Perfect Day – Beth Costa

Marcy Gordon on Aug 14, 2019

Beth Costa, Executive Director of the Wine Road knows how to make the most of her free time. Her idea of a Perfect Day is filled with the best of Northern Sonoma County, both indoors and out.


Inviting cup of cappuccino
Plank Coffee cappuccino

I live in Cloverdale, and my first stop to start any Perfect Day is Plank Coffee. I love the coffee and the crew that works there. They also just opened a second location in Healdsburg, about a block from our office (could be a problem for me).


Vineyard in spring with cover crop between the rows and hills in the background.
Vines in Dry Creek Valley

Then I’d head south on Highway101 to Dutcher Creek Road, and head toward Dry Creek Valley. Of the highway you are immediately surrounded by hillsides, vineyards, and beautiful trees. I take a deep breath and take it all in as I begin to leave all worries and responsibilities behind for the day.


A red barn surrounded by vineyards with fog shrouded trees and hills in the background.
Beautiful vistas in every direction

Next I’d head toward Healdsburg and Westside Road for more vineyard views and a curvy road all the way to Guerneville. There are plenty of wineries along the way if you wanted to do some tasting. Most do not require an appointment.


Front of Big Bottom Market
Big Bottom Market — the place with the best biscuits!

Once in Guerneville, my coffee will be gone, so I’ll stop at Big Bottom Market for another coffee (yes, it’s a habit) and one of their famous “Oprah’s favorites” biscuits. You cannot go wrong, sweet or savory – your call.  Then I’d stroll around town, there are tons of funky galleries, toy stores, general stores, bakery (in an old bank vault) and depending on the time, I try to cruise up to Armstrong Woods. You can make a full day of hiking here, but I like to just stroll around the main entrance area. This gives me my outdoor fix, the smell of moss, redwoods, and beautiful ferns. I just love it here! I grew up in Humboldt County, surrounded by Redwoods, so this is for sure my happy place.


Sign for Historic Duncans Mills
Great dining and shopping await you in Duncans Mills

When I’m good and relaxed I’d continue toward the coast, maybe stopping in Duncans Mills for a quick peek into the shops there. Super cool jewelry, funky housewares, tea in every imaginable flavor with all of the necessary gadgets to make a perfect cup.


Spud Point Crab Co. Bodega Bay blue oval sign with a crab in the middle.
Spud Point Crab Co. — the best crab sandwich in town

Then off to what I really need, the ocean!  I head south at the junction of River Road and Highway 1, toward  Bodega Bay. There are endless areas to pull over and just drink in the views. I usually stop 4-5 maybe 6 times, because I just can’t get enough of the views. It does not matter what the weather is like, it’s always beautiful at the ocean – rain or shine. Ultimately I want to get to Spud Point Crab Shack. The name says it all. Order a crab sandwich to go, then drive up to Bodega Head. There are a couple of picnic tables there to eat lunch, take in the view, talk to some seagulls and recharge.  If the wind is blowing, I just park and eat in the car, you can still take in the view.


A vintage poster of Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds
Poster for The Birds filmed in Bodega

When I’m ready to head back, I continue down Highway 1 the turn-off toward the small town of Bodega (where Alfred Hitchcock filmed The Birds).


View of store fronts with The Barlow sign overhead
Entrance to The Barlow shops and restaurants in Sebastopol

Continue on toward Sebastopol. Depending on the time of day I’ll cruise into The Barlow, check out what’s new. There is a great collection of breweries, restaurants and shops to browse thorough.

Afterwards I head back to Highway 101 for a straight shot to Cloverdale. In one day, I can enjoy vineyard views, pastures with sheep and cows grazing, redwoods, the ocean and trendy shopping in Sebastopol. This is my FAVORITE day and I try to do this exact itinerary at least 4-5 times a year. It has a different feeling in every season, as the vineyards change, wild flowers bloom and the sun streams through the redwoods and shines on the ocean differently throughout the year. It really is a perfect day to me.

Posted by Marcy Gordon

Marcy Gordon is a freelance wine and travel writer. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications including Wine Enthusiast, San Francisco Chronicle, Sonoma Magazine, The California Travel Guide, and Forbes Travel Guide. In 2017 she was awarded a fellowship to the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers. She is the co-host of the award winning Wine Road Podcast.

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