Sonoma County, CA — Fighting the winter doldrums? Here are six ways to renew and refresh yourself in Sonoma County, nestled in the beautiful Wine Country just 45 minutes north of San Francisco.
1. Just breathe
Breathe fresh air. The area's rich, diverse landscape is one of the top reasons people visit Sonoma County. Meander through oak-studded hills or among towering redwood trees. Make footprints in the damp sand along the Pacific Coastline or dip your toe in the Russian River. Gaze at the stars at the top of a mountain or discover a literary icon. Find all this, and more, in Sonoma County's fantastic collection of more than 50 regional and state parks, www.sonomacounty.com/sonoma-listings/parks.
2. A view with just a touch of salt
There's probably a scientific explanation of why the air at the coast is mood altering. Whatever the reason, standing on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean along the Sonoma Coast just feels invigorating. The views are pretty spectacular, too. Through May, gray whales migrate past the Sonoma Coast. View them from Bodega Head, Fort Ross State Historical Park, Timber Cove Inn, Stillwater Cove Regional Park, The Sea Ranch, and Gualala Point Regional Park. Find out more at www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=451.
3. Find 'Sneakaway' deals
One of the best things about winter in Sonoma County is the amazing deals available. Find rejuvenation packages, lodging, dining, and wine tasting deals offered throughout the region at www.sonomasneakaway.com. While perusing the specials, register to win a Sonoma Sneakaway. The prize package includes a two-night stay in luxury accommodations, a $100 Visa gift card for use at a Wine Country restaurant, and two one-day tickets to The Wine Road – complimentary tasting at more than 100 wineries.
4. Make it a 'spatactular' time
One of the best ways to start the renewal process is at one of Sonoma County's 40-plus spas. Literally slough off the old with a salt scrub or full-body dry brush that will exfoliate last year's skin cells. It will leave you glowing. Follow it up with a massage or wrap. Ah, renewal never felt so good. Find the spa – a unique day spa or full-service resort – that best fits your needs at www.sonomacounty.com/sonoma-listings/spas-wellness.
5. Reconnect with your inner kid
Remember the thrill of strapping on the skates and flying around the rink? Find that feeling again at Snoopy's Home Ice, aka Redwood Empire Ice Arena. Part of the Charles M. Schulz Museum complex, the arena was built by Schulz, a transplanted Midwesterner who missed playing hockey. Afterwards, warm up with a snack at the Warm Puppy Café. Then, head on over to the museum and learn more about the famed cartoonist who entertained millions with the antics of the Peanuts gang.
6. Be 'crabby' at the dinner table
'Tis is the season to enjoy one of the locals' favorite delicacies – the delicious, fresh-from-the-sea Dungeness crab. Restaurants and seafood counters offer the delectable crustaceans in all sorts of configurations: cioppino (a hearty fisherman's stew), chowder, sandwich, salad, omelet, or simply cracked open awaiting butter. Pair it with some ripe winter vegetables, fresh-baked bread, and a bottle of Sonoma County wine and you have a feast for that winter's day picnic.
Of course, this is just a short list of a few of the numerous opportunities to recharge yourself this winter season in Sonoma County, which offers more than 400 wineries, 40-plus spas, dozens of regional parks, and more than 50 miles of stunning Pacific Coast. Come and see for yourself, all the delights Sonoma County has to offer.