Following the Sculpture Trails in Northern Sonoma County
Walk around — and in some cases on, under, or through — unique and colorful artwork in northern Sonoma County, where the communities of Geyserville and Cloverdale both host sculpture trails.
Stroll, cycle, or drive from artwork to artwork in both towns. It's a wonderful way to explore these delightful communities while also enjoying art. Here's a quick overview of the two trails.
If you're heading north on US Highway 101 (Sonoma County's central north-south freeway), take the Highway 128 exit; if you're going south, get off at Canyon Road. Whether you start at the southern end of the trail and head north, or vice versa, keep a watchful eye out for the more than 25 sculptures scattered between these two points.
At the southern end of the sculpture trail stands "Victory," a miraculous creation by artist Bryan Tedrick, whose studio was destroyed in the October 2017 wildfires. The 25-foot-tall statue of a galloping horse was under construction at the time, but survived with only minimal damage. Hence its name, "Victory." It's now on permanent display in a large open lot just off the freeway.
There's also 'Shimmer' by Hynch Philip, 'Blue Grass' by Joe Bologna, 'Windows' by David Mudgett, and 'The Chase' by Dan Good. In fact, this open field holds 14 of the artworks along the Geyserville Sculpture Trail. The entire trail is sponsored by the Geyserville Community Foundation, which posts a gallery of the sculptures, in order from south to north.
From US Highway 101, take the Citrus Fair Drive exit in Cloverdale, and you'll find the artwork on or near Cloverdale Boulevard. This town has been displaying art in its downtown area since a major revamp of its central business district in 2003. Produced by the Cloverdale Historical Society, today the annual Cloverdale Sculpture Trail features 12 different sculptures each year. They range from humorous to thought-provoking, and some include a message or story.
Each year's artwork is selected by a jury, with awards. For 2020-22, Best of Show went to “Nests” by Loren Madsen, First Prize to "Harappan Swansong” by Stan Huncilman, and Honorable Mention to “Homage to Helen” by Cynthia Handel.
An audio, self-guided tour by Otocast includes an interactive map of the Cloverdale Sculpture Trail, with descriptions and directions for wherever you are. Press play and listen to the artist talking about the sculpture you are looking at. To enjoy the audio guide, download the free Otocast app through Google Play or the Apple App Store.
Take time to explore
Plan to spend time in both towns. Founded in the mid-1800s, Geyserville (pop. 862) offers wine tasting, contemporary restaurants, and vintage-chic stores in a setting of Wild West storefronts and wooden boardwalks. Shop for an authentic cowboy hat at Bosworth and Sons General Mercantile, where their extensive hat selection includes brands such as Stetson, Resistol, Dorfman and Atwood. Or, find the perfect vintage piece to haul back home at Gin'gilli's Vintage Home.
Want to taste wines? Try family-owned Ramazzotti Wines; delve into Bordeaux-Style blends at Mercury Geyserville. At Locals Tasting Room, you can sample and compare wines from many local boutique producers.
Named one of "America's Coolest Small Towns," Cloverdale (pop. 8,618) mixes celebrated Zinfandel wines with rambling Victorian buildings, a dynamic arts community, and a family-friendly atmosphere, creating a unique blend of rustic charm and laid-back sophistication. Its compact downtown area features a variety of intriguing stores, galleries, restaurants, and tasting rooms, as well as the Cloverdale History Center and Gould-Shaw House Museum, and the Cloverdale Performing Arts Center.
Rejuvenate with coffee at Plank Coffee. Owners Mike Morisette and Marne Dupere serve fresh roasted Flying Goat Coffee beans and house-made chai, alongside pastries and cupcakes from My Flour Girl. After wandering downtown Cloverdale, rev your appetite for a filling meal at the World Famous Hamburger Ranch & BBQ. This classic Americana roadhouse will remind the both of you of mom’s cooking, from homemade chili, patty melts, and meatloaf, plus specialties like wood-fire smoked barbecue brisket and baby back ribs.
For more ideas for artistic adventures, read Art Walks in Sonoma County and Discover Amazing Art in Sonoma County: 3 Day Itinerary.
Written by Sonoma County Insider Patricia Lynn Henley.