I visited Sonoma for the first time over July 4th weekend and it was nothing like what I expected!
In fact, it was much, much better! While Napa gets all the attention, Sonoma, a 20-minute drive from downtown Napa, is a much better destination in my opinion. The downtown was absolutely adorable- old-timey buildings with mountains in the backdrop made it seem like a movie set! There were many side alleys and courtyards, each with it’s own seemingly European-inspired flair.
Sonoma is a town rich in history, as it marks the end of the Mission Trail, a 600+ mile stretch from San Diego to Sonoma which is dotted with 21 missions built in the 17 and 1800s as Spain pushed through California in its attempt to form an empire. The Sonoma Mission was the only mission established by the newly independent Mexican government (liberated from Spanish control). And fun fact: this is where the bear flag was first flown in the attempt to establish the Republic of California in 1846. There’s some history for you 🙂 All of the missions are located along Highway 101, which runs approximately the same path that El Camino Real (the “Royal Road”) followed way back in the day. The trail is marked with bronze mission bells and is a fun thing to incorporate into a California road trip!
And if history isn’t your thing, Sonoma has plenty of other fun things to do! We rented bikes and had fun exploring all the parks and beautiful paved pathways winding around town. Of course it wouldn’t be wine country without beautiful wineries- Scribe Winery is the most well-known. There is definitely no shortage of amazing restaurants either and I would recommend checking out The Girl and the Fig, Cafe La Haye, The Red Grape, and La Salette!
I’m already looking forward to going back!
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