1. Be a Pioneer at Fort Ross State Park
This historical settlement dates back to 1812, when it was an important trading post that helped send vital food supplies to the pioneer communities in Alaska. Be sure to visit the chapel and the Rotchey House—one of the few surviving original structures. They’ve also reconstructed the blockhouses and stockades, to give visitors a chance to get a “feel” of life in early America.
2. Visit Lake Sonoma, Healdsburg
Lake Sonoma has something for everyone—families, couples, or even individuals seeking a few hours of serene solitude. You can hike, swim, ride a boat or a horse, hunt, and even set up camp.
There are nearly 17,700 acres to explore, full of trails and groves full of oak, madrone, alder, redwood and bay trees. These encircle the lake and the surrounding hills, and are full of amazing wildlife—deer, rabbits, birds, and one of America’s endangered species, the peregrine falcon. In early spring and summer, the forest floor is carpeted with wildflowers of every color.
Bring a picnic basket and a camera—this is one place you can’t miss.
3. Experience a Scenic Air Tour “Above California”
Experience California from a completely different perspective – from the air! These amazing aerial tours will take you through the famous Sonoma and Napa Wine Country— through vineyards and valleys, over the mountain peaks and the rippling waters of the Pacific Coast. You’ll even get to see places accessible only through plane (and imagine what kind of pictures you’ll be able to take!).
All pilots are FAA certified, and give an informed and interesting commentary on the region’s history, geography and ecosystems. Truly an “Experience of a Lifetime” you’ll remember forever.
Visitors can also ask for customized tours and photography flights. Visit [http://www.sonomacountyairport.com/scenic-air-tours.php] for more information or call North Coast Air at: 707-542-8687 (TOUR).
4. Cruise Along America’s Famous Hwy. 1
They don’t call this American Road for nothing. California’s state route, Highway 1, takes visitors past one of the world’s longest stretches of coastlines. Enjoy mile after mile of ocean view, refreshing breeze, and clear, blue sky. Then, stretch your legs at any of the many golden beaches. Dive into the water, work on that tan, or lounge in the shade with a cold drink and a good nook.
5. “Ooh and Aah” at The Old Faithful Geyser
Think of geysers as natural recurring steam baths. These stone cones cast a scalding fountain of water up to 75 feet into the air. However, most breakouts are irregular and unpredictable—only three in the world actually have constant, predictable eruptions.
One of them is found in Calistoga. This Old Faithful erupts every 20 to 30 minutes, though rainfall can cause it to “blow” more frequently, but with less intensity. Visitors say it’s an “amazing experience” that draws oohs and aahs every time. Pack a picnic lunch and grab a table near the geyser.
6. Be a Farmer for a Day on “Sonoma County Farm Trails”
For one day, you can experience being farmer for day—go berry picking, feed the sheep and llamas, and bite into apples that had been picked off the branches just minutes before. You can get free trail maps that will lead you though different produce farms, breweries, cheese factories and wineries. You can also buy fruits and vegetables directly from the farmer.
You can also sign up for the Gravenstein Apple Fair held every year from August 11 to 12. For more information, visit http://www.farmtrails.org
7. Enjoy Ferrari Carano Winery
In just 2 decades the Ferrari-Carano winery had become one of America’s leading producers of world class wines. You can schedule a wine tasting tour from Monday to Saturday, and avail of any of the several fun but informative programs. Sample different vintages, paired with cheese, chocolate and dried fruit.
Test your “smell memory”. Find out how to pair wine with different dishes. Or, ask for a customized tour (by appointment only).
Schedule wine tours by emailing Mandy Cuthbert at email@example.com. You can also take your trip to “new heights” with an amazing aerial tour of the region’s vineyards. Visit http://www.SonomaCountyAirport.com to book your memorable scenic air tour.
8. Visit Ancient Redwood Trees at Petrified Forest, Calistoga
Geologists say that the Petrified Forest in Calistoga has one of the world’s best fossil forests. These ancient redwood trees were buried under tons of volcanic ash, freezing life as it was 3,000 years ago. So, when you walk through the woods, you literally walk back in time—seeing insects and animals (some of them now extinct), ancient leaves turned to stone, caught mid-furl.
The park is dotted with signposts that explain key fossils and geology. At the end of the 20 minute tour, visitors can relax in the picnic area.
9. Go on a Wild Safari at “Safari West Animals”
This unique 400 acre wildlife preserve is home to over 400 animals and birds, some of them endangered. There are zebras, giraffes, lemurs, several cats and much, much more. Great for families and all nature lovers, it’s the closest people can get to an “African reserve” while on American soil.
The tours last three hours each and are led by an experienced naturalist. Visitors are also free to explore the inner compound at leisure, where they can make friends with friendly animals like giraffes and moneys, and enjoy the music of the birds in the open-air aviary.
Entrance fee is $58 per person. For more information, visit http://www.safariwest.com
10. Come Say “Hi” to Snoopy at the Charles M Schulz Museum
The world owes much to Charles M. Schultz, the creator of the beloved comic strip, Peanuts. His lovable characters were not only funny, but often incredibly philosophical—from the existential angst of Charlie Brown, to the carefree spirit of Snoopy.
Charles Schultz’ closest friends and family established the Schultz museum in 2002, in the heart of his hometown, Sonoma County. Collections include over 6,000 drawings, samples of thematic work from 1950 to 2000, and priceless preliminary sketches for Peanuts.
Direct flights straight into the heart of the Wine Country are now available at none other than the Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport. The Airport was recently re-named to pay tribute to the local artist.
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