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Bodega Bay and Sonoma County

August 28, 2012

Mid-August we took a trip up to Bodega Bay in Sonoma County. We’ve slowly been crossing things off our list of things to do as good Californians (which we’re sadly quite behind on), and one of those things is a visit to Wine Country. Visiting a ton of wineries isn’t high on our list of things to do with a child, so instead we choose the coast and exploring some of the smaller towns in western Sonoma.

Bodega Bay, for those who aren’t up on their Hitchcock, was the setting for Hitchcock’s The Birds. But we crossed our fingers that they wouldn’t overdo the link and a booked a room at the Inn at the Tides. Of course, it helped that we decided to go on relatively short notice and there weren’t many other alternatives available…

Overall we were pleased by the hotel. While not trendy and fashionable, it was comfortable and well-located, with a nice view of the bay. Plus it was right next to a pasture with cows. Who doesn’t love cows?

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Bodega Bay itself was cute but small. Aside from a few restaurants and stores there wasn’t a lot of there there. Although we did have a dinner and complimentary breakfasts at The Tides restaurant (it’s associated with the hotel). The food was good (they get fresh fish right off the fishing boats), but the view was better.

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(Quick mobile device note: I brought my Galaxy S3 with me instead of my iPhone to see how it fared. Overall it did well, but I really missed having HDR for photos taken with the camera!)

Since Bodega Bay itself was smaller than we expected, we took the opportunity to scout out some of the other small towns in Sonoma as candidates for future visits. Duncan Mills had a bunch of fun shops to poke around, and we had an amazing lunch at the Cape Fear Cafe.

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After lunch we headed on to Guerneville, where we walked around a bit and checked out the pedestrian bridge over the Russian River. The town had a very walkable main street, but there didn’t seem to be a lot to do besides float on the river itself. But there were a lot of people doing that, and it did look like a great way to spend a semi-lazy day.

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We then headed on to Sebastopol, with a quick stop at Kozlowski Farms (their honey mustard is awesome). At Sebastopol we stopped by Copperfield’s Books, where we bought Anna a copy of the latest Judy Moody book (apparently Megan McDonald lives in Sebastopol; who knew?), and Sonoma Chocolatiers, where Kate bought a variety of tasty treats. After that we headed back to Bodega Bay. Our initial impression of Sonoma: my but there are a lot of small towns.

For our second day we decided on a lazy trip down Route 1 before eventually returning to San Francisco. We had two goals for the day: visiting Cowgirl Creamery in Point Reyes Station and the Point Reyes National Seashore. We accomplished the first right around lunchtime, and I must say that their ham, Mount Tam, lettuce, and Dijon mustard sandwich is amazing (my daughter agrees).

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After buying cheese to take home we then headed over to Point Reyes. Since we’d never been before we stopped first at the Visitor’s Center, and then decided heading over to the Point Reyes Lighthouse sounded like the most fun (particular given that our daughter was not up for a long hike that day). The drive to the lighthouse was pretty but foggy as we got closer to the coast, and also rather surprising: who knew there were so many grandfathered ranches in the National Seashore (hint: not us)?

The area around the lighthouse itself is supposed to be a great place for whale watching in the winter and early spring, but it was rather hard to tell: in the summertime it’s apparently usually foggy, and it certainly was that day.

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But the short hike to the lighthouse itself was fun (but windy; apparently they’ve measured winds over 110 MPH at the lighthouse, although it was only 35-40 MPH on the day we visited), and I enjoyed seeing the lighthouse itself. And from the lighthouse you could actually see down to the ocean below. I’d like to come back in the early spring when it’s apparently much clearer and actually try to see some gray whales (April is apparently a good time, particularly to see calves).

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Overall the trip was a lot of fun, but I’ll confess that Sonoma was different than I expected. Next time I’d be curious to see some of the bigger towns (Healdsburg, Petaluma, etc.) to see how they compare. And of course once our daughter is older it’d be fun to visit the wineries as well…

From → Travel

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