Beth Costa, Executive Director of the Wine Road and knows how to makes the most of her free time. Her idea of a Perfect Day is filled with the best of Northern Sonoma County, both indoors and out.
I live in Cloverdale, and my first stop to start any Perfect Day is Plank Coffee. I love the coffee and the crew that works there. They also just opened a second location in Healdsburg, about a block from our office (could be a problem for me).
Then I’d head south on Highway101 to Dutcher Creek Road, and head toward Dry Creek Valley. Of the highway you are immediately surrounded by hillsides, vineyards, and beautiful trees. I take a deep breath and take it all in as I begin to leave all worries and responsibilities behind for the day.
Next I’d head toward Healdsburg and Westside Road for more vineyard views and a curvy road all the way to Guerneville. There are plenty of wineries along the way if you wanted to do some tasting. Most do not require an appointment.
Once in Guerneville, my coffee will be gone, so I’ll stop at Big Bottom Market for another coffee (yes, it’s a habit) and one of their famous “Oprah’s favorites” biscuits. You cannot go wrong, sweet or savory – your call. Then I’d stroll around town, there are tons of funky galleries, toy stores, general stores, bakery (in an old bank vault) and depending on the time, I try to cruise up to Armstrong Woods. You can make a full day of hiking here, but I like to just stroll around the main entrance area. This gives me my outdoor fix, the smell of moss, redwoods, and beautiful ferns. I just love it here! I grew up in Humboldt County, surrounded by Redwoods, so this is for sure my happy place.
When I’m good and relaxed I’d continue toward the coast, maybe stopping in Duncans Mills for a quick peek into the shops there. Super cool jewelry, funky housewares, tea in every imaginable flavor with all of the necessary gadgets to make a perfect cup.
Then off to what I really need, the ocean! I head south at the junction of River Road and Highway 1, toward Bodega Bay. There are endless areas to pull over and just drink in the views. I usually stop 4-5 maybe 6 times, because I just can’t get enough of the views. It does not matter what the weather is like, it’s always beautiful at the ocean – rain or shine. Ultimately I want to get to Spud Point Crab Shack. The name says it all. Order a crab sandwich to go, then drive up to Bodega Head. There are a couple of picnic tables there to eat lunch, take in the view, talk to some seagulls and recharge. If the wind is blowing, I just park and eat in the car, you can still take in the view.
When I’m ready to head back, I continue down Highway 1 the turn-off toward the small town of Bodega (where Alfred Hitchcock filmed The Birds).
Continue on toward Sebastopol. Depending on the time of day I’ll cruise into The Barlow, check out what’s new. There is a great collection of breweries, restaurants and shops to browse thorough.
Afterwards I head back to Highway 101 for a straight shot to Cloverdale. In one day, I can enjoy vineyard views, pastures with sheep and cows grazing, redwoods, the ocean and trendy shopping in Sebastopol. This is my FAVORITE day and I try to do this exact itinerary at least 4-5 times a year. It has a different feeling in every season, as the vineyards change, wild flowers bloom and the sun streams through the redwoods and shines on the ocean differently throughout the year. It really is a perfect day to me.