Visiting wine country doesn’t have to be all about wine…there are other fun things to see and do. Here’s a quick round-up:
Visit a real castle at Castello di Amarosa — they’ve even got a moat…. Go to one of the world’s best wine/food bookshops at The Culinary Institute at Greystone (housed in the historic Christian Brothers winery) … Drive up Howell Mtn. and experience living history at ghost wineries like Ladera …
…Take the kids to Coppola near Healdsburg, where they can swim in a pool (two pools actually, with a swim through feature), have poolside pizza and you can enjoy the wine — Coppola makes sure the pool isn’t overcrowded or noisy and you can rent a private cabin with shower and change room … Shop Sonoma Plaza. Its neat, trendy stores offer all kind of goodies, wine-related and not … Drive out to the coast through Sebastopol and get the beautiful drift of “cool climate” Sonoma … Hang out in Healdsburg Square and watch farm hands, winery owners, tourists and toddlers under the generous shade of the huge trees … Visit Jack London State Historic Park in Glen Ellen for a great hike and a bit of history.
Explore the “Urban Wine Trail” in downtown Santa Barbara, more than 17 wineries plus restaurants. The beach is a couple of blocks away with one of the best swimming spots, East Beach, just down Cabrillo Blvd.
Or, hop over to the harbor and walk on the quay for a spectacular view of this red-roofed slice of heaven…
Visit Lucas & Lewellen in downtown Solvang and explore all its Danish heritage and knick knacks, or take a ride at gorgeous Alisal Ranch to see Old California ranch country up close and personal … visit Santa Barbara’s Botanical Gardens in Mission Canyon, after you tour California’s most charming old mission — later, you can toast the missionaries for planting the Golden State’s first vines.
Have we missed anything? You bet we have! Fill us in, would you?