Bucket List Road Trip with Mom

Coast Bay Hill Road on the Sonoma Coast in May

These last few dramatic years, two life lessons have become especially important: Don’t wait to do the things you really want to do, and spend as much time as possible with the people who matter most. Put these two together, and you and your mom (or favorite mom figure) are halfway to that Sonoma County road trip you’ve always meant to take.

Here are some ideas to make your Wine Country trip extra special!

Make it Meaningful

Forest bathing in Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve
Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve
Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve

Start or end a road trip day with your mom by forest bathing in the most renowned of Sonoma County’s redwood groves. Set just north of Guerneville along the two-lane Bohemian Highway, which unfurls across 10 serene, stunning miles of western Sonoma County, this 80-acre park invites you and Mom to slow down, and reconnect with nature and each other. Reminisce about your own histories as you stroll back in time beneath huge trees older than the Gutenberg Bible — and one even as old as the Tang Dynasty. Keep an eye out for frolicking deer, sometimes with their fawns.

Stargazing at Lake Sonoma Recreation Area
Stargazing above Lake Sonoma will help you and Mom put life into perspective

There’s nothing like the enormity of the night sky to lend perspective to what’s really important in life. Set at the northern end of Healdsburg’s Dry Creek Valley, the Lake Sonoma area is pitch dark at nightfall, making it ideal for stargazing with your mom.

Three miles above the lake on Rockpile Road, you’ll find two excellent spots to stop and make mother-daughter wishes upon the stars: The parking lot for Lone Rock, and Group Site E of the Liberty Glen Campground.

Before you undertake this adventure, though, be sure to download the SkyView Lite app (available for iPhone or Android), which allows you to track the constellations without connecting to the Internet.

Farmers’ market tour, cooking class & lunch with Relish Culinary Adventures
Visit the Healdsburg Farmers' Market with Relish Culinary Adventures
Visit the Healdsburg Farmers’ Market with Relish Culinary Adventures

The second Saturday of the month from April through November, consider a half-day of delighting in the bounty of the county. Starting your day at the Healdsburg Farmer’s Market, you’ll meet local producers, select choice ingredients, and have extra time to purchase picnic treasures.

Caucasian hands cutting fresh vegetables on a cutting board in a kitchen
Learn to use your farmers’ market ingredients with Relish Culinary Adventures

You’ll then proceed to the nearby Relish Culinary Center for a hands-on cooking workshop, and finally enjoy the seasonal lunch you and Mom helped create, paired with tastes of local wines.

Make it Intentional

Often, the goal of traveling is to seek wellbeing and relaxation, so along your Sonoma County roadtrip, why not seek both with your mom? Soothe the stress of being apart during the height of the pandemic — or going through it together — by visiting a local spa and/or booking a movement class. Either one (or both) will enable you and your mom to take loving, intentional care of yourselves, together.

Two sources of wellbeing and relaxation to consider are:

Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary

Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary
Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary

Six miles southwest of Sebastopol, the hamlet of Freestone is home to the only day spa nationwide that offers the cedar enzyme bath, a rejuvenating heat treatment from Japan. With its Japanese décor and meditation garden, Osmosis is a wonderful wellness retreat, offering massage, organic facials, skin care, and other wellness and relaxation services.

Molly Vogel Yoga
A Molly Vogel Yoga class
A Molly Vogel Yoga class

Breathe in the beauty of Sonoma County while practicing yoga at gorgeous outdoor locations at wineries throughout the area. Vogel teaches lighthearted Vinyasa style yoga classes to all levels, and classes are followed by a small wine and snack pairing.

Make it Count

Choose lodgings that give as generously as Mom

Kind Traveler logoIn the spirit of giving for Mother’s Day? Take advantage of Sonoma County Tourism’s unique partnership with Kind Traveler, the first socially conscious “Give and Get” hotel booking and education platform.

When you and your mom book Sonoma County lodgings through Kind Traveler, you’ll be offered exclusive rates and special perks at participating properties when you donate $10 to one of three local causes:

  • Redwood Empire Food Bank, which serves 80,000+ county residents
  • Russian Riverkeeper, which restores and sustains the Russian River
  • Sonoma Land Trust, which protects 50,000+ acres of area land

Kind Traveler’s participating area properties include Farmhouse InnTimber Cove ResortVintners ResortHyatt Regency Sonoma Wine CountryFlamingo ResortThe Sandman Hotel, and Hotel E.

Volunteer some of your shared time
Organizations throughout Sonoma County would love your help to keep our land and water healthy and beautiful
Organizations throughout Sonoma County would love your help to keep our land and water healthy and beautiful

There are a wealth of parks, preserves and environmental organizations to volunteer at in Sonoma County, with work duties ranging from shore and trail restoration to litter and invasive species removal. During a road-trip stop, you and your mom can create a special memory while making your positive mark on the gorgeous landscapes of Sonoma County for the next generation, through organizations such as Daily ActsLandPathsSonoma County Regional Parks and Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods

You and Mom can find more local organizations to volunteer with on the Sonoma County Conservation Council’s directory of environmental groups.

Make it Memorable – and Memorial-izable

Craft each other something special — together

Remember making artwork for your mom as a kid? Well, just because you’re grown and living on your own, it doesn’t mean you can’t make her something special — and vice versa. Sonoma County is full of artisans eager to help you and Mom create keepsakes to treasure.

Bonus: Many area artisans — like the two to follow — hold their events at area wineries, making them fun and easy to fit into your road trip itinerary.

Sip & Paint with ArtXcursion

Sip & Paint event with ArtXcursion

For her Sip & Paint events at area wineries, artist Alana Tillman and her team will bring in blank canvases, paint and other art materials, and a snack and drinks will be provided. Each Sip & Paint event has a theme, and everyone is encouraged to create their own motif for that theme, producing their own unique piece of art. These painting events are generally limited to groups of 15-25, but you can inquire about booking a private class for you and your mom.

Hand-crafted signs at Boards & Bottle
Create hand-painted signs for each other with Boards & Bottle
Create hand-painted signs for each other with Boards & Bottle 

Art-events business Boards & Bottle holds DIY sign-painting workshops that combine art, wine, and experiences like food pairings and succulent-potting. Participants connect with Sonoma County landscapes and each other while creating a handcrafted sign they can display in their home, gift to a loved one (hello, Mom), or pass down as an heirloom. Each time you look at your signs, you’re sure to think of each other.

Take annual family photos in Sonoma County

Now that you’re all grown up, the occasions to take special photos with your Mom are likely fewer and farther between — so why not ensure you have at least a few each year, while you’re on a special vacation together?

Maybe you can recreate iconic photos from your youth (or hers); pick a single pose to strike each year in a different spot; or visit the same special spot, year after year, to commemorate making yet another great memory in Sonoma County.

We’d love to see the photos you and your mom — by birth, choice, or lucky circumstance — create together here in Sonoma County. When you post them on your social media accounts, be sure to tag #SonomaCounty on Instagram (@sonomacounty) and Facebook (@sonomacountyca)!

For more traditional ways to celebrate Mom on Mother’s Day (or the day before), check out our events page for Sunday brunches; family-friendly, multi-generational outings; deals; and special offers. 

Written by Melanie Wynne

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