Romantic Getaway Ideas
Love is always in the air in Wine Country, as happy couples fall head-over-heels with Sonoma County, then fall in love with each other all over again. And why not, with so many wonderful places to cuddle – in front of a winery fireplace with a glass of wine, perhaps?
You can also gaze into each others' eyes at an exquisite restaurant, cozy up in a romantic room at a beautiful resort or inn, or scamper hand-in-hand through a spring meadow.
FEED YOUR PASSION
Restaurateurs Kyle and Katina Connaughton finessed every last detail of the combination restaurant and luxury inn. They planted their own five-acre Single Thread Farms property between the Russian River and the historic San Lorenzo Ranch nearby, and established a 3,000-square-foot rooftop garden above the restaurant, both dedicated to growing boutique ingredients for the food and cocktail menus. The concept is kaiseki — elaborate multicourse meals crafted as art — and donabe — rustic clay pot cooking. Menus change daily, but might mean delicacies like black cod Fukkura-san (donabe style) with root vegetables, cabbage, charred onion and walnut-nori pesto; plus wild salmon donabe-smoked over cherry-blossom-wood with fermented rice, salmon roe and wild ginger.
Former Dry Creek Kitchen talent Dustin Valette is rocking the food world, bringing in crowds for his contemporary Cal-global cooking and a sexy, reclaimed wood-trimmed, open kitchen ambience. Reservations are recommended to score a table laden with seasonally (and often weekly) changing dishes like slow cooked celeriac soup with toasted pistachios, yellow beet tartare and goat cheese meringue, or crispy skin local sable fish with MIX garden bok choy, roasted ginger dashi, toasted soba noodles and spicy kimchee purée. Be sure to start with hand crafted charcuterie from the custom-made curing case, and if you're feeling adventurous, tuck into the 'Trust Me' menu where Valette sends out a multi-course feast of his daily picks.
Lodging here is unique, whether you're looking for a posh iconic retreat like the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa, a quaint, historic B&B amid the vineyards like the 1880 Raford Inn, or flat out luxury like Madrona Manor's classic European mansion. But first, be sure to explore the terrific, insider-only savings and specials on accommodations, at sonomacounty.com/sonoma-listings/deals. Plus, note that many Sonoma County hotels and inns offer passes for complimentary wine tastings at dozens of nearby wineries.
This Forestville inn was named the #3 destination in US and Canada on Condè Nast's 2019 Gold List of editors' favorite hotels and resorts. This rural property is a ravishing mix of gorgeous guest rooms, a Michelin-starred restaurant fed by farm-fresh food, and a seasonally inspired spa. The circa-1870 hideaway has been renovated and expanded, refreshing the Inn’s original 10 guest rooms and adding eight more in an elegant new “barn.” Baths are gussied with large jetted tubs and saunas or steam showers, morning starts with full breakfast and fresh flowers in your room, and in the afternoon, you can take wine tasting classes with Sonoma County's only Master Sommelier, then move on to homemade cookies and milk.
Discover one of Sonoma County's best-kept secrets in this lavish, Tuscan-style castle on a hillside overlooking vineyards in the northern end of the Sonoma Valley. Everything is designed for relaxation and retreat, making for perfect romantic getaways. Enjoy the sparkling pool with two hot tubs, and the lavish breakfast buffet. The recently remodeled spa features a full array of face and body treatments, with some of them offered poolside or in your guest room. Try the luxurious, private bathtub treatments for two in the spa, or reserve the entire spa for a three-hour, exclusive evening session for just you and your sweetie.
EMBRACE MOTHER NATURE
Romping through grassy meadows, strolling through whispering mountaintop forests, playing Frisbee on the beach, and plucking flowers from vast gardens to wear in your hair. Does that sound like a greeting card? It's reality in Sonoma County, which spans more than one million acres of gorgeous Mayacamas Mountains range to Pacific Ocean coast. With near-endless parks, preserves, babbling streams, greenbelts and vast open agricultural and grazing areas, there's something new to discover every day.
Explore the newly debuted trails at this 1,100-acre park in Santa Rosa. The trails wind through oak woodlands, across ridges overlooking Santa Rosa and Bennett Valley, over the headwaters of Colgan and Cooper creeks, and past historic hot springs.
New trails at this 820-acre hillside park in Santa Rosa include the 4.25-mile North Sonoma Mountain Ridge Trail. The path begins in the ferns and redwoods on the south fork of Matanzas Creek, then climbs through forests of oaks and bay laurels to nearly 2,000 feet. Perfect for a romantic picnic. For the more adventurous, the park also includes a 4-mile section of the Bay Area Ridge Trail, which connects to Jack London State Historic Park for through-hiking opportunities.
THE ROMANCE OF WINE
There's no denying the pleasure of a fine glass of wine, and shared with a loved one, a sip adds an extra special statement to even the most simple moment. Sonoma County boasts some 425 wineries, pouring everything from Albarino (Paradise View from Sonoma Coast is a knock-out), end with Zinfandel. Then, as you're ready to fly home, Alaska Airlines invites you to check up to a case of wine for free when you depart from the Sonoma County (STS) / Santa Rosa Airport.
Take a guided tour of the Don Miguel Vineyard at this winery in western Sonoma County. The tour leads to the winery house and the owner's personal cellar, where you'll select a bottle to enjoy with a tapas platter, served on the patio at the winery and paired with a classic flight.
Take a deep dive into Zinfandel at this Healdsburg winery, which crafts nearly two dozen variations from nearly a dozen vineyards each year. Reserve a private table just for you and your lovebug in the garden, where, over two hours, you can enjoy a five-pour wine flight, plus, if you like, a BYOB picnic paired with a bottle of your favorite Mazzocco wine.
Because Sonoma County encompasses such a broad range of landscapes, the recreation is equally expansive. You and your honey can horseback ride at wineries or along the coastal bluffs of Bodega Bay, zip line through the redwoods, hike and bike, kayak the Russian River, and go hot air ballooning over vineyards, lakes and valleys. Perhaps you'd like to take a winery tour through off-the-beaten-path vineyards in a horse drawn carriage, it's all at your beck-and-call.
This place impresses with horseback rides spanning the world famous Dry Creek Valley Wine Region and Lake Sonoma from atop the area's overlook mountain. A variety of trails are available for guided rides for two to 30 guests; the Heritage Oaks Lake View Ride is popular for its extensive coverage of up-and-down trails, meadows, creek crossings, forest of oaks, madrone, and bays, and stunning valley vistas.
Because your love leaves you breathless … head to this zip line in Occidental. Your instructor straps you into the gear and Go Camera you'll wear for this high-speed scream through space. Indeed, hidden away off Bohemian Highway is a zip line course waiting to wing you up to 25 miles per hour through a redwood forest, over a ravine 300-feet below, and along a creek. Part of the challenge is just getting to the jump canopies, since eleven different platforms test your clambering skills, too, daring you to scale a skinny spiral staircase 30 feet up, and wobble across a 175-foot-long sky bridge. And when all is done, you'll fall … straight into the arms of your sweetheart, sharing the thrill of the zip.
Relax in an authentic meditation garden with a cup of organic herbal tea at this day spa in Freestone, then pamper yourselves with a 75-minute massage treatment or the Cedar Enzyme Bath, a rejuvenating heat treatment from Japan. Then literally hang out together in the Field of Hammocks.
Husband-and-wife team Cindy Scott-Fuchs and Trip Fuchs bring the pampering to your private luxury rental home, setting up a complete spa on-site. Cindy customizes the treatments, like Thai massage with hot stone therapy, warm foot wrap, and a mini facial of lavender infused steam, herbal cleanser, Indian clay mask and coconut oil massage. Next, Trip, a private chef, cooks a feast, ranging from hors d'oeuvres to a full supper. It's pure relaxation, as you can then enjoy a night in your vacation home, with breakfast the next morning.