Santa Rosa is truly the heart of Sonoma Wine Country. It is the center of all activity, with easy access to Healdsburg, Sebastopol, Sonoma and Petaluma.. But, for the most part - it is ignored as "wine country"
Here are some of my favorite places to visit in one afternoon:
Food: Criminal Baking Company. This small, tucked away cafe is a hidden gem within all of Sonoma County. With seasonal items in the case each day, every visit is a new experience. Dawn and her team love visiting local farms and baking with fruits and vegetables that are the freshest. Vist Criminal Baking for a late lunch, or grab a few goodies to go!
Pictures of vegan, butternut squash cupcakes and a housemade breakfast sandwich with bacon taken by Shana Bull (Disclosure: Criminal Baking Company is a client of mine).
Drink: Russian River Brewing Company. In 2015, you are not allowed to mention downtown Santa Rosa without mentioning one of the most loved breweries in the United States (ever heard of Pliny the Younger, well you are missing out on a great experience). This brewery is packed on the weekends, but if you have some time during the week - this is a must visit. Make sure to go with a small group of people and sit at the bar so you don't have to wait an hour for a table.
Image from Russian River Brewing Company's Facebook Page.
Fun: The Art / History Museum of Sonoma County just expanded and has a new exhibit each season. The building is an old post office with some weird quirks, and an outdoor sculpture garden. A personal favorite past exhibit: Robots: Evolution of a Cultural Icon (because, robots).
Side Note: They are just starting to build a large wine museum in a separate space downtown, which promises to be a great experience for wine geeks and history buffs.
Image of SLANG! Aesthetics from Robert Williams from Museums of Sonoma County's Facebook Page.