If Sonoma Valley is a hidden treasure to you, let's pull back that curtain just a wee bit more.
When your other half knocks an anniversary or staycation out of the ballpark, your envious friends will take notice. Sonoma Valley holds the keys on where to do exactly that. This is the next chapter in your quest for well-being.
You've passed the Gemma Magazine woman before at international and regional airports and marveled at how she does it. So, what kind of vacation spot does she go to reclaim her story? Let's deep dive into seven places you're most certain to spot this savvy traveler in Sonoma Valley, CA...
Number 7: Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn
The second you hit the curb at Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa, it's five-star service. There's no course in graciousness to prepare you for this tier of comfort. The valet will escort your luggage to your private suite as you explore the sweeping floral landscape.
This AAA Four-Diamond resort has much to swoon over: a famous Roman bathhouse, farm-to-table dining, geothermal swimming pools and bedding comforts to make you feel like a newborn fresh out of the nest.
Is this all a dream, you will ask yourself as you watch from your soaking tub as your other half gently nods to sleep in front of a crackling fire ignited with recycled wood chips provided by our genteel hosts.
The earthy Tuscan design is thoughtful and serene with strokes of masculine colors and is transportive in every way possible. We seized the comfort from our private patio with the distant sound of waterfalls and birds nearby.
If the Gemma Magazine woman is looking for a sound base that matches her lifestyle and taste in men, she'll find it at Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa.
Number 6: Wine tastings
As your trip evolves, so does your knowledge of wine. With over 100+ award-winning wineries anchored here, wine tastings are a rite of passage, especially with your new friends at Sojourn Cellars (141 East Napa Street, Sonoma). An easy walk from Jane's Sonoma Cottage, this tasting salon on Sonoma Square is a Pandora's box offering best-selling cult classics like the 2020 Gaps Crown Vineyard Pinot Noir.
Thoughtful gifts for the Italian lover are abound at Jacuzzi Family Vineyard (24737 Arnold Drive).
Across the street is Cline Family Cellars (24724 Arnold Drive, Sonoma), a family-owned winery since 1982. Those in the know skip the vibrant scene in the front and opt for the members-only room in the back. This outdoor tasting area is much softer on the senses to savor curated wine selections and select cheeses, all while reclining near a pond and tranquil park-like grounds.
Number 5: Shopping
Be Still My Boutique-y Heart.
Traffic is calmer in these parts, so scouting for something to take back home is inexcusably simple.
We suggest Bossa Nova Clothing, 524 Broadway; Chateau Sonoma (vintage French home décor), 453 1st Street W; JAK W (furniture store), 124 W. Napa Street; The Passdoor (art gallery), 452 1st street E, Suite A; and Readers' Books (used bookstore), 130 E. Napa Street, Sonoma.
Number 4: Baker & Cook
Around the corner from Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn was the discovery of Baker & Cook (18812 HWY 12, Sonoma). The biscuits with gravy are the standalone item that might find its way to your plate. You don't want to miss one bite of this and have been warned. This adorable breakfast spot is a neighborhood staple that got the locals through the early days of the pandemic. Owners and husband/wife team Nick and Jen Demarest anchor their block with grocery staples for those who think they can cook better in their kitchens. Good luck with that!
Number 3 : Hanson Distillery of Sonoma
Vodka tasting and lunch at Hanson's Distillery.
Only take your ride-or-die friend with you to the family-owned Hanson Distillery of Sonoma (22985 Burndale Road, Sonoma). Think small-batch organic spirits mixed with stellar artisan bites like shrimp scampi pizza and prawns topped with Knoll Farms green garlic salsa and lemon finished with a mandarin vodka. If the stains on your blouse could talk.
Thank the Hanson family and Executive Chef Martin Rivera for keeping the good memories alive.
Number 2 : Jane's Cottage
Everything about Jane's Sonoma Cottage (211 Patton Street, Sonoma) was synergistic with the comforts of home. A fully stocked kitchen with a full assortment of cookware, utensils, plates, glasses, and a full-sized refrigerator/freezer invites you to stay in and nest. Together with a complete living room featuring a gas fireplace, dining room and more thoughtful amenities displayed in every nook and cranny, this spot did us in. Privacy and comfort reign here with no long hallways, and our car parked a few stone-covered steps away—that's Jane's Sonoma Cottage.
If you've been displaying passive-aggressive sighs, chances are good your trip is coming to an end, and you know it.
Number 1: Santé Restaurant
Pair good conversation, anything cute from the Sutton Stracke Cashmere collection, of course, and merge this with the best dinner date possible.
For an intimate dinner and drinks perfectly prepared to bring you in for the softest landing, touch down with the first bite of squid ink pasta and shrimp at Santé Restaurant inside the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa (100 Boyes Boulevard, Sonoma). Seasonal ingredients from regional producers are always center stage here. Someone at the table has good taste if you bring a second Belfiore Burrata appetizer and Lavender Crème Brulée back to the suite.
Walk off all that culinary goodness at Sonoma Overlook Trail before anything back home catches up with you and spoils the spell.
Plan your journey: www.sonomavalley.com
(Jane’s Cottage c/o Sonoma Valley Escapes)
Writer: Sam Russell