March 17, 2011

We live in the southeastern tip of the Sonoma Valley wine region near the edge of the valley floor. Our street comes to an end at the oak-studded Mayacamas range marking our border with Napa Valley to the East. The low-lying hills of the breezy Carneros lie to our South and, and ten or so miles past the Sonoma Plaza to our West, rises the coastal range.

Bordered as we are by coastal hills, blessed with abundant sunshine, and cooled by morning fog in the summer months, our climate offers near perfect growing conditions for fruits and vegetables of every variety. The soil contributes its own heady mix of rich nutrients for agriculture, gleaned from centuries of ancient volcanoes peppering our landscape with vitamin-rich ash and debris.

Of course, grapes are the product for which Sonoma Valley is known and vineyards dominate our landscape. They carpet our valleys and hills, line most highways and byways, and even replace many a lawn alongside homes in our community. Olive orchards are also abundant here, as are apples. In backyards, vegetable gardens are nearly a foregone conclusion. It’s a rare household that doesn’t have a least a few potted tomatoes, an over-active fruit tree, or an errant blackberry vine.

Especially for someone in my line of work, this proximity to fresh local produce is heaven sent. Yet, it was not that which first inspired our move here nearly 6 years ago. The town, centered around a central leafy plaza, the people, their roots in agriculture, the community, where most people know each other by sight if not by name, are the aspects of Sonoma we like the best. It’s also a hot spot for truly great home cooking and for over-achieving home gardeners who like nothing better than to share in the wealth of their crops. The kids love the sense of belonging and never stop appreciating the beauty of their environment. My daughter tells me that sometimes they snap cell phone photos of the landscape from the bus window on their way to school.

As a family, we keep small town living fresh by hiking, picnicking, and visiting wineries just as if we were tourists. Check out our selections below for our favorite family-friendly wineries, hikes, picnic spots, and excursions. You can also find a large listing of local events by visiting

Picnic Spots



Print Friendly

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

what is google authorship June 5, 2014 at 10:02 am

Greetings! Very useful advice within this post! It’s
the little changes that produce the most important changes.
Thanks for sharing!


Leave a Comment