ART & CULTURE
The Historic Sonoma Plaza, the largest town square of its kind in California, is just a short four-block walk from MacArthur Place. Approaching the Plaza, notice Sonoma’s City Hall which stands proud in the middle of the eight-acre park. Taking a stroll around the Plaza is like stepping into California history; passing the Mission San Francisco de Solano, the last and northernmost of the California Missions, the Mexican Barracks, and the Depot Museum. Several other historic structures on the Plaza now house fantastic restaurants, boutiques, bookstores, and wine shops. Many visitors spend most of their stay in Sonoma just walking the Plaza!
Other must-see historic locations in the area include General Vallejos Home which is located on Spain Street just a few blocks west from the Plaza. A former Mexican commandante, Vallejo called his home Lachryma Montis, in Latin meaning “Tears of the mountain,” after a local Indian legend. The house is a classic two story, “Yankee Style Gothic” and is open 10:00 am 5:00 pm.
A short drive to Glen-Ellen offers a visit to Jack London State Park. A historical tour of the site of the famed authors Wolf House (which burned before he and his wife were able to move in) is available at a minimal charge. Take along a picnic and enjoy the beautiful setting of this historic park.
For a unique and entertaining way to learn about Sonoma’s history, food and wine, try the George Webber’s Experience. It’s much more than a walking tour! 707-694-5097
There are some outstanding performing arts options in Sonoma Valley. Transcendence Theatre Company presents Broadway under the Stars. This series of outstanding summer concerts features Broadway and Hollywood performers in the breathtaking open air ruins of Jack London State Park. Shows always sell out so reserve in advance! 877-424-1414.
The sculpture throughout our gardens is just a sampling from an amazing collection at the Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley Gallery in Yountville 707-944-0889. The di Rosa Preserveoffers the world’s largest collection of California Bay Area Contemporary Art – more than 2,000 pieces. Set on 217 beautiful and historic acres in the Carneros, the Preserve is available for guided tours by appointment 707-226-5991; Cornerstone Festival of Gardens is located on Arnold Drive just past Gloria Ferrer Winery on the way into Sonoma and showcases some of the world’s foremost landscape designers in approximately 25 completely unique and thought inspiring outdoor display gardens 707-933-3010; The Sonoma Valley Museum of Art is located on Broadway between MacArthur Place and the Plaza and has changing exhibits 707-939-7862; La Haye Art Center is located on the Sonoma Plaza and features a number of local artists; If your visiting Napa, The Hess Collection Winery has an extensive collection of contemporary paintings and sculpture 877-707-HESS.
Sonoma’s Farmers Markets are a great way to experience Sonoma’s bounty of locally grown foods and meet and mingle with our local residents. Sonoma’s Tuesday night Farmers Market is on Sonoma Plaza from 5:30 pm to dusk. It begins the 1st Tuesday in May and runs through the last Tuesday in October and is very popular. Picnicking and wine drinking on Sonoma Plaza are permitted. Our year-round Farmers Market is on Fridays at 241 W. 1st Street at Arnold Field and runs from 9 am – 12:30 pm. Both markets have food vendors as well offering a variety of dining options.
Sonoma Plaza is 4 blocks from the Hotel and has a large children’s playground. Sonoma Train Town is on Broadway a few blocks from the Hotel and has rides and the most developed scale railroad in the Americas (Hours and days open vary by season – please check website) 707-938-3912; The Charles M. Schulz Museum is about a 30 minute drive into Santa Rosa and is the official Museum of the “Peanuts” founder 707-579-4452; The Jelly Belly Visitor Center in Fairfield is about a 30 minute drive and offers factory tours 707-522-3267.
Unique cooking classes available for all cooking levels (including the beginner) housed in a stunning “rammed earth” style building. The Catalog of classes offers courses in several different styles from renowned Chefs. Check out their site at www.ramekins.com or call 707-933-0450 for class catalog and information. Other interesting culinary adventures include Sonoma’s seasonal Farmers’ Markets, the Olive Press, and Sonoma County Farm Trails