Now, many years later, we are fortunate to be members of the WS List. They can now accommodate their members with private tastings and tours in their beautiful new facilities.
We were again fortunate to have our grandchildren stay with us for several weeks. As they grew into their teens, we were concerned that keeping them entertained and interested was going to be more of a challenge. Once again, Sonoma County came through with more terrific things to do and wonderful places to eat.
Driving on the narrow country road shadowed by overgrown plants up to Iron Horse Vineyards leaves you unprepared for what you'll see when you top the hill and turn the corner: A welcoming driveway of majestic palm trees and one of the best views in the Russian River Valley.
I understand how intimidating this scene can be to a newcomer, so I told her some things I thought were important. By important, I mean of course, important to me.
On a recent Wednesday morning, my daughter and I decided to try out the Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market. We’re both hitting notable birthdays this year, and one thing we’ve noticed about ourselves as we’ve gotten older is our aversion to crowds. So we were both delighted to find that the Wednesday morning version had all the things we love about a farmers market -- local produce, quality meats, delicious fresh-cooked food and interesting goods -- without the one thing we don’t: swarms of people.
One of our favorite restaurants in central Sonoma County, Tomi Thai Restaurant in Windsor, has a cozy, intimate dining room of 28 seats.
My best friend came to visit this weekend, and we realized that this was the thirtieth anniversary of our meeting. In two short days, I wanted to show her the best Sonoma County had to offer.
On Saturday and Sunday last weekend, we took our first walks along the new Laguna de Santa Rosa trail. Laguna de Santa Rosa is the largest freshwater wetlands complex on the northern California coast, and we can thank its collection of marshes, creeks, ponds, riparian forests and wetlands for collecting much of the Russian River’s floodwaters.
Our little town of Forestville, which is about five minutes from Gantz Family Vineyards, is so small that if you blink while driving through it, you might miss it. However, if you let your taste buds lead you, the town will surprise you with some wonderful food, as well as efficient, friendly and welcoming service.
Like the vines depend on the soil and sun and rain, the people of the Russian River Valley depend on each other for information and support and friendship. Below are a few worthy organizations I’ve gotten involved with and, if you’re local, you should, too...