Vines entwine the friendly, fertile town, where playful shops, culinary delights, and inviting inns all conspire toward one goal—helping visitors unwind.
Area code is 707 except as noted.
Sonoma Valley Olive Festival December through February. Take lessons in olive curing, judge a martini competition, and sample wine and extra virgin oils. 996-1090, olivefestival.com .
Gundlach Bundschu Winery Cozy barrel cave tours and winetasting. 2000 Denmark St., 938-5277, gunbun.com . Sonoma State Historic Park A collection of significant sites, including the 1823 Mission San Francisco Solano and Lachryma Montis, the 1850s home of Mexican general Mariano Vallejo. Corner of W. Spain Street and Third Street W., parks.ca.gov . Vella Cheese Company Stop in to try the creamy Toma and the tasty, nutty Mezzo Secco. 315 Second St. E., 938-3232, vellacheese.com .
Sign of the Bear Kitchenware Panini grills, fancy cutlery, goat milk soap, and lazy Susans made from wine barrel tops. 435 First St. W., 996-3722. Tiddle E. Winks Vintage 5 & Dime Gumby and Pokey coffee mugs, Junior Mints lunch pails, and a wall of old-fashioned candy. 115 E. Napa St., 939-6933, tiddleewinks.com .
Murphy’s Irish Pub Enjoy pub grub like bangers and mash with Irish beers and ales like Guinness and Murphy’s Stout, as well as other international favorites including Bass and Boddingtons. 464 First St. E., 935-0660, sonomapub.com .
Basque Boulangerie Café Good, strong coffee and flaky, homemade pastries. 460 First St. E., 935-7687. Cafe La Haye Simple, locally farmed fare. Try the fresh tagliarini with lamb–pine nut meatballs, roasted pepper, eggplant, picholine olives, and feta and goat cheeses. 140 E. Napa St., 935-5994, cafelahaye.com . El Dorado KitchenSavor winter squash with apples and pears, or a smoked ham hock rillettes sandwich with pickled red onion. 405 First St. W., 996-3030.
El Pueblo Inn Rooms open to lush gardens; some have private patios. 896 W. Napa St., 996-3651, elpuebloinn.com . Inn at Sonoma From $205. Has a rooftop hot tub and a fireplace in every room. 630 Broadway, (888) 568-9818, innatsonoma.com . Ramekins Culinary School & Inn Stay the night or come just for a hands-on class where you can learn how to cook tapas, Asian dumplings, and other delights. 450 W. Spain St., 933-0452, ramekins.com .
Photography courtesy Rick Bolan/Sonoma County Visitors Bureau
This article was first published in May 2010. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.