The past couple of weeks have finally brought spring to the Bay Area. I spent last weekend in Sonoma to celebrate a friend's birthday, and loved exploring Guerneville. We stayed at an Airbnb with vineyard views and a hot tub. It's walking distance to downtown Gureneville, Johnson's Beach, a bunch of tasting rooms and restaurants, and some cute tiny stores.
Guerneville has a cool, retro, 1950s vibe. There's an tiny downtown which can get packed in the summer, but was perfect this time. Normally when we're in Guerneville it's to spend a sun-soaked afternoon at Johnson's Beach, but this time we adventured around town and found some amazing ice cream, maybe the cutest tasting room ever, and tons of wildflowers!
The tasting room and the ice cream are both inside a renovated and historically preserved old bank building. The Guerneville Bank Club is a relatively new space, and is full of surprises. The local historic society lives here, along with Chili Pies Baking Company, some amazing rose ice cream, the newly opened Bank Club Wine Collective (serious #housegoals and #bohovibes in here!), and a little home goods store. We did a tasting at the Wine Club ($10/each) and learned a ton about two local wineries. The tasting includes a generous assortment of wines from two families that have come together to create the collective. The flavors are approachable, local and easy to drink. There were rare Italian grape varietals, a rose, a white that I loved and wound up purchasing, and several note worthy reds. This place was a gem, and I'm so lucky we stumbled across it!
If you're looking for lunch, the Market has a great selection of sandwiches, and they have Pliney. Without a limit on bottles per person.
Being in Sonoma during spring felt really special. It felt like we had the place to ourselves. We spent a bunch of time sitting on the patio, catching up with friends, and cooking and eating together. The weekend felt slow and intentional and unplugged. The light was warm, but the angle and the crisp air gave the whole place a completely different vibe than it has in summer. The vines were just waking up, there were deer everywhere, and the beach wasn't yet a beach. Still, I can't wait to go back when the days are longer and the temps much higher.
If you're headed up to Sonoma during summer, you have to check out Johnson's Beach. It's one of my favorite places in the Bay Area. You can rent an inner tube to float, an umbrella, or a canoe. There's a protected swimming area, and the whole beach is super cute and family friendly. There's drinks and snacks for sale, and it's super mellow. And beer. There's beer for sale too, which is amazing.
There's plenty of traditional wine tasting. A few wineries and tasting rooms that have made my list:
- Korbel Winery
- Porter Bass Winery
- Rio Crest
- Russian River Vineyards
- Iron Horse Vineyards