Off to wine country! In the interest of full disclosure, I should probably start off by saying that I’m not really much of a wine drinker. It’s not that I don’t enjoy wine occasionally (remember how much I enjoyed the prosecco in Italy?), but it’s not my drink of preference. That being said, wine country for me is more about the atmosphere, vineyards dotting the hillsides, and good food. I’ve been to Napa a couple of times before, so this time I decided to head to Sonoma Valley.
I picked up the rental car bright and early and immediately crossed the Golden Gate Bridge and headed north. I have nothing against public transportation, but after navigating around a huge city and relying on buses for four days, it was so nice to get in the car and drive myself. First up was breakfast at Whisk and Skillet in Mill Valley. I chose this place because it was right along the highway and because they have cinnamon roll French toast. Imagine my disappointment to get there and find out they were out of it. I settled for plain old brioche French toast, but it was so boring I only ate half of it. Chalk that up to a breakfast first for me. Clearly “second breakfast” was in order for today. (If you’ve never had second breakfast, you’re missing out. It is my own way of squeezing in not one, but two breakfasts in one day. Pretty much any excuse will do. I can rationalize anything.)
When I finally reached Sonoma, I found a parking spot by the square and wandered around for a bit. I visited the Sonoma Mission and Barracks, stopped for a wine tasting at Highway 12 winery, and had second breakfast (a scone and Italian soda; again unmemorable… it’s clearly not a good day for food). Since my admission to the mission also got me into Vallejo Home, I stopped there before heading north to Windsor. I didn’t select Windsor because I loved the town, but because I had points and could use them at a hotel here. It’s between Santa Rosa and Healdsburg, so it’s convenient to most of Sonoma County.
Before I got to the hotel, I stopped at Tilted Shed Ciderworks for a cider tasting. It is a small cider operation that has a storefront tucked into an office building/industrial area just off the 101 freeway. I got to taste 6 different ciders and the people were super nice. It was 100 degrees, so after that I beelined it to the hotel and headed for the pool. After a quick swim and some reading by the pool, I had dinner at KCs American Kitchen by the Windsor town green. There was a nice covered patio and a breeze was finally blowing, so it was a perfect night for al fresco dining!