Your Guide to the Ultimate Sonoma Weekend

When you visit a place as beautiful and exciting as Sonoma Valley, finding fun is both easy and hard.

Easy because there’s so much to do and see.

Hard because it can be tough to pick just a few things to do from all your options.

Allow me to assist you in your pursuit of the perfect Sonoma weekend, and to name some of the places that I would be remiss if you missed!

And not to worry: there’s plenty to do regardless if it’s relaxation or adventure you’re after.

Saturday Morning

For relaxing – The first order of business for the morning: breakfast.

More specifically, mimosas and breakfast.

Enjoy the hearty KIS Benedict breakfast, complete with two poached Wise Acre Farm eggs, prosciutto, portabello, spinach, English muffin, and sauce Choron. Cap off your meal with an invigorating mimosa from our bar.

No ultimate Sonoma weekend would be complete without wine tasting, so after breakfast, it’s going to be the first item on the agenda.

Transportation? Already taken care of. Our drivers will take to you to any one of a number of incredible wineries that are just minutes from the Inn. One of our favorites is Gloria Ferrer in the town of Sonoma.

Spend the late morning and early afternoon on Gloria Ferrer’s Bubbles and Bites experience, where you’ll embark on a private tour and learn about the sparkling wine crafting process, all while sipping on the object of your education the whole time.

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‘Immigrant Tribute’ by Mario Schjetnan at Cornerstone Sonoma

For adventure – Head to the pleasant bustle of Cornerstone Sonoma, a gorgeous wine country marketplace in the town of Sonoma that boasts world-class shopping, wine tasting, art, beautiful gardens, and live music.

Lose track of time amongst the boutique shops and art installations. And when you’re all done, you’ll have a few keepsakes to remember Sonoma by.

Saturday Afternoon

For relaxing – Ever been frustrated at an amazing massage that is over too quickly?

This one lasts for 50 minutes. Our Ti Amo couples’ massage lasts for 80.

That’s the better part of a movie spent in relaxation heaven.

Sip on sparkling wine before heading to the Spa for a morning of pure bliss. Just don’t fall asleep, or you’ll miss the massage!

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Along the trails at Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve

For adventure  After you’ve indulged in some retail therapy, it’s time for nature therapy. The redwoods of the California coast are the tallest living things on Earth. Walk amongst them and rejuvenate your senses at Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve.

Go horseback riding on the East Ridge or Pool Ridge Trail, bring a picnic to eat amongst the trees, or visit Colonel Armstrong, a redwood tree that dates back to the fall of the Roman Empire.

Saturday Evening

For relaxing – Assuming you’re not too relaxed to move after your massage, head to the Restaurant for any one of our delectable Italian-inspired dishes.

Enjoy our wonderful Ravioli Di Zucca with house-made butternut squash, Fontina ravioli, and brown butter sage sauce, or indulge in premium cuts of beef with our Bistecca Di Manzo, seared prime New York steak with red wine demi-glaze and mashed potatoes.

Pair your steak with red wine from our wine list to cap off a day that will make you want to never leave the Valley.

For adventure – After working up an appetite while hiking in Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve, head to the Glen Ellen Star for a hearty meal to cap off the evening.

With dishes like margherita pizza, spring lamb ragu, and brick chicken with pozole verde, you’re sure to leave full and happy.

Sunday Morning

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Hamel Family Wines

For relaxing – Wake up to lox and bagels at the Inn before heading to Hamel Family Wines for their special Reserve Experience wine tour.

Enjoy a private tour of the winery, reserve room, caves, and vineyards before sitting down to tasting of four Estate Series wines and a combination of reserve wines, barrel samples, and library vintages.

For adventure – Bring your athletic wear, because it’s time to experience Sonoma by bike!

Getaway Adventures features bike tours that run through multiple Sonoma locations, including Calistoga, Healdsburg, Carneros, and their newest route which begins in Santa Rosa.

Cruise through the vineyards, trails, and backstreets of Sonoma with the wind in your face, as you enjoy the Valley the way it was truly meant to be enjoyed.

Sunday Afternoon

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By the pool at Kenwood Inn and Spa

For relaxing – Two words: poolside lounging.

Head back to the Inn for a dip in the pool, sip sparkling wine by the poolside, and bask in the afternoon sun. We don’t blame you if your eyelids feel heavy already.

For adventure – This section is already covered, because you’ll still be on your bike tour from Getaway Adventures! Tours typically last from 10:00 in the morning until 3:30 in the afternoon.

Sunday Evening

For relaxing – Head to El Dorado Kitchen for an excellent selection of entrees from Executive Chef Armando Navarro, including seafood paella, wild mushroom risotto, and bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin.

Their website describes their dishes as “deeply satisfying,” and we’d be inclined to agree. For extra ambiance, enjoy dinner outside in your own private cabana.

For adventure – Sonoma Speakeasy was featured in our last post, and it makes an appearance again here.

Enjoy live music and celebrity bartenders at this wonderfully divey bar in Sonoma. Sing along to classics from the ’60s and ’70s on Sunday nights to put the exclamation on a weekend that will leave your spirit refilled and rejuvenated for weeks to come.

To vacation!
Chelsea

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6 Jack London Quotes to Guide Your Sonoma Vacation

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“Across Sonoma Mountain, wisps of sea fog are stealing.
The afternoon sun smolders in the drowsy sky.
I have everything to make me glad I am alive.”

If there ever was a patron saint of Sonoma, it would be Jack London.

The celebrated writer lived and died in northern California, and seemingly everywhere one turns in Sonoma Valley, one can find a shop, street, or park with his name on it.

As it so happens, the wisdom of his writing provides an excellent guide to experiencing Sonoma at its finest.

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Along the Sonoma Overlook Trail

“To have a full stomach, to daze lazily in the sunshine–such things were remuneration in full for his ardors and toils.”

The Sonoma Overlook Trail has gorgeous views of the Valley, and makes for a fantastic photo opportunity the higher up one goes. The fields of green grass also make for a ideal picnic location.

Gather up your picnic basket and blanket, walk up the trail to the highest part of the hills, and spend an afternoon with a full stomach, dazing lazily in the sunshine. You’ll soon find that all the ardors and toils of your regular life have long since fluttered away.

“Don’t loaf and invite inspiration; light out after it with a club.”

Inspire yourself by being amongst the end results of others’ inspiration.

di Rosa Preserve is a premier collective of contemporary art on the southern border between Sonoma and Napa. Set on a gorgeous rural campus, di Rosa consistently features compelling work across multiple forms of media, from traditional paintings to beautiful sculptures and installations.

There’s a rare, almost somatic feeling of inspiration when inside an art museum. One can almost feel the creative parts of one’s brain lighting up in a happy glow, and the feeling is no different here. Indulge in the invigorating je ne sais quoi of great art at di Rosa… just don’t bring a club. A pencil for sketching will do fine.

di Rosa
5200 Carneros Hwy.
Napa, CA 94559

Aventine Glen Ellen

Aventine Glen Ellen

“Love is the sum of all the arts, as it is the reason for their existence.”

Once you’ve basked in artistic inspiration at di Rosa, set out to experience the reason for art itself on a romantic evening with the loved one in your life.

Dinner for two will always do the trick, and Aventine in Glen Ellen is the perfect spot for a cozy dinner together with Sonoma Valley Regional Park as your backyard.

Equal parts rustic charm and outdoor ambiance, Aventine features a delicious menu that will leave you with a lasting love for the art of Italian cooking.

Aventine Glen Ellen
14301 Arnold Dr.
Glen Ellen, CA 95442

“I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.”

Live! Live and live well! A distinct “carpe diem” attitude permeates much of London’s work, and would go on to be common themes in the work of many of London’s contemporaries like Kerouac and Ginsburg. Like the beat poets who came after him, London seemed to be acutely aware of the finite nature of life, and he was dead set (no pun intended) on making the most of it.

Make the most of your wine country getaway at Sonoma Speakeasy, a vibrant dive bar nestled away in the town of Sonoma that regularly features live music, dancing, and a healthy selection of beer and wine. If you’re looking for a place of refinement that’s pinky-out polite, keep looking. Sonoma Speakeasy is all about living it up and dancing the night away, and that’s just the way they want it.

Dance, laugh, drink, and be merry. It’s what Jack would have wanted.

Sonoma Speakeasy and American Music Hall
452 1st St. E
Sonoma, CA 95476

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Jack London State Historic Park

“The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.”

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the state park that shares his name. Jack London State Historic Park rests on the very acreage that London once called home.

In addition to the beautiful forested hills and natural setting, the park also features London’s ranch, which can be explored alone, or with the help of a docent.

Despite wanting to get “a quiet place in the country to write and loaf in and get out of Nature that something which we all need,” London did very little loafing, building a barn and purchasing farm equipment to transform his home into a full-blown ranch.

Suppress your inner loafer by walking the half-hour trail loop at Jack London State Historic Park, and cap off a wine country getaway that the man himself would be proud of.

Jack London State Historic Park
2400 London Ranch Road
Glen Ellen, CA 95442

Cheers,
Chelsea

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The Best Places for Pizza in Sonoma

Happy National Pie/Pi/3.14 Day to one and all!

While most minds would likely recall their favorite slice of apple or cherry pie today, we can’t help but think of pizza pie instead.

Thankfully, Sonoma has no shortage of pizza, and many restaurants just a few minutes drive from the Inn offer spins on this ubiquitous classic that would make even the staunchest Italian pizza traditionalists proud.

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Pizza al Prosciutto e Mascarpone at Cafe Citti

In Kenwood…

Café Citti is a wonderful trattoria a mere mile northwest of us in the town of Kenwood that mixes it up with delicious pizza specials that vary by the day. They also a have a house made Tuscan-style pizza that is available every day. View their full menu here.

Café Citti
9049 Sonoma Highway, Kenwood
707.833.2690
cafecitti.com
Lunch: Daily 11:30am to 3pm
Dinner: Daily 5pm to 9pm

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Margherita pizza at Glen Ellen Star

In Glen Ellen…

After a long stint at The French Laundry, Thomas Keller’s world famous Michelin-starred restaurant in Yountville, Chef Ari Weiswasser left to begin his own culinary venture. The result was the Glen Ellen Star, a beautiful, quaint restaurant with a gorgeous outdoor patio in Glen Ellen just south of Kenwood. Enjoy traditional margherita pizza, tomato cream pie pizza with aleppo chillies, or pizza with guanciale (a cured pork meat similar to pancetta) and arugula. View their full menu here.

Glen Ellen Star
13648 Arnold Drive, Glen Ellen
707.343.1384
glenellenstar.com
Monday – Friday: 5:30pm to 9pm
Saturday and Sunday: 5:30pm to 9:30pm

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Lamb sausage pizza at Red Grape Pizzeria

In Sonoma…

A fun fact about Red Grape Pizzeria is that it isn’t named for actual red grapes, but rather, sweet red grape tomatoes that make for such a delicious pizza topping. Here, thin, crispy crusts are the highlight, fired in a stone-lined pizza oven and made using all manner of fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. Their March special is a lamb sausage pizza with an olive oil and mozzarella base topped with merguez lamb sausage, Bel Paese cheese, mint, scallions, and chopped oil-cured black olives. View their full menu here.

Red Grape Pizzeria
529 First Street West, Sonoma
707.996.4103
theredgrape.com
Sunday – Thursday: 11:30am to 8:30pm
Friday and Saturday: 11:30am to 9:00pm

Happy Pie Day!
Chelsea

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About Chelsea

Chelsea DeMennoAs our in-house blogger, concierge and Sonoma guru, Chelsea helps create truly unique experiences...

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