Editor’s Note: Marcy Gordon is co-host of the Wine Road Podcast: The Wine When & Where of Sonoma County.
When I’m not reading, researching, or recording for the podcast, I like to seek out quiet places along the Wine Road. Winter in Northern Sonoma is ideal for those looking to hang out in a cozy tasting room or café. It’s the perfect time to visit tasting rooms too—the crowds are gone and the pace is leisurely. My local favorites for top-notch wines and laid-back atmosphere include Red Car, Paul Matthews, Balletto, and Jigar.
For my Perfect Day, I keep it intensely local, ditch the car, and walk to downtown Sebastopol. I stop by Copperfield’s Books, browse the stacks, then pick out a book and head over to Retrograde Coffee for a turmeric latte and a blueberry muffin and read for a while. The next stop is Food Mechanic for one of their sensational salads and if the skies are clear, I get the salad to go and walk to Ragle Ranch Park for a picnic al fresco and take a hike afterward.
Back in town, I go to the hip and happening Fern Bar located at The Barlow for a pre-dinner cocktail or a seasonal shrub—a non–alcoholic beverage that’s both refreshing and good for you, made with a delicious blend of probiotics and herbal essences. For dinner, I’ll go to Barrio for a pork belly torta and sit out under the heat lamps, or head indoors to Ramen Gajjin for the most authentic Japanese ramen this side of Tokyo.
After dinner, ice cream is required and Screamin’ Mini’s is the spot! Look for their world map with pins placed by visitors from all over the world and sample the various seasonal-inspired flavors. Later, I stroll home along Florence Avenue and admire all the fantastical “junk” sculptures by local artist Patrick Amiot. It’s a veritable open-air art show and a delightful way to revel in the Sebastopol vibe. It is also a wonderful way to end my perfect winter day in my hometown along the Wine Road.