SONOMA COUNTY, CALIFORNIA — Fly a kite, catch a shuttle to go hiking or shopping, or eat brunch in a vineyard — that’s just a sampling of the wide array of the new opportunities and experiences available in Sonoma County this spring. And for even more ideas, visit www.sonomacounty.com/blog/april-2019-outdoor-events-roundup.
To experience the outdoors on a deeper level, LandPaths’ TrekSonoma has multi-day excursions throughout the year, starting with discovering wildflowers in April. Find out more at landpaths.org/get-outside/get-outside-with-landpaths/treksonoma.aspx.
Here’s a quick overview of what’s new in Sonoma County in April 2019.
‘Sugar Shuttle’ for hikers expands
Experienced hikers wanting to make one-way treks on some of eastern Sonoma County’s challenging trails in Sugarloaf Ridge State Park have even more chances in 2019 to park their car at the end of their planned route and take the “Sugar Shuttle” back to the starting trailhead.
The six-passenger rideshare van normally operates on the second weekend of each month. However, both May and September will be Shuttle Months, with Sugar Shuttle service every weekend day, all month long.
The shuttle makes hourly loops on three different routes in the Sonoma Valley, with service on only one of the routes each weekend. The routes include:
North Sonoma Mountain Regional Park to Jack London State Historic Park
Sugarloaf Ridge State Park to Hood Mountain Regional Park, Pythian Road parking lot
Sugarloaf Ridge State Park to Hood Mountain Regional Park, Los Alamos Road parking lot
For a suggested $10 donation per person, hikers can park their vehicle at the trail’s end and take the shuttle to the starting trailhead. It’s possible to park at the start of the trail, hike to the end, and then take the Sugar Shuttle back to the starting point, but timing the return shuttle trip can be tricky as these can be long hikes. Shuttle reservations are recommended, but hikers without reservations can ride the shuttle if space is available.
Sugarloaf Ridge State Park
2605 Adobe Canyon Road
Kenwood, CA 95452
John Roney, park manager
Windsor’s free shuttle service extended to summer
The successful two-month Windsor Hopper pilot program offering free shuttle service around the Sonoma County town of Windsor will continue into the summer.
There’s no charge to hop on and off a Pure Luxury Transportation shuttle bus and visit craft breweries, award-winning wineries, and a wide variety of Windsor restaurants and stores. Operating four days a week, the shuttle runs from 11:40 a.m. to 10:47 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, and 11:05 a.m. to 10:27 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Shuttle stops include the Holiday Inn Wine Country, Lakewood Shopping Center, Hampton Inn, downtown Windsor, Holiday Inn Express, St. Florian’s Brewery, Barley & Bine, Russian River Brewing, Grand Cru, Barrel Brothers Brewing, WorldMark/Wyndham, and the Airport Boulevard SMART train station. The schedule is synchronized with the SMART train arrivals and departures.
Windsor Chamber of Commerce
9001 Windsor Road
Windsor, CA 95492
Lorene Romero, President/CEO
April is kite month on the Sonoma Coast
Taking advantage of the steady breezes that blow along the Sonoma County coastline this time of year, the town of Bodega Bay and its surrounding environs are celebrating the first-ever Sonoma Coast Kite Month this April.
Bring your kids or rekindle your inner child with a bit of windy fun in the sun. Stop by the Sonoma Coast Visitor Center to learn about the month of kite activities, specials, and the chance to play with fellow kite enthusiasts.
Bodega Bay is home to not one but two kite stores — Candy & Kites and Second Wind — where you can pick out just the right kite for you, whether it’s intricate, whimsical, animal themed, small, or huge. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can try out kite boarding or wind surfing.
And the kite-flying skills you practice in April will come in handy May 18, when Doran Regional Park in Bodega Bay hosts its annual Castles & Kites event, with kite flying and sandcastle building on the park’s beautiful beach.
Sonoma Coast Visitor Center
Bodega Bay Area Chamber of Commerce
913 Highway 1
Bodega Bay, CA 94923
Bodega Bay Area Chamber of Commerce
Guerneville’s Lazy Bear Weekend now a full week
The 23rd annual Lazy Bear Weekend gathering is expanding to include a full week of relaxing and celebrating: Lazy Bear Week 2019 is set for Monday, July 29 to Monday, Aug. 5, in Guerneville, in western Sonoma County.
Proceeds go to local, national, and international charities, and over the years the nonprofit annual event has raised nearly $2 million for worthy causes. Last year about 3,000 hairy, burly, crazy, and lazy revelers from around the world celebrated in Guerneville and other resort areas along the Russian River, long the West Coast’s favorite LGBTQ playground.
The 2019 schedule includes pool parties, dance parties, hikes, barbecues, wine tours, shows, dances, feasts, bonfires, and live entertainment. Participants can also decide to do nothing at all, and just relax to the sound of the wind in the redwoods.
Lazy Bear Week 2019
Guerneville, CA 95446
David Barker, president, Lazy Bear Fund Inc.
Jordan Winery unveils renovated dining room
Updated by renowned designer Geoffrey De Sousa of San Francisco, the dining room at Jordan Vineyard & Winery in Healdsburg now provides an homage to old-world France, a reflection of the bountiful estate, and an expression of executive chef Todd Knoll’s philosophy of bringing a snapshot of the surrounding countryside to the plate.
Guests can experience the new dining room on May 4 at Jordan’s next seven-course, prix fixe dinner party event, Spring Dinner with the Winemakers. A French-inspired producer of elegant Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon since 1976, Jordan is a 1,200-acre estate with more than 80 percent of the property preserved as natural habitat.
Led by John Jordan’s mother in the 1970s, the original dining room design, featured antiques and other elements celebrating 18th-century French design. A minor remodel in the mid-1990s continued this style.
Today, buttercup yellow walls with sherbet green fabric in framed modeling are now a deep gray with an elegant wallpaper pattern that brings the outdoors in. The mahogany brown chairs were disassembled and completely reimagined with embroidery that celebrates nature. All-new lighting pulls inspiration from French Beaux Arts classicism, and the grand fireplace has been given a modern touch with a bronze surround, hearth trim, and tools.
Jordan Vineyard & Winery
1474 Alexander Valley Road
Healdsburg, CA 95448
Enriquez Estate Wines introduces Brunch in the Vineyards series
Relax with endless vineyard view at a delicious brunch featuring cooking demonstrations, wine tasting, and live music at the new Brunch in the Vineyards series offered by Enriquez Estate Wines in Forestville, in Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley wine region.
Offered 11 a.m.-2 p.m. on Sundays monthly through September, the series features amazing local chefs doing live cooking demonstrations of favorite guilty pleasure brunch items, with live music by local musicians, and a logo wine glass as a wine tasting souvenir.
Tickets are $45 ($35 for wine club members), and the schedule includes:
Sunday, March 24 – Coastal Catering
Sunday, April 28 – Wine Country Cookout
Sunday, May 26 – SoCo Paella
Sunday, June 23 – Coastal Catering
Sunday, July 28 – Wine Country Cookout
Sunday, August 25 – SoCo Paella
Sunday, Sept. 22 – Mazza Catering
The estate includes 8.5 acres, with 4.5 acres planted to Russian River Pinot Noir. For folks who want to spend the night, an old cow milk barn has been beautifully converted into a charming two-bedroom luxurious unit with modern amenities.
Enriquez Estate Wines
5960 Eastside Road
Forestville, CA 95436
Taste Baldassari Wines in Windsor
Relax and sample small-lot wines at the new Baldassari Wines Tasting Lounge in Windsor, in central Sonoma County.
In addition to wines by the flight or glass, the lounge offers an a la carte charcuterie platter, with a choice of Journeyman cured meats, Toma cheese, Laura Chenel and Cheevo goat cheese, olives, and crisps. They also host a small menu of artisan pizza and appetizers from the popular nearby restaurant KIN.
At Baldassari Wines, winemaker Matt Michael and his father (and business partner) Dom Michael craft quality Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Chardonnay. The winery is named for Matt’s grandfather, Vincenzo Baldassari, who emigrated from Italy to America. He often took Matt down to his basement to show him the barrel of wine he made each year. Matt took inspiration from his grandfather’s passion as an artisan family winemaker and continues the tradition with Baldassari Wines.
Baldassari Wines Tasting Lounge
9058 Windsor Road
Windsor, CA 95492
Barber Lee Spirits — from winemaking to distilling
Husband-and-wife team Michael and Loraine Barber, owners of Barber Cellars winery, expanded their repertoire to work with partner and distiller Aaron Lee on the art of distilling, resulting in the new Barber Lee Spirits in Petaluma, in southern Sonoma County.
The Barbers founded Barber Cellars in 2007, focusing on single vineyard, organically grown, Sonoma County grapes, with low intervention winemaking. The Barbers also have a deep love for great spirits, and after much research and several test batches they developed their own recipe for one of the only single malt ryes nationwide. Their first whiskey was released in 2016 and sold out in a matter of weeks.
San Francisco native Aaron Lee knew the Barbers from their wine, and he tasted their whiskey during the brief time it was available. Lee joined the team as a partner, and in 2017 Barber Lee Spirits was born. The new distillery and tasting room is located next door to the Barber Cellars wine tasting room in historic downtown Petaluma — the first distillery in town.
Barber Lee Spirits uses the best heirloom corn, malted grain, and organic herbs to make traditional, handcrafted spirits. Distillery visitors can sample their spirits and choose from their list of cocktails. The distillery is open noon-7 p.m., Friday to Sunday.
Barber Lee Spirits
120 Washington St.
Petaluma, CA 94952
RESTAURANTS & EATERIES
Sweet’s T’s barbecue reopens in Windsor
Fans of quality Southern cuisine made with the freshest local ingredients can once again savor the signature Southern dishes — from grits to ribs — that highlight the menu of Sweet T’s barbecue restaurant, now reborn at a new location in Windsor, in central Sonoma County.
The original Sweet T’s was located in the Fountaingrove area of Santa Rosa. One of the handful of restaurants destroyed in the October 2017 wildfires, Sweet T’s is the first to reopen. Owners Dennis and Ann Tussey never doubted that they would reopen their popular eatery.
They signed a lease on the 3,700-square-foot restaurant space in Windsor soon after the fires, and spent over a year and more than $1 million on an extensive remodeling of the former Denny’s site. The new Sweet T’s features a large bar area, spacious tables, enclosed outdoor dining, and hundreds of small details the Tusseys carefully considered in the renovations.
The menu includes several customer favorites, with richly smoked and barbecued meats, creamy mac and cheese, shrimp grits, fried chicken, and key lime pie, plus new items like beef sliders.
Sweet T’s Restaurant + Bar
9098 Brooks Road S.
Windsor, CA 95492
Railroad Stop Bar & Kitchen debuts at Hyatt Regency Sonoma Wine Country
Enjoy contemporary rustic California cuisine, custom barrel-aged cocktails, craft beers, and local wines by the glass and bottle in the new Railroad Stop Bar & Kitchen in the Hyatt Regency Sonoma Wine Country in the historic Railroad Square district of Santa Rosa, in central Sonoma County.
Executive chef Rene Jakushak serves up Sonoma County’s bounty for breakfast and dinner. Ingredients are sourced from local artisans and farmers, and the restaurant collaborates with neighboring family-owned wineries and breweries, including Francis Ford Coppola Winery and Russian River Brewing. The remodeled restaurant space features rustic touches, earthy colors, and brushed metals, for a timeless interior design.
Set on eight acres accented with manicured gardens, sculptures, and art, the recently remodeled and rebranded Hyatt Regency Sonoma Wine Country features 235 guestrooms and 40,000 square feet of refreshed event spaces.
Railroad Stop Bar & Kitchen
170 Railroad St.
Santa Rosa, CA 95401
YiaYia’s The Grateful Greek brings Mediterranean to Penngrove
Everything is made by hand at YiaYia’s The Grateful Greek take-out-only eatery in Penngrove, where the menu features a combination of Greek, Mediterranean, and traditional American dishes with a Sonoma County spin.
Fans rave about the delicious gyro meat that chef Chris Adams-Albrecht crafts using a combination of beef and lamb, which is cooked sous vide (with circulating water), a technique often used by high-end chefs to create tender meat. It’s then crisped on the grill before being slipped into a pita with tzatziki (cucumber yogurt sauce).
The menu at this family-run restaurant also includes items named for family members, like Brother Bill’s GBLT (Greek bacon, lettuce, and tomato) sandwich, Tom’s Burger, and Popi’s Flaming Cheese (named for Grandma).
Squeezed into a small storefront, the eatery only has a few seats indoors, but there are picnic tables in the parking lot, or you can order at the counter and then take a seat in the Petaluma Pub next door, and YiaYia’s will deliver the food to your table.
YiaYia’s The Grateful Greek
10007 Main St.
Penngrove, CA 94951
YiaYia’s The Grateful Greek
Grab a quick tasty bite at Freaking Tacos
The goal is fresh, fast, and delicious food using recipes from the heart of Mexico at the new Freaking Tacos eatery in Santa Rosa, in central Sonoma County.
Choices on the simple take-out menu include tacos, sopas (a tiny corn bowl topped with meat, sour cream, lettuce, and queso fresco), torpedoes (burritos), “wet-ritos” (burritos with sauce), quesadillas, nachos, soup, and Mexisalad, with a choice of meat, sides, and extras. Kids meals are available.
400 W. Third St.
Santa Rosa, CA 95401
New tea shop opens in Duncans Mills
Sample the tea of the week at the new Duncans Mills Tea Shop in the tiny town of Duncans Mills along the Russian River, in western Sonoma County. Located just a few miles inland from the Pacific Ocean, Duncans Mills is home to a delightful mix of shops and restaurants.
The new tea shop carries approximately 100 types of loose tea, as well as CBD-infused medicinal teabags with 100 percent hemp for sleeping and other health issues. You’ll also find a variety of beautiful teapots, mugs, infusers, and much more. Enjoy locally sourced cookies and other treats with a cup of tea.
Duncans Mills Tea Shop
25185 Highway 116
Duncans Mills, CA 95430
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Experience Sonoma County, where Life Opens Up. Just as wine “opens up” when it’s allowed to breathe, Sonoma County inspires visitors to open up to new experiences. Just 30 miles north of San Francisco, Sonoma County is one of California’s top food and wine destinations, home to more than 425 wineries ranging from rustic to regal. Hike among towering redwoods, cruise along rugged Pacific coastline, and get to know inviting small towns. Or, just sit back and take it all in. Because here, you’re free to go your own way.
For a free visitors guide or information on hotels, wineries, events, spas, attractions, and dining in Sonoma County, visit www.sonomacounty.com or call 707-522-5800.
Director of Global Media Relations
Sonoma County Tourism
400 Aviation Blvd., Suite 500
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
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