One of my highlights last month was my recent trip to California. This was a see & do trip packed with lots of activities. We flew into San Francisco and drove to Windsor (located in Sonoma County) to spend the week around the area. This was the first time I had ever visited this spot, and I have to say it did not disappoint. There was so much to see, and the photography opportunities were phenomenal. Windsor is located about an hour and a half north of San Francisco and about forty-five minutes from Napa Valley giving you quite a few opportunities for adventure. If you decide to spend a few days around the area, it is filled with great restaurants, multiple wineries, and beautiful scenery. During our week there, we spent time in the following areas:
Healdsburg, CA – This city was located about 10 minutes north of where we were staying. It is a great city for shopping, dining, and relaxing. We spent an afternoon around the area and stopped for breakfast a few mornings since it was close to our hotel. If you are looking for a great breakfast spot, Costeaux French Bakery is your choice as it has both fresh baked goods and healthy options on the menu. For lunch, we stopped by the Healdsburg Bar & Grill and treated ourselves to cupcakes and macaroons at Moustache Baked Goods for dessert. Dark chocolate with sea salt, peanut butter, apple cinnamon, or vanilla with a slice of bacon – whatever you taste, they have something delicious! Heads up – your skinny jeans won’t fit after leaving here. But. It. Is. Worth. It. Santa Rosa, CA – If I had to pick one of my favorite winery experiences from the trip, it would be the Kendall Jackson Winery. We opted for the food & wine pairing one afternoon. The service was friendly and welcoming, the food was spectacular, and the view was sunset right by the vineyards. Could you ask for anything more?!
Dry Creek Valley & the Russian River Valley – This is great area to take a drive through one afternoon if you are looking for some beautiful photography opportunities. We did stop at a few places along the way – the Dry Creek General Store & a few wineries for photographs.
Occidental, CA – This city was on our list for zip lining purposes. I had never zip lined before. I figured what better way to try it than zipping through the redwoods. We took the zip lining tour with Sonoma Canopy Tours. It is a two and half hour tour with seven zips that provide some breathtaking views. After the tour, we stopped at Howard’s Cafe for a late lunch. This is a great spot for a fresh sandwich or a juicy burger and good cup of coffee.
The Coast – We planned for a day of driving to the coast and stopping in the small towns along the way. Martinelli Vineyard was one of the first stops for photographs. The old farm equipment added different elements to the vineyards giving it that classic, vintage look. Next on the list was the Korbel Winery for a champagne tasting and tour. It was a thirty minute tour ending with four tastings of champagne. Then we continued on to Armstrong Park to see the redwoods and drive through the area. After leaving there, we made our way to the coast stopping for photography opportunities and lookout spots along the road. Lastly, we ended in Bodega Bay tasting some of the best clam chowder at Spud’s.
We drove to the coast twice during the week while we were there. The first drive we took our time stopping along the way, and when we arrived it was overcast and foggy. The second drive we took was after leaving Occidental one afternoon. Since we were so close to the area and the weather was sunny, we decided to make our way again. Both experiences were completely different yet beautiful.Coming soon – a blog post on Napa Valley & San Francisco!