Fall is always such a vibrant time in Sonoma Wine Country, tempting with hikes in the colorful parks and vineyards, shopping, wine tasting, and Thanksgiving dinners and activities.
Extra bonus: Be sure to check out great deals and discounts on lodging and activities in our Fall Harvest Deals.
Stock up on Thanksgiving Wines
The annual Wine and Food Affair awaits Nov. 3 and 4, 2018, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day, with winery open houses spanning the Wine Road across Alexander, Dry Creek, and Russian River Valleys. Most wineries will offer special savings on day-of-purchases (great for holiday gifts, too). Plus, you can plan your holiday menus, since all of the participating wineries will have a favorite winery recipe available online, which they will prepare both days for you to sample, along with the perfect wine pairing. Be sure to plan ahead, since tickets are not sold at the door during the event. More details.
Thanksgiving Feast with Snoopy
What could be more heartwarming than this family celebration at Charles M. Schulz Museum, where you and your loved ones can help prepare a re-creation of Snoopy’s Thanksgiving meal of toast, popcorn, and jelly beans from the classic television holiday special? The fun runs from 1 to 4 p.m. on Nov. 17, 2018, rounded out with viewing the animated classic A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving on the big screen, hands-on crafts, games, and other family-friendly activities, including celebrating the Year of the Dog. More details.
On a Saturday in mid-November, downtown Santa Rosa’s SOFA Art District comes alive with the Winterblast! festival (2018 details to be announced soon). Join the party for open houses from the neighborhood’s 30+ art studios, street performers, giant puppets live music, fire dancers, and marching band. Free and family friendly, it’s worth a visit just for the rollicking, one-of-a-kind electric Sofa Parade that’s exactly what it sounds like. More details.
Light Up Your Life
The 5th Annual Lighting of the Historic Sonoma Plaza starts at 5 p.m. on Nov. 17, 2018 with a spectacular display in the eight-acre park, including 100,000+ sparkling lights and holiday treats (free hot chocolate, cider, and cookies). More details.
Take a Hike
Armstrong Redwoods State National Reserve spans 805 acres, in lush groves of 500 to 2,000 year-old trees towering to 350 feet (that’s taller than a football field is long). Breathe deep and savor the velvety quiet and solitude; the massive trees are often shrouded in mystical fog with swords of sunlight piercing through. For one of the easiest way to navigate, take the mile-and-a-half long round trip Pioneer Nature Trail over mostly flat terrain. Tip: Dogs are not allowed on trails, though they can join you in the developed picnic areas. More details.
Explore Fine Wine
The Alexander Valley Black Friday Open House on Friday, Nov. 23, 2018 is a day of wine tasting, food pairings, and special sales. Alexander Valley Vineyards, deLorimier, HANNA, Medlock Ames, Soda Rock, and White Oak will all have their doors open for wine lovers and shoppers. Peruse unique wine country gifts and taking advantage of great deals on wine for the holidays. More details.
Spend Thanksgiving in Wine Country
What better way to connect with family away from all the hustle and bustle and the cooking chores! Find a great Sonoma wine country hotel or resort (or campground) here. For example, the Flamingo Conference Resort & Spa is the perfect resort for a Thanksgiving getaway complete with a Thanksgiving Day Buffet on Nov. 22, 2018.
The Day After Thanksgiving Party
Join DaVero Farms and Winery for the 9th annual TDAT party on Nov. 23, 2018, offering tons of fun, olive oil samplings, delicious wines, and a chance to enjoy Davero's farm and gardens. Play Frisbee, bocce, and romp with your well-behaved dog. All ages welcome, no reservation required, and admission is free. More details.
Sonoma County brims with independently owned boutiques. One great area to focus on is Santa Rosa’s Historic Railroad Square district, which sits on the west side of Highway 101 and stretches roughly from the Hyatt Regency Sonoma Wine Country hotel to Western Farm Center, anchored by a beautifully restored Northwestern Pacific Railroad Train Depot made of locally quarried stone (now home to the Santa Rosa Visitors Center / California Welcome Center). Dozens of stores range from Green Fish Trading (hand curated items from Asia), to Cast Away Yarn Shop (Malabrigo yarn and lace, hand spun and hand dyed in Urugua), to Whistlestop Antiques (delicate china tea cups). More details.
Get Ready for Snowmen and Santa
It all began in 2004 when David Allen, owner of Artefact Design & Salvage at Cornerstone, discovered that a snowman factory in Boston was closing, and bought its entire stock. Each year since then, the hundreds of smiling snowmen are arranged in a creative and stunning scene that is different each year. Santa Claus will be on hand for the annual Lighting of the Snowmen Festival from 4-8 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018. After the festival, the lighted snowmen remain on display through the end of December, creating an important setting for holiday events at Cornerstone. More details.
Written by Sonoma Insider Carey Sweet.