Getaways from the daily grind are rejuvenating and, I believe, an absolute must for parents with young children.
My husband and I had access to a babysitter for one night for our three kids, so decided to run away to Sonoma, CA to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary.
The wine country is the ultimate spot for a quick getaway.
We arrived into Sonoma at 11am and we had to be back home by 5pm the next day, so we were determined to make the most of our 30 hours away……and, we did.
Glen Ellen was our first stop
After arriving into Sonoma proper, we drove about seven miles north to Glen Ellen to grab some lunch and take in a winery. Glen Ellen is a sweet little town six miles northwest of Sonoma and has a population of 784 people. Very quaint and super sweet.
We decided to stop at Glen Ellen Market for our lunch, as we have been there before and LOVE the hot sandwiches in the back right corner of the market in their deli. This is a full market and, upon first glance, you might pass it up, as it looks like a small grocery store. However, it has a LOT more character than a traditional grocery store. There are many specialty items and organic foods, and, of course, their amazing deli.
I had first read about this market in yelp and found many rave reviews, which is why we tried this place about a year ago. This market really is a unique find, and I highly recommend that you check it out if you are in this area.
We ordered two hot sandwiches including the Curry Turkey Ciabatta and Pork Loin Ciabatta. You pick out the sandwich that you want behind the glass case and then they heat the sandwich up for you in a sandwich press, so it is as fresh as can be, and oh so delicious.
We could not pass up trying one of their delicious looking soups, so we chose the turkey sausage gumbo soup. The soup was full of flavor and had just the right amount of spice.
Then, of course, there were amazing looking desserts. After a little debating, we chose the lemon meringue pie. We were so full, that we had to save the pie for a treat at the winery we were about to visit. Tough life. 🙂
After the lunch at Glen Ellen Market, we headed up north a few miles to Benziger Winery. In my opinion, this is one of the best wineries to visit when you’re in the wine country. The winery sits on 89 acres and uses organic farming methods to cultivate their land.
We were there early in the afternoon on a Thursday, so there were very few people there, which really added to relaxing, “getting away from it all” feeling that we had while roaming the beautiful grounds. This property is seriously so peaceful and gorgeous, you feel like you are in another world, and it is easy to forget about all of the stress you may be shouldering at home and work.
Benziger Winery Tram Tours
This winery is unique in that they offer tram tours to see the grounds a little more intimately than just wandering around. There are two tours offered, one that is 45 minutes long and the other one is an hour and a half long. With the shorter tour, you get to ride around the periphery of the winery, and visit an underground cave where the barrels of wine are stored. With the longer tour, you will also get to go to an underground restaurant in the caves and enjoy wine and cheese.
Our tour guide was wonderful and went through the history of the winery and the wine making process in great detail. He delivered his information with a lot of humorous antidotes. There were five other couples on the tram with us including folks from Missouri, Wisconsin and California. After the periphery tour and wandering through the caves with the barrels, we were treated to wine tasting in the tasting room. We were able to taste four of their wines. I was most impressed with the SierraTerra Sauvignon Blanc. They were all outstanding, but that was my favorite. And, as usual, I thought briefly about joining the wine club package
where they send a bottle of wine to you every month, but I restrained myself and decided against it. The wines always taste so good while at the winery, it is so tempting to join.
The weather was perfect for the tour as there was a slight wind, the skies were blue, and the temperature was probably in the high sixties. I recommend visiting the wine country in the springtime, as the summer becomes very hot since the whole wine country is in a valley.
Inn at Sonoma
We looked at many hotels online and finally decided on the Inn at Sonoma. This was definitely the right call. This Inn is the perfect blend of bed and breakfast and hotel that we have ever come across. Upon entering the main lobby, you are greeted with a cookie jar with fresh cookies. The jar is always kept full, and the peanut butter chocolate chip cookies are homemade and delicious. It was such a nice homey touch to add to the Inn and I’m sure is appreciated by all of their guests. The decor was lovely with cozy furniture and a wonderful fireplace.
They also have a beverage center with fresh, ice cold water in a beautiful glass mason jar, hot coffee and tea. The mason jar had fruit etched into the glass, and was just gorgeous. I decided that I have to find this jar and put it in our kitchen with fresh slices of lime, orange and lemon and lots of ice, so my kids will be attracted to this water in the hot summer months rather than juice boxes and caprisuns.
The room’s decor was country with different patterns and colors that all matched together very well, and was super cozy for a getaway.
The Inn has a wine and appetizer hour from 4:30-6pm every evening. There were several types of wine and cheeses and the best pumpkin pie we have ever had in our lives. I know that sounds a bit dramatic, but it was so creamy and light with a fresh cream on top that was heavenly.
Wine and cheese just tastes so much better when you’re in the wine country. Its probably the freshness factor. It really is quite a big difference.
Cafe La Haye
Again, thanks to Yelp, we found another winner of a restaurant in Cafe la Haye. Here’s a link to the Yelp reviews on Cafe la Haye. My husband ordered the scallops and I ordered the pork ribs. They were both delicious, but my favorite was the scallops. In addition to the scallops, there were little potato pillows (similar to gnocchi) mixed in with fresh fava beans and other veggies. The dish was so light and refreshing with the richness of the scallops and potato pillows mixed in for balance.
We chose the Rochioli Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc to complement our meals, and this was definitely the right choice. The taste was so refreshing, and so many flavors emerged throughout the sipping experience. Big thumbs up from both my husband and I. I am usually a Chardonnay gal, but this Sauvignon Blanc is helping me to appreciate other styles.
We decided to order two desserts, so we could try two of their offerings, instead of just one. Yes, we were full by this point, but the lists of sweets was so tempting…….you know how it goes. We ordered the famous butterscotch pudding and the flourless chocolate cake. Both were unbelievable. The Butterscotch was melt in your mouth delicious and the cake was so rich and creamy and lined with chopped almonds which was such a nice touch.
Bike Riding on the Sonoma Trail
The Inn has several bikes for their guests to use, so on Friday morning, we decided to go for a relaxing ride through Sonoma. By the way, I should mention that this is after an over the top full breakfast prepared by the Inn’s own chef. We were treated to fresh blueberry scones, amazing quiche, french toast and fresh fruit. My husband and I dined on the patio outside for our quiet breakfast and it was perfect.
The food was so amazing at the Inn, I’m tempted to purchase the The Four Sister’s Cookbook which highlights the food served at their Inns. The Inn at Sonoma is one of a handful of boutique Inns that are owned by the Four Sister’s Network.
The Girl and the Fig
The Girl and the Fig is located on Sonoma Square and is the highlight of many visitor’s trips to Sonoma. We had been here once before and just had to return. Their goat cheese plates are to die for and their duck dishes are wonderful.
The goat cheese plate comes with candied nuts to dip in the cheese, fig bread, and three types of goat cheese. Before the Girl and the Fig, I did not know how varied goat cheeses can be. They were all delicious.
My husband ordered the trout and fresh tossed greens, which was so light and refreshing.
After lunch, we wandered around the boutique shops of downtown Sonoma that surround Sonoma Square.
We left for our journey back home around 2pm. We arrived back to our house fully rejuvenated and relaxed.
Take those getaways with the hubbies. They really are the BEST!! 🙂