sight of the towering giants entices travelers to get out of the car and experience them up close by walking, zipping, cycling or riding on horseback through them.
- Madrona Manor — Nestled in the hills above the Dry Creek Valley in Healdsburg, Madrona Manor is a lovely Victorian estate surrounded by eight acres of wooded and landscaped grounds. The mansion, built in 1881, has been a destination for discerning guests since 1981. Visitors can enjoy a romantic meal in the Manor’s acclaimed restaurant, engage in quiet conversation with drinks on the veranda, or relax by a cozy fire in the winter or the pool in the summer. At the end of the day, a peaceful night’s stay awaits in any of the Manor’s elegant rooms.
In between sips of enticing red, white, rosé and sparkling wines, there is plenty to see… and there are unique places to sleep… in Sonoma County.