“Travel can be one of the most rewarding forms of introspection.”
Pioneer partiers declared Sonoma an independent republic one drunken summer night in 1846, and Sonoma's historic downtown still shows independent spirit. There's no shortage of drink: Tasting rooms flank the old adobe barracks around the plaza, and on the edge of town, Gundlach Bundschu is growing organic grapes for an au-natural merlot in a former nudist camp. But even if you came to Sonoma for the wine, you'll stay for the creative artisan food at Tuesday and Friday farmers markets in town plaza, farmers-market-inspired fare at The Girl & the Fig and Café La Haye, and picnics featuring local Artisan Bakers baguettes with Vella Cheese's signature Sonoma jack. Pick up a few baking tricks from James Beard Award winners at Ramekins Sonoma, or unwind in Sonoma's natural mineral hot springs at Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn. Kids can be bribed into behaving while parents get massages with retro scale-model train rides at TrainTown Railroad and movies at Sonoma's landmark deco Sebastiani Theatre.