12 Hours in Sonoma: Escape The City

Elaine Choi

While San Francisco is a city that does not require a car within city limits, there are definitely advantages to having a car in being able to explore all the bay has to offer. These options include, but are not limited to hiking, picnics, camping, beaches, mountains, and of course, wine country.

Sonoma City Hall

Let’s pause for a minute to think about where you would be if you were to drive 45 minutes outside of downtown LA. You would either find yourself stuck on the 405, passing the Santa Monica pier, (which can often be a nightmare on sunny days…aka. ALWAYS) or driving down the 10-Eastbound through a desert abyss. Take your pick. In San Francisco however, 45 minutes takes you to a waterfront brunch spot in Sausalito, overnight camping on Angel Island, or sipping wine, soaking in the sun, and exploring the quaintness of Sonoma County. While the activities others listed I’ll elaborate on another day here’s a guide to help you plan your next 12 hours in Sonoma.

1. 00am, Fremont Diner

Diner, American

Luckily, Sonoma County is only a short 45-minute drive from the city. So feel free to mosey your way on over to wine country. Pack some snacks, your favorite playlist, a light sweater, and a nice camera if you’ve got one.Even if you’re snacking in the car, you can always find yourself ready for a full meal after a long car ride. Stop off at Fremont Diner,a local favorite, where you can order both the shrimp and grits, as well as the lemon ricotta pancakes. But the diner is guaranteed to have something for everyone…chicken and waffles, anyone? Fig toast? Fremont Diner, 2698 Fremont Dr, Sonoma, CA 95476, United States +1 707-938-7370

2. 00pm, Ledson Winery


If you can’t find a friend to be your designated driver for the day, We’d recommend parking your car in the town square and using a Vern’s Taxi Service to chauffer you and your friends to different wineries in the area for an hourly rate of $36. Wine tasting often takes about 2 to 4 hours depending on the number of wineries you choose to go to and the price can often be well worth not having to fight with your friend over who can’t drink.Logistics aside, you might not be hankering for a full bodied red after a hearty brunch, unless you ordered any kind of pork dish that would go well with a medium to full bodied red, so take it easy and enjoy the 30-minute drive to Ledson Winery mansion. Make sure you book an appointment before you arrive if you’re looking to enjoy a guided tasting. Otherwise, feel free to enjoy the architectural details, the rolling hills, and the lush vineyards.

3. 30pm, Benziger Winery


A Creative Commons
Ledson Winery Castle|Jon Parise/Flickr
Once you’ve finished Snapchatting and Instagramming your way through the estate, head on town to Benziger winery for some quality wine tasting and a tour of one of the more well known vineyards in the area. They are generous in their tastings, and hotels can usually offer a tasting deal, which is why we recommend checking in wherever you are staying before you embark on your wine tasting tours.

9:00pm, The Lodge at Sonoma Renaissance Resort and Spa

Lights out. It’s amazing how 12 hours passes so quickly yet so slowly in wine country. You’re able to pack so much into a day, but everything you do has all of the elements of a perfect vacation – good food, quality wine, and time with friends. It’s easy to forget that you are a mere 45 minutes away from the city as you drift to sleep. Really, life could be worse.

By Elaine Choi

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