Van Vignettes: The Californian Coast

 Sonoma County 


Have you heard the expression, “I am home sick?” Well, I think I may be travel sick. In other words, I have the a severe case of the travel bug. Unfortunately due to the commitments of adult life, I need to remain on Australian soil for awhile before I can jet set off again. In order to relieve my cravings to travel, I’ve prescribed myself a day a week to reminisce and re-live my experiences through my blog.

Each Tuesday from today and every week for the next few weeks (or however long it takes!), I’ll be sharing my favourite eats, drinks and must-see attractions chronicled during my adVANtures road tripping through the USA.
This week we are starting where the road trip began, Sonoma County.
Located about an hour north of San Francisco, the picturesque and dynamic region of Sonoma County will fulfill the desires of every traveller. Foodies can indulge in beautiful local foods, beer and wines, while nature lovers can get lost exploring the stunning coastline and the Redwood forests provide the perfect challenge for any fitness fanatic.


The Fremont Diner

When you step inside The Fremont Diner, you’ll feel like you’ve traveled back in time to the 1950s. Decorated with antique knick-knacks from old street signs to glass Coca-Cola bottles lining the windowsills, The Fremont Diner offers a refreshing and utterly scrumptious eating experience. It sources the best local ingredients throughout Sonoma County to create a delicious menu of American diner food classics. From biscuits and gravy to a pulled pork burger with a side of fried beans, you better come hungry!  

Girl and the Fig
If you’re after something a little bit fancy, head down to Girl and the Fig on Spain Street in Sonoma. For over 17 years the Girl and the Fig provide a French Twist on country dining, tantalising the taste buds of locals and tourists. While the menu changes each Thursday to keep your inner foodie hungry for more, some favourites, like their steamed mussels, frequently re-appear on the menu (in other words, you must try their mussels!). 

The Spinster Sisters
Nestled away in downtown Santa Rosa, Spinster Sisters offers a delectable menu of modern and wholesome courses for every meal breakfast, lunch and dinner…they even have a brunch menu for lazy Sundays. Foods from a variety of different countries are incorporated into the menu to create unique flavours, the Korean-inspired kimchee and bacon deviled eggs are one delish example.  


In one of California’s largest wine producing regions, there are plenty of world-class wineries and breweries to quench your thirst and delight your taste buds.

Russian River Brew Pub
Barrel aged beers, Belgian-inspired ales, pub brews and year round brews, even if you aren’t a beer drinker you will enjoy the beer at Russian River Brewery. Opening their doors in Santa Rosa in 2003,  the pub is a well-established popular hangout for locals as well as a tourist destination for beer lovers.The numerous medals and awards adorned on the wall behind the timber bar are a good sign you’ll be in for some quality beer. To start off your visit purchase a sampler (see picture below), it’s a great way to taste the various brews on offer (include Russian River IPA and Happy Hops in your sampler, you won’t be disappointed).

Imagery Estate Winery
The rustic interior of Imagry’s tasting rooms and its stunning outdoor setting create a relaxing atmosphere to broaden your palate.Indulge in their extensive range of white and red wines, being a red person myself I recommend trying one of their bold Syrahs or Barberas’. Be sure to pair your wine with some of the fine cheeses on offer, try something different and taste their unique espresso coated cheese. After all that eating and drinking, walk around the art gallery at the local art on display.
P.S: Try and spot Imagery’s trademark Parthenon on each of their bottle labels!

Other favourites to check out include: B.R Cohn, Red Car Wine, Chateau Diana.


Sebastiani Theatre
The Sebastiani Theatre is the beautiful centrepiece of the Sonoma Plaza. This beautifully preserved 75 year old theatre attracts diverse crowds to its screenings of alternative films and live performances by musicians of various genres. The vintage movie house also houses the annual Sonoma International Film Festival every April.


Annadel State Park
Fitness fanatics will be in their element at Annadel State Park within its various terrain and great biking and walking trails. The Marsh Trail provides a scenic yet challenging ride through the tall and shady Redwoods. The Bennett Valley and Sugarloaf Ridge can be seen at higher points on the trail. 
Schoolhouse beach, Bodega Bay
Approximately a mile north of Bodega Bay is Schoolhouse Beach. The rock pools scattered along this small section of coastline are a source of hours of entertainment and exploring 
A friend of mine from Sonoma State University, Morgan Rucks sees Schoolhouse beach as a perfect way to impress on a date. 
“If you want a cheap date, you buy a bottle of wine and an avocado, drive out to Freestone and buy a loaf of bread at Wildflower Bakery and from there drive out to the coast and walk this whole section (indicated Schoolhouse Beach on a map of the area),” Rucks said.