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Fun Things to Do in Sonoma County

With warm weather fast approaching, you may be planning on visiting wine country this spring or summer. If you do, we hope you stop by the Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate & Gardens, in Fulton (just north of Santa Rosa, in the Russian River Valley). We’d love to see you! And if you’re planning on spending some extra time in our beautiful wine country, you might be looking for some more fun things to do, so below you’ll find a few of our favorite summer activities.

Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate & Gardens is located right off the main 101 Freeway, between two major population centers in the valley: Santa Rosa, the county seat of Sonoma County, and Healdsburg. We’re only about 65 miles north of San Francisco; if you’re coming up from the city, you have the added treat of crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, with its expansive views. That is, if the fog hasn’t rolled in!

Wine country during the warm months offers the best of two worlds. You have the urbane attractions of the cities: great restaurants, museums, performance centers and shopping. Healdsburg in particular has gone glitzy over the years, and is now an upscale destination of wine bars, art galleries and fancy clothing boutiques. There are plenty of hotels to stay at in the region, ranging from your basic airport-style chains to luxurious lodging.

These population centers are mainly to the east of the freeway. To the west, pavement and asphalt yield to the rural splendor of Redwood forests, mountains, rivers and, of course, vineyards. During the summer, folks love all sorts of outdoor activities: swimming in the Russian River, biking, hiking, river rafting, canoeing and kayaking, horseback riding, golfing, and visiting the many winery tasting rooms that line the major east-west roads, River Road and Westside Road. You can even zip line through the forest canopy.

Scattered throughout the Russian River Valley are the small towns that capture much of its charm: Sebastopol, Guerneville, Graton. Some, like Rio Nido and Cazadero, are barely hamlets. On a nice day you can enjoy the drive out to the coast. Bodega Bay, to the south, and Jenner-by-the-Sea, to the north, both afford great opportunities for beach walking, whale watching (in season) and, of course, great seafood.

So, even though it may be frigid where you are now, break out the sandals and swimsuits. Summer’s just around the corner. Come see us at Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate & Gardens and let our friendly staff say hi!

Steve Heimoff is one of America’s most respected and well-known wine writers. The former West Coast Editor for Wine Enthusiast Magazine and a contributor to Wine Spectator, he has also authored two books on the subject of California wine, including “New Classic Winemakers of California: Conversations with Steve Heimoff,” published in the fall of 2007.

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