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Ask the Locals: Sonoma County

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TripAdvisor’s Travelers’ Choice Awards chose Sonoma County, California as the top wine destination in the U.S. But don’t just follow the crowds into the wine-tasting rooms.  Keep reading to hear what the locals have to say about their favorite picks in the area.

George Webber, aka The Count of Buena Vista Winery, suggests getting into the  great outdoors with a picnic at Bartholomew Park, or “Bart Park” as the locals call it.  Webber takes his own family to Bart Park and had this to say of the experience:

The views of the Sonoma Valley are simply sublime on this gorgeous property, with a variety of places to picnic on the grass or provided picnic tables. The hiking trails are what my family and I enjoy often; the best hike is a two-and-a-half mile stretch that ascends around 800 feet, passing through redwood forests and creeks. With many micro-climates, and exceptional vistas at the top, a hike at Bart Park can last an hour, or two, or three, and will be remembered long after.

Theresa Heredia, winemaker for Gary Farrell Winery, suggested a few places to dine around Sonoma:

My two absolutely favorite places to eat are Rosso Pizzeria – their food and their service are amazing, I love everything about it – and Sazón.

At Rosso Pizzeria they make crunchy flatbread pizzas and their ingredients are local, organic and fresh. They have a really nice wine list and they try to focus on affordable wines throughout the world.  It’s my favorite pizza in Sonoma County. 

Sazón is a Peruvian restaurant. It is incredible.  I have been to Peru and spent time in Lima and the ceviche at Sazón stands up to anything I had there. 

If shopping is your scene,  journalist Sarah Lahey has a few suggestions. Whether you are looking for something to do with the kids, or looking for that perfect item to complete your home, Lahey knows where to find Sonoma’s best:

Mrs. Grossman’s Sticker Factory is a must for young shoppers.  Beginning with a simple red heart design, Andrea Grossman introduced “Stickers by the Yard” in 1979. Within three years the stickers had become one of the hottest-selling products in the country.  Tours are by reservation only, Monday – Thursday, but the company store is open weekdays from 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. There’s also a sticker museum where you’ll see every sticker Mrs. Grossman has ever made.

Chateau Sonoma is one of the best stores in the Valley; in fact it’s one the best in the Bay Area, assuming you love the French Country Provencale look. There are bed and table linens, furniture, garden gizmos, and great gift items including French candles and photo frames.

For more tips, download the Travel Today with Peter Greenberg podcast on iTunes.

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By Braden Holly for