Sonoma: December 2009 Archives

Driving Range - Three Wine Country Road Trips

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By Sarah Sung

The slightly more adventurous first cousin to the staycation, the road trip lets you unwind while enjoying the best of travel: exploring unknown territory. What better destination than Wine Country, where you can go from wineries to restaurants to hotels--with the freedom to pull off for a hike, bike ride, picnic, or to sit still and simply take in the scenery?

Drive One: Napa
Taking the high road through Napa.

Just an hour from San Francisco is the di Rosa, where art and nature come together. Make a reservation to tour the collection. It consists of 2,000 works of art--showcasing about half that number at any given moment--and is among the largest collections of Bay Area artists in the world. The first hint that you're coming up on the 217-acre preserve will be the sheep metal sculptures on the hillside. Once a private residence, this preserve is now a nonprofit public trust, with a collection so prominent that you'll see pieces from it at the Whitney and Getty museums.
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Farm-Fresh Elegance

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barn.jpgThe Russian River Valley's rustic Farmhouse Inn has become a destination that will make you want to stay.


By Martha Ross

The artfully prepared dinners at the Farmhouse Inn and Restaurant have always been reason enough to visit. But, these days, you might want to book a room for the night. The inn, nestled amid redwoods in the Russian River Valley, has added eight rustically elegant, light-filled rooms and suites in its new "Barn." The new rooms feature private decks, fireplaces, and luxurious baths.

The Barn follows in the tradition of the inn by paying tribute to the property's agricultural past. The main house, a yellow 1873 structure, was originally home to a family that worked the land. The inn's current owners, brother and sister Joe and Catherine Bartolomei, descend from another Russian River family that raised cattle, fruit trees, and wine grapes.

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Off The Beaten Track in Glen Ellen

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chocolateshop.jpgBy Deirdre Bourdet

Glen Ellen is just far enough off the main highway to ensure that its visitors and residents really want to be there. Although only a twenty minute drive from downtown Sonoma, it feels like another world entirely, with rustic country lanes, minimal development, and fantastic owner-operated businesses making the most of the area's appeal. Here are just a few suggestions for things to do (besides visit wineries, of course!) that hit on three of Glen Ellen's main draws:

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