Sonoma County is getting greener in 2019. Not only are the county’s winegrowers committed to becoming a 100 percent sustainable winegrowing region by the end of the year (89 percent of all vineyard acres are currently certified sustainable) but the hospitality industry is following suit, making it easier than ever to enjoy a sustainable getaway in Sonoma.
Where to Stay
Sonoma has a number of green hotels, but it’s hard to beat H2 Hotel. Built on the site of a former gas station in downtown Healdsburg, the hip hotel features a living roof that filters rainwater and reduces the heat the hotel gives off, energy-saving elevators that don’t use oil and smart sensors that turn off lights, fans and air-conditioning when rooms are unoccupied.
A lot of thought also went into sustainable amenities. In your room, you’ll find organic bedding, sustainable bamboo flooring and recyclable paper hangers as well as wine bottles turned into carafes you can fill with still or sparkling water from the water bar located on every floor and in the lobby.
For a more bucolic vibe, book a room at Vintners Inn. The Santa Rosa hotel is situated on 92 acres of vineyards and gardens with meandering paths. While you may not notice it right away, the hotel’s green philosophy takes into account every aspect of its environmental impact from waste minimization to energy efficiency and water management.
What to Do
It wouldn’t be a visit to Sonoma County without touring a winery, even if you’re traveling with kids. Start at Silver Oak Cellars, which not only makes great wines but incorporates sustainable practices, such as capturing rainwater. Or, head to sustainable Francis Ford Coppola Winery, where your family can spend the day swimming in the winery’s pool.
Novelist Jack London lived in Sonoma for 11 years, pioneering organic and sustainable farming practices such as crop rotation and terracing. You can visit Beauty Ranch, the site of his farm, at Jack London State Historic Park. While there, hike the park’s trails or plan a picnic.
To truly appreciate the unique county landscapes, plan an afternoon at Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve. The state park is home to some of the planet’s tallest trees, some more than 2,000 years old and up to 250 feet tall. Or, drive to Bodega Bay on the county’s west coast for views of the Pacific Ocean and, possibly, migrating whales.
Where to Eat
For every one acre of vineyard, Sonoma County has two acres dedicated to other agriculture, including pasture, poultry and apples, so area restaurants tend to use fresh, locally-sourced, organic ingredients. For a great meal from a restaurant that does, make a reservation at The Spinster Sisters in Santa Rosa. Or, try Catelli’s, a third-generation Italian restaurant in Geyersville.
If you’re staying in a vacation rental, you might also want to try cooking for yourself with ingredients purchased at local farmers markets. Sonoma Valley Certified Farmers Market is open year-round and is one of the area’s best.
Step right up to the greatest show on Earth as FXExpress Publications, Global Traveler, trazeetravel.com and whereverfamily.com celebrate their 2020 award winners! Join the big top on Dec. 14 as we virtually award the winners of the 17th annual GT Tested Reader Survey awards, including the Airline and Hotel of the Year; the 17th annual Wines on the Wing Airline Wine Survey; the eighth annual Leisure Lifestyle Awards; the sixth annual The Trazees; and the third annual Wherever Awards.
Located in Kissimmee, Florida, Give Kids The World Village will reopen for wish families Jan. 17, 2021. After a nearly 10-month closure due to COVID-19, the 89-acre non-profit resort will be open and ready to again welcome families and kids with week-long wish vacations.