Find Unique Gifts for the Holidays in Wine Country
All you need is love. It’s the thought that counts. Material things won’t make you happy. While all that may be true, who among us will ever deny that we’re thrilled for any little gifty-thing that comes our way? Unwrapping, peeking, oh joy! Giving is better than receiving. Well, that’s good, too. Shopping is fun, and with the unique, pictureseque destinations available around Sonoma County, it’s like a little vacation trip to wine country, too.
The Barlow, Sebastopol
The 12.5-acre wonderland spans as a 220,000-square-feet, $23.8 million culinary and arts center, with the notable difference that most products sold here come directly from the people who make them, and from where the products are made. That means an array of more than two dozen food producers, winemakers, brewers, distillers and artists create their crafts on-site, in space viewable to the public. Stock up on charcuterie from Zazu Kitchen & Farm, organic coffees and teas from Taylor Maid Farms Coffee, rare books from Ben Kinmont Bookseller, and fine art originals, kiln glass, jewelry, mixed media and sculpture from CounterCulture Art Haus Gallery. Then, when all the shopping has you feeling weary, stop for a beer and small bite at Woodfour Brewing Company, or a glass of Pinot Noir at La Follette Wines.
Details: The Barlow, 200 Morris St., Sebastopol
It’s actually an entire, tiny town in west Sonoma County, and it couldn’t be more quaint and perfect for unique gifts. All the stores are independently owned, with often one-of-a-kind merchandise, all set in a convenient cluster joined by gardens, fountains and benches. Burgeon your energy with breakfast or lunch at Cape Fear, serving delightful California cuisine with a Southern flair.
Then hit the stores – there are nearly two dozen, such as Mr. Trombly's Tea offering specialty teas, vintage teapots, tea wear, linens and gifts, the lovely liquid jewelry by Studio Nouveau, nostalgic candies and toys from Sweets ‘n’ Stuff, and pretty much anything from Thistledown Antiques, “purveyors of the curiously collectible and fine antiques.”
Details: Duncans Mills, On River Road (Hwy 116) along the Russian River between Guerneville and Jenner, approximately 25 miles west of Santa Rosa.
Montgomery Village, Santa Rosa
True, it’s a shopping center, but it’s an outdoor setting of mostly small shops and restaurants, where walking from store-to-store takes you on a path of gardens, often live music, and al fresco relaxation. Amid the anchor tenants and more than 70 boutiques, some special finds include Birds Nest Antiques, Fireside Stationery, Village Art Supply and an endless array of adorable must-have items from Reverie Baby. Refresh and refuel at Acre Coffee, enjoy a meal at Monti’s Rotisserie & Bar, then buy some holiday nibbles at Viola Pastry Boutique & Café.
Details: Montgomery Village, 911 Village Court, Santa Rosa
Marisa’s Fantasia/Christmas Fantasia, Petaluma
There are two stores in one at the historic Lan Mart Building in downtown Petaluma. The Christmas Fantasia (now open 7 days a week through the holiday) brims floor-to-ceiling with antique and modern heirlooms, captivating in glorious displays of trees, ornaments, home accessories, flocking, lights, and stockings to hang from the chimney with care. Even if you’re bah-humbug, all the beauty will tempt you to make holiday memories of your own.
Details: Marisa's Fantasia, 29 & 39 Petaluma Blvd. North, Petaluma
Cornerstone Sonoma, Sonoma
The eclectic 9-acre property on the Highway 121 winery corridor of Carneros mixes lavish gardens with sculptures, landscape architect installations, art, flower and home design shops, a restaurant, and three wine tasting rooms. There’s so much to covet that you may find yourself buying as much for your own wishes as others, but we won’t tell. Artefact Design & Salvage is a gem for architectural repurposing alongside organic and contemporary designs, while Zipper puts a whimsical flair on elegant home accessories. You’ve never appreciated how beautiful garden pots can be, either, until you’ve seen the collection at Pottergreen. This is a wonderful place to spend an afternoon with your dog, too, strolling the gardens, sipping some wine on the Meadowcroft patio, or sharing a seasonal, Cal-inspired snack from Park 121 Restaurant.
Details: Cornerstone Sonoma, 23570 Arnold Dr. Sonoma