Splurge on a Girls Getaway in Wine Country
Every group of gals loves some luxury 'me and we' time, and Sonoma County is one of the best places for a pampering Girls' Getaway. This land of plenty abounds with boutique shopping, posh spas, lavish wineries, upscale dining, and even some sophisticated surprises (glamping with giraffes, anyone)?
So round up your BFFs, and spend that quality time in top style.
The 400-acre nature oasis makes 'girls gone wild' a glamorous new idea. The Gals' Getaway package starts with an environmentally respectful, open-air safari truck Classic Tour of the Safari West family of nearly 1,000 animals tour, including giraffes, lemurs, cheetahs, and wildebeests. Next, it's a delicious South African dinner for two at the Savannah Café.
Then, it's off to your private lodging for two in a luxurious double tent complete with a private viewing deck, en-suite bathroom, polished hardwood floor and fluffy bedding. There's wine and chocolate in your tent for you, too! Ask about adding friends, as well, up to a maximum of four per tent.
SingleThread Farms Restaurant & Inn, Healdsburg
Sonoma County is home to many top-rated restaurants, glittering with Michelin Stars. The newest crown jewel was named this year, with this Two Star meal of a lifetime destination. Restaurateurs Kyle and Katina Connaughton 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.
Set in a grand building owned by the Seghesio wine family near Healdsburg Plaza, the elegant space is home to equally sophisticated cooking. 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.
The Barlow, Sebastopol
There's a treasure trove of sophisticated shopping, wine tasting and dining at this 220,000-square-foot, $23.5 million culinary and art center set in a former apple cannery property at the southeastern entrance to Sebastopol.
How about Woodfour Brewing Company, an on-site brewery and gastropub with delights like Maitake mushrooms with 63° farm egg, purple barley and black garlic soubise, or braised pork belly with sunchoke, Asian pear, sunflower and pickled mustard? Tamarind brings upscale boutique women's clothing, there are several artisan wine tasting rooms, Taylor Lane Organic Coffee roastery, Spirit Works Distillery for handcrafted gin and whiskey, and so much more.
Wine Tasting Like Royalty
Celebrity owners and grand estates roll out the red (or perhaps vineyard-mustard-flower yellow) carpets for indulgences like the multi-course wine and luxury chef's bites tour through the 1,200-acre Jordan Estate in Healdsburg, or the lavish vineyard and culinary garden tour plus seated luncheon in the Olympic caliber equestrian pavilion of Alexander Valley's Chalk Hill Estates.
In Sonoma Valley, the fabulous Hamel Family Wines woos with custom options spanning elaborate cave tastings and sophisticated small bites or full meal menus from the winery chef, while St. Francis Winery celebrates a sumptuous multi-course full lunch with guided wine pairings.
The Paul Hobbs Winery small bites experience at the stunning contemporary architecture oasis in Sebastopol is actually a full gourmet meal as well, or there's the temptation of the Palate Play immersion at Ram's Gate in Carneros-Sonoma, beginning with a backstage tour of the Howard Backen designed winery, then a seated, guided tasting through wines and dishes prepared by the estate chef and featuring organically grown, estate garden ingredients.
Many Wine Country spas use local products like honey, grape seeds, and even wine.
Farmhouse Inn of Forestville shines with farm-to-table spa signatures using heirloom cider apples from the inn's home ranch for facials, plus herbs grown in its kitchen garden for a sumptuous 'body melt' with a warm pillow of muscle healing herbs, alfalfa hay, lavender and chamomile. Applewood Inn & Spa of Guerneville woos with a new spa suite that's pure luxury down to the curved black tile and glass rain shower, plus Jurlique biodynamic facials and warm river stone massages, while Gaige House + Ryokan of Glen Ellen tempts with deep tissue massages in an outdoor cabana in the Japanese gardens followed by a soak in the hot tub or steam in the sauna.
For an only-in-Sonoma indulgence, Kenwood Inn & Spa of Kenwood specializes in vinotherapy baths, soaking with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir or sparkling wine salts and oils, while at Bodega Bay Lodge in Bodega Bay, spa suites overlook the Pacific Ocean and Sonoma coastline, offering a signature warm shell massage with tiger clam seashells. It's a virtual trip to Japan, meanwhile, with Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary of Freestone's cedar enzyme baths, meditation in creek-side sand gardens, and massages in outdoor pagodas amid the whispering trees.
Written by Sonoma Insider Carey Sweet.