Winter Getaway to Sebastopol

Zazu - Sebastopol

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Winter Getaway to Sebastopol

The charming Sonoma County town of Sebastopol makes an excellent winter getaway. For one thing, it's beautifully situated, surrounded by apple orchards and vineyards, and only 15 miles from both the Pacific Ocean and the Russian River.

For another, Sebastopol offers a diversity of attractions that's rare in a small community. Tuck in for a weekend hereabouts and you may never even hop in the car and drive to the coast.

If you're after outdoor adventure, explore the nearby 254-square-mile Laguna de Santa Rosa. A tributary of the Russian River, and the county's largest freshwater wetlands complex, it's an important stopover destination for migrating birds and is also home to a large number of bird, mammal, fish and plant species. Hike or bike the 1.8-mile multi-use trail (see map, visit the official web page), or try the 2-mile Laguna Wetlands Preserve trail (download map), which is open to hikers and wheelchairs, but not bikes. Download the Laguna de Santa Rosa Guide to learn more details.

Another way to enjoy the outdoors: go on one of the occasionally-scheduled Sebastopol Walks. The next one—on Saturday, January 25—begins at 8:15 a.m. Walkers will ride a bus to Forestville ($1.85/adults, $0.90/seniors) and then walk back to Sebastopol. Definitely a fun, convivial way to get exercise.

You might also visit Sebastopol's 157-acre Ragle Ranch Regional Park, with trails that take you over rolling hills and offer beautiful hilltop views. Playgrounds, picnic facilities, a dog park and great bird watching are other features at Ragle Ranch.

A relaxed way to get some exercise is to spend an afternoon exploring The Barlow, a 220,000-square foot culinary and arts center whose architecture pays modernistic homage to the picturesque apple canneries that once resided here.

Stroll through the attractive buildings in their park-like setting, visiting unique tenants. Among them are tasting rooms (LaFollette, Marimar and Kosta Browne wineries; Works Distillery; Warped Brewing Company and Woodfour Brewing Company); award-winning Zazu Kitchen + Farm and other eateries (Woodfour has a fab pub menu); arts destinations such as the Tibetan Gallery & Studio and the Wolfard Glassblowing Company; and a good deal more homeware and clothing shops.

Other fun things to do in Sebastopol:

  • Take an antiques crawl along Gravenstein Highway South, where more than half a dozen colorful-looking stores with  names like Trader Buck's, Motley Treasures, and Llano House are packed with fabulous treasures. Download a PDF about Sebastopol's Antique Row, complete with store locations and a map.
  • Visit the West County Museum, where changing exhibits focus on local history, including movies filmed in Sonoma County.
  • Check out Luther Burbank's Experiment Farm, where he developed more than 800 varieties of fruits, flowers, vegetables and grains beginning in the 1880s.
  • Tour Sebastopol wineries.
  • Hoist an award-winning apple cider at Ace Cider Company on Gravenstein Highway North.
  • Enjoy a fabulous meal at an award-winning restaurant such as the Applewood Innor, or at an excellent local eatery (there are dozens). 

Find more info about things to do, restaurants, hotels and lodging in Sonoma County.

Suzie Rodriguez