Sebastopol walks a narrow line between quirky-cool and not-so-hippie-chic. In fact, had the Upper Haight not become such a theme park itself, you could easily imagine it might look a lot like this Sonoma County town.
Oddities, bookshops, and macchiatos abound in the blocks surrounding Healdsburg’s well-manicured central plaza, just 69 miles north of the city. Residents and regulars of the Valencia Street corridor know that if there’s a requisite ingredient to achieving the local vibe, it is artisan cult coffee.
Surrounded by grapes and vineyards, soaking up the warm ambience of Calistoga is easy. Sitting at the northern end of Napa Valley, it’s further from San Francisco than many of its well-known Wine Country neighbors, but thanks to geothermal hot springs, this laid-back spa city’s warm welcome will make you forget about the extra minutes in the car.
Dogpatch is one of those neighborhoods, just on the outskirts of town, that feels a little like an urban wilderness. Boonville, sort of the downtown of Anderson Valley, may be the Dogpatch of Wine Country.
For romantics and history buffs, the East Brother Light Station and Victorian Bed & Breakfast is a one-night getaway par excellence. This is a rare chance to cuddle up in a 133-year-old working lighthouse, where the summer months are mercifully free of foghorn noise, in one of just five updated Victorian-era rooms. “Guests say it’s like stepping back in time,” says innkeeper Peter Berkhout, who runs the B&B with his wife (and chef) Dina.
It’s no secret that we’re proud of our wine in San Francisco, and for good reason, as it’s been a major reason why this part of California has been put on the map. However, there’s more to wine in the U.S. than just Northern California. Below, we highlight three other notable wine regions around the U.S.
It’s easy to forget, but there’s more to Sonoma than just grapes. A touch over three miles off the town square there’s a special spot of shade. Set along a brook, among a grove of oak trees you’ll find picnic tables and a trapeze rig. You know the song, fly through the air with the greatest of ease. Move over Cirque du Soleil, you no longer have to run away from home to join the circus. You can just run to Sonoma.
While San Francisco sits on the Pacific Ocean, it doesn’t have the wildlife viewing opportunities that many have come to expect from the west coast.
In fact, you have a better chance of seeing wildlife in the San Francisco Bay, such as the sea lions at Pier 47 or the occasional dolphin. Just off the coastline you can have the excitement of possibly seeing great white sharks at the Farallon Islands, although it may not have the allure you’re looking for.
However, take a short flight north to Alaska and you’ll find some of those unique wildlife viewing opportunities that you’ve heard about in the Pacific Ocean, but may have not experienced firsthand for yourself, such as whale watching.