Meet Your Guides
Ginger Harper, Food, Wellness & Travel Blogger
Food, wellness, and travel—as long as these three things are in the mix, I’m a happy camper. So it’s no wonder I absolutely loved my time exploring and recharging in Sonoma County. From wandering around the vineyards and coastline to eating fresh, local food, this two-day trip will leave you feeling reinvigorated and inspired.
Lauren Monitz, Digital Creator
I’m a strong proponent that only experiences can make you richer, that food is a luxury worth sparing no expense for, and that traveling like a local is the best way to see any place. With these tenants in mind, we set out to create the most amazing two day itinerary.
Where We Explored
We’ve made it easy for you to see the exact trip we took. Read on to learn more about Lauren and Ginger's experience, then download the map and start planning your own intentional itinerary.
Breakfast at boon hotel + spa
It might be a hotel, but it feels more like a zen woodland retreat amongst the redwoods. In addition to incredible amenities like a 24-hour hot tub, honor bar, solar-heated saline pool and on-site spa, boon hotel + spa brings breakfast right to your room so you can enjoy at your leisure. We enjoyed overnight oats with fresh fruit while still in bed, gazing out into the surrounding redwood forest and preparing for our day next to our own wood fireplace (the best part!).
Expert Tip: Shift from “doing” mode to “being” mode. Upon waking up, look out the window and tell yourself: “I’m at leisure. I have permission to enjoy the fruits of my labor.” Then pledge an intention to be 100 percent in the experience of where you are all day.
- Cecilia Shanahan, Founder of Mindful Learning Lab
Learn about Herbalism at Herb Folk
In the pursuit of reigniting creative energy, trying something totally unique can help broaden one’s horizons and direct thoughts into new territories. After a gorgeous drive through the countryside, we arrived at Herb Folk, a wellness shop in Petaluma. We were instantly energized by the inviting atmosphere and generous spirit of owner and herbalist, Erin Wilkins. Erin is an Asian American herbalist and Japanese acupuncturist whose clinical work is rooted in Eastern energetic theory. Erin can share how she taps into her ancestral healing traditions to empower others, restore health and prevent illness. Be sure to give yourself enough time to wander picturesque Petaluma, which is equal parts artsy and boho.
Lunch in Petaluma
Most people describe Petaluma as picturesque (Pleasantville was filmed there, if that tells you anything). But recently, it’s earned a reputation as a foodie and maker haven, known for locally grown ingredients and products. After strolling through the city center’s many boutiques, antique shops and art galleries, we satisfied our appetites at Café Zazzle—a casual eatery with a diverse menu that features a fusian of flavors from Asia, Italy, and the American Southwest. Talk about creative!
Expert Tip: Practice mindful eating. After pausing with gratitude for the food on your plate and all who worked to get it there, try tuning into all five of our senses as you experience the beautiful colors, flavors, smells and textures of every bite.
- Cecilia Shanahan, Founder of Mindful Learning Lab
Forest Bathing at Red Car Wine Co
Immersing oneself in nature is proven to have positive physical, mental, and spiritual benefits—from lowering blood pressure to feeling more connected with the world around you. But a less talked about benefit is the effect it can have on the creative mind. Certified Forest Therapy Guide Jenny Harrow led us on a meditative walk through redwoods and vineyards at Zephyr Farms and helped us experience firsthand how being present and slowing down allows for thoughts to come more easily. As we breathed the fresh, mossy air, noticed the sun-dabbled branches, and listened to the birds singing in the distance, we actually felt the vibration of our thoughts change and left feeling more inspired than ever after trying something we’d never done before.
Expert Tip: Adopt a beginners mind. When we allow life to unfold moment by moment and let go of our desire to control the outcome, we might be surprised by what we discover. To do this, you can connect to the same sense of wonder you had as a child as you encountered something for the very first time or remind yourself that this moment in time will never exist again.
- Cecilia Shanahan, Founder of Mindful Learning Lab
Seaside Dinner at River’s End Restaurant
There are certain dining experiences that stick with you for life, and this is one of them. Located right where the Russian River meets the Pacific Ocean, River’s End is lined with floor to ceiling windows and an incredible outdoor porch that showcases the incredible views and makes the food taste somehow even better. We loved the eclectic, unique, seasonal menu because there seemed to be something for every mood—from fresh seafood to local meats and flavorful vegetables—giving us the opportunity to tune inward and acknowledge what we were craving. Pro Tip: don’t miss the oysters.
Breakfast at Big Bottom Market
Infuse your morning with a jolt of creative energy at Big Bottom Market. These folks are famous for creating a biscuit so good, it even got Oprah’s attention. Enjoy their fluffy, flaky creations alongside creamy spreads and sweet and tangy jams, or as the base of an unforgettable sandwich. While you’re waiting for your food, shop the various snacks and sundry items available in their whimsical shop and let your curiosity lead the way.
Pro Tip: If you love the biscuits as much as we did, grab a bag of their biscuit mix to bring that good feeling home. A pro tip inside the pro tip is to mix the dry ingredients with buttermilk instead of water so that they come out more like the ones you’ll try in store!
Go Wild With Safari West
Enter into the "Sonoma Serengeti" and immerse yourself among the herds of wildebeest, rhinos, and giraffes. From ring-tailed lemurs to the dazzling zebra, nearly 900 animals from over 90 unique species roam through this 400-acre preserve. Since opening their doors in 1993, Safari West has been hyper-focused on three goals; conservation, education, and exploration. While on this 3-hour tour, you will have ample time to learn from wildlife experts and observe and connect with the species all around you. Allow your mind to relax as you share space with these magnificent animals who will, without a doubt, teach you something too if you listen closely enough. If you’re adventurous, the top of the Jeep is the best seat in the house.
Tour Medlock Ames Winery at Bell Mountain Ranch & Immersive Sound Experience
After lunch, it’s off to Medlock Ames Winery for a self-guided audio tour exploring the sights and sounds of this 340-acre ranch. This audio tour is brand new to Medlock Ames, introduced in January 2022. The goal of the tour is to provide guests an inside look into the critical elements of the organic farming and land preservation practices that are often unseen paired with nature sounds from the vineyard. To create this sound experience, a sound artist recorded over 1,000 hours of audio from different places in the winery. The app uses geolocation to serve up a personalized, completely immersive tour you won’t find anywhere else. Of course, a visit to a winery wouldn’t be complete without trying some of said wine! Following the tour, you will be guided through a tasting of six current-release wines, paired with local, organic cheeses.
Expert Tip: Embrace the energy of being alive. Take time at the top to pause and notice how your body feels. If you’re thinking about the past or the future, your heart rate and blood pressure are most likely elevated, while your immunity is slightly suppressed. Bring yourself into the present moment and notice the effects.
- Wendy Figone, Wellness Expert
CBD Massage at Vi La Vita at Vintner’s Resort
After two days of adventure, we were ready for some relaxation. And the spa at Vi La Vita was prepared to deliver. We opted for a CBD massage—a luxurious, Swedish-style massage that incorporates CBD oil, Birch and Arnica, followed by a full spectrum CBD cream which is applied to reduce inflammation for longer-lasting effects. This relaxing treatment ends with a targeted application of an Arnica cooling muscle gel for those problematic tense muscles. It may seem obvious to enjoy a spa experience at the beginning of a trip to start relaxing right away, but we absolutely loved experiencing this at the end of our trip, closing our travel with a moment of reflection and easing the transition back into the real world. After your service, be sure to spend some time in the lush Caldarium pool and relaxation lounge.
Dinner at John Ash Restaurant & Co. at Vintner’s Resort
After your massage, walk across the resort to dinner at John Ash & Co. This is the birthplace of wine country cooking with seasonal, local ingredients from Sonoma County. Featuring fresh flavors paired with the wines of the region, the menu has something for everyone—baked oysters with parmesan custard, blackened gulf prawns & sea scallops, even braised boneless prime beef short ribs braciole served with delicious sauteed Bloomsdale spinach & roasted garlic. If you could eat Sonoma County, we’re pretty sure this is what it would taste like. And don’t forget the wine—cheers!
Expert Tip: Linger. Try to avoid rushing through your trip. Lingering gives you the time to meet new people, explore a place more deeply, learn something, savor the moment. You are not in a race. It doesn’t matter what time it is. Hang out and see where your curiosity goes.
- Joe Robinson, Work-Life Balance and Stress Management Leader
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