Tag Archives: sonoma

7 Places You May Want to See in Northern California

If you’ve wanted to visit Northern California, here are 7 spots you may want to visit:

  1. Sonoma and Napa Valley
  2. Bodega Bay
  3. Fort Ross
  4. Armstrong Redwoods
  5. Mount Shasta
  6. Muir Woods Redwoods
  7. Stinson Beach

Sonoma and Napa Valley

If you’re in the mood for wine tasting, consider making Sonoma your hub. Cheaper than staying in Napa, it has amazing wineries and is a short 25 minute drive to Napa. A couple of our favorite wineries in Sonoma were Jacuzzi and B. R. Cohen.

Jacuzzi Winery in Sonoma
B. R. Cohn — Owned by legendary manager of the Doobie Brothers band

Since we were staying 3 weeks, we rented a beautifully appointed rental home situated on a couple of acres surrounded by vineyards. We would wake up each morning to hot air balloons and jack rabbits scouting food among the vineyards.

This was the view we woke up to each day:

Notice the hot air balloon in the horizon

We also visited Napa. One of our favorite spots to visit is Frog’s Leap. Not for the wine so much, but for the farm surrounding the winery — it is beautifully done.

It also has some reasonably priced golfing — some built around vineyards. I golfed Eagle Vines Golf Course and the 2 pm tee time cost less than $30. Most tee boxes had views of vineyards that can be reached with your drive if not careful.

Bodega Bay

Just an hour drive from Sonoma is Bodega Bay — the iconic beach town where Alfred Hitchcock shot the 1963 movie “The Birds”. A coastal town, we rented a beach front house with amazing views.

Although it is about 20 degrees colder than Sonoma (in the 60’s), it was nice to wake up with these views.

The Links at Bodega Harbour offers spectacular views of the bay — this was a really fun golf course to play and if you play after noon, it’s not very expensive.

There are ample hiking opportunities in Bodega Bay, here was our view from one of our hikes.

Fort Ross

We decided to drive north along the coast from Bodega Bay and we stumbled on Fort Ross. This was a great find, an old fort built my the Russians who occupied this land from 1812 to 1841. If you are in this area, it is certainly worth a stop.

Armstrong Redwoods

In less than 45 minutes, you can drive from Bodega Bay to the Armstrong Redwoods. This impressive park has lots of huge redwoods and fun hikes.

Mount Shasta

If you’re feeling adventurous, take a 5 hour ride north to Mount Shasta. We dedicated a weekend to it. It is a beautiful mountain with great hiking but it also is a sacred site because it is a Chakra Center of Gaia. Just like our bodies, Earth reportedly has seven chakras, or energy processing centers and Mount Shasta is one.

While we were there, I was practicing creating long exposure shots with my iPhone and I took this picture on one of the hikes. Long exposure gives water a silky look. If you want to learn how to do this — shoot me an email.

Muir Woods Redwoods

Even more impressive than Armstrong Redwoods is Muir Woods Redwoods. This park is much bigger and you must purchase a ticket before you get there (you can do this online). It has miles of trails via boardwalk — if you are in the area, this is a must!

Stinson Beach

A short distance from Muir Woods is Stinson Beach — a beach with a bohemian vibe. If you are in the area, it’s worth hanging out here for a few days.

Driving the Sonoma Coast

The Sonoma Coast is north of San Francisco, about a 4 hour slow ride along scenic highway 1.   We began our trip at Bodega Bay — this is where Alfred Hitchcock shot the iconic film “The Birds“.  There is not much evidence that the movie was shot here but you can recognize the area.  As you can see below, the coast is beautiful.

The Sonoma Coast

The Sonoma Coast

As we drove the twisting roads along the coast, it reminded me of Maui, Hawaii.  If you have ever driven the road to Hana and kept driving past Hana to the other side of the island, it looks a lot like this.  You will see cows sunbathing and enjoying the day.

Cows on the coast

Cows on the coast

Cows on the coast

Cows on the coast

After about 4 hours, we made our way to Point Arena to see the famous Arena Lighthouse.  As you can see, the views are incredible.

Point Arena

Point Arena

Point Arena

Point Arena

Point Arena

Point Arena – Ski Jacket and Flip Flops!

Point Arena

Point Arena

Point Arena

Point Arena

Point Arena

Point Arena

As we made our way towards the Sonoma wine country, we saw a lot of really cool farms.

Cool farms

Cool farms

Cool farms

Cool farms

After an hour on a long and winding road, we made it to the Navarro winery.  This is a cool winery that has some great white and red wines.  When we got there, we were famished, so we bought some wine and cheese and had a little picnic.

Navarro Winery

Navarro Winery

Navarro Winery

Navarro Winery

Picnic at Navarro Winery

Picnic at Navarro Winery

Navarro Winery

Navarro Winery

Our final stop for the day was Yorkville Cellars, a winery that uses sheep to groom their grass and fertilize the grapes.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen sheep in a vineyard before but hey, if it works…

Sheep providing fertilizer

Sheep providing fertilizer

xx

Yorkville Cellars