TRAVEL & LEISURE / CALIFORNIA
Take An Epic Northern California Road Trip
By ERSE 21 Media
When it comes to wine, California is the undisputed champion, boasting an array that includes white, red, sparkling, and even flavored varieties. Embarking on a California journey without indulging in its world-famous wines is like skipping dessert – unthinkable. And what better way to savor this liquid gold than with a personalized tour of Northern California, where each sip is the cherry on top of an already delightful experience.
But don't rush, or rather, uncork the bottle strategically, because before you dive headfirst into the wine-filled adventure, a bit of trip planning is in order. Buckle up; there's a lot to uncork along the way.
Just 35 miles north of San Francisco lies the enchanting Napa and Sonoma Valley, the veritable home of California wines. This region, kissed by the romantic union of the Russian River and Pacific Coastline, offers more than just a wine tour – it's a journey through time. Rolling hills adorned with vineyards, a majestic line of redwoods, historic towns, and lush gardens create a canvas that's both vintage and vibrant.
Bring your pals along for this wine-soaked escapade, and don't forget to pack your digital camera – the scenery is postcard-perfect and demands to be captured. As you head north, the tranquil farmlands and picturesque vineyards of Calistoga and St. Helena unfold. Calistoga, also dubbed the "hot springs" of the West, is not just about mud baths – there's the Sharpsteen Museum, the Faithful Geyser, and exhilarating hot air balloon rides. St. Helena, nestled in the heart of Napa Valley, lives by a simple motto: eat, drink, and be merry! Established as part of General Vallejo's land grant in 1834, St. Helena continues the tradition of living the good life.
As you set foot in Santa Rosa, Sonoma's largest city, relaxation takes center stage. Your social trip planner might suggest immersing yourself in Santa Rosa's art and culture or challenging you to a cycling tour. Opt for one or both, and relish the blend of old-fashioned hospitality, urban art, recreation, and of course, wine.
Venturing through Sonoma and into Bodega Bay, you encounter the remnants of the old Miwok and Pomo Indian settlement.
Once a hub for hunting, gathering, and bountiful harvests from the seas and rivers, Bodega Bay took a turn in 1775 when Captain Smith erected California's first steam-powered sawmill. Now home to less than 100 residents, it's better known as the eerie backdrop for Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds."
Continuing your vinous odyssey, Healdsburg welcomes you with open arms. Nestled in the center of three valleys and housing 60 wineries, Healdsburg has a rich history – from Pomo Indian villages along the Russian River to Gold Rush settlers forming farming communities. Now hailed as the heart of wine country, a journey along West Dry Creek Road unveils more wineries like Lambert Bridge, Quivira, and Preston, inviting you to savor the fruits of the vine. Cheers to a trip filled with swirls, sips, and the unmistakable taste of California's finest!