A Family-Friendly Wine Country Weekend. (Really.)

5 Sep

Eager to escape the San Francisco fog for some proper summer sunshine, we spent this past Labor Day weekend at our in-law’s charming home in Sonoma. The Hus-b and I certainly knew that we enjoyed visiting the wine country, but we were pleasantly surprised by how family-friendly the experience could be. We’re usually pretty fast and loose with our definition of “family-friendly” (we’ve been toting our kid to fine art museums and wineries since birth, after all), but there really are a host of legit kid-friendly activities to enjoy in Sonoma. Here’s a peek:

Sebastiani Winery hosts “Food Truck Friday” on the last Fridays of summer months. It’s like Off The Grid except with fewer hipsters and more wine. (An improvement by any measure.) The live band was predictably corny and the food truck lines were long, but we can’t complain about being able to eat a nice meal without wrestling our kid into a high chair.

Speaking of meals, we recommend Sunflower Caffé for an al fresco breakfast (they have a huge pack patio and Belgian “bacon waffles” for the kiddos), El Mollino Central for upscale Mexican street food (be sure to grab a dozen of their fantastic corn tortillas to take home), and Hopmonk Tavern for a comfortable dinner in their biergarten (and Pliny the Elder on tap for the grown-ups).

Especially on busy holiday weekends, biking is the only way to get around. Wine Country Cyclery made sure we were properly outfitted with a CoPilot “Taxi” Bike Seat and a Bell “Tater” helmet for the Little Lady. The Sonoma Bike Path offers a flat and uber-safe way to travel about town. (To note: the scenery also does not suck.)

The Little Lady enjoyed visiting several of the impeccably-maintained playgrounds right off of the bike path. (And ever since we read that super scary article about slide injuries in The New York Times, the kid’s been sliding solo.)

The newly-hatched ducklings in the Town Square drew quite a crowd *and* led to a conversation with our child about why we do NOT swim in ponds.

We had to visit at least one winery, ultimately settling on Petroni Vineyards (a favorite amongst the Hus-b’s family). The poolside setting for our tasting did not disappoint. (Neither did the impromptu nap our thoughtful child decided to grace us with during our appointment.) We enjoyed the 2010 Sauvignon Blanc (one taste and you won’t be surprised to learn that Petroni’s winemaker hails from New Zealand) and the 2005 Brunello di Sonoma which Petroni had specially approved by the Italian DOCG. Visits by appointment only.

From the breadth of amusements to the wonderful food to the perma-grin on our child’s sweet face, it was truly one of the best weekends we’ve had in a long, long time.

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