6 Things to Do in Sonoma County Wine Country that Don’t Involve Wine

by bethgraham

Sonoma County is on the radar of every eonphiles, but let’s be honest, sometimes it’s great to experience the region without so much of a focus on wine. I recently spent a few days in Sonoma’s charming town of Healdsburg and discovered there are some great activities that don’t necessarily involve day drinking. So whether you’re coming off a bender or just looking for a place to commune with nature and rehydrate, Healdsburg has it all.

Wine Country Walking Tours leads guided walks throughout downtown Healdsburg that will take you on a foodie adventure, with or without the wine. There are a number of food-oriented walks that will show you why this town is a culinary hotspot, including a visit to a craft cocktail bar. On the TasteMakers Tour, guests can hear from chefs, culinary artisans, and fine artists who are using their inspiration and talents to establish Healdsburg as a mecca for wine, food, and the arts.

Wine country bikes offers guided rides through the bucolic vineyards of Sonoma County, both slow-paced and adventurous. Yes, you can stop at tasting rooms along the way, but it’s not a requirement. Take in the fresh air as you pedal down the quaint country roads just listening to the sounds of nature. You can take a break from pedaling and stroll through the farms and vineyards, or sit on a sunny hillside and picnic before the next uphill climb.

Hike your way through the hills and valleys of the countryside. The Jordan Vineyard & Winery offers a 3-mile hike around their 1,200-acre ranch which offers amazing mountain views, a chance to spot wildlife, and secluded lakes. Vista Point, the highest point on the ranch, gives hikers a chance to breathe the fresh air and take in an unforgettable panoramic view. The hike also meanders through the chef’s garden, apiary and olive orchards.

Relish Culinary Center offers instructional cooking classes and authentic food experiences. Take one of the center’s hands-on workshops and learn to make pasta, and shrubs and pickles or the art of snout-to-tail butchering. You can also take a walk and learn to forage wild mushrooms. Local chefs, restaurateurs, caterers, and artisans like Dragonfly Florals, join in the fun to elevate the educational experience.

Redwood National Park is just a short drive and it’s your chance to see one of the world’s wonders, the tallest trees on Earth. Lace up your hiking boots and enjoy a light walk or backcountry hike and experience the park’s more than 40 miles of rugged coastline. There’s plenty of history stops within the park including archeological exhibits, an old World War II radar station, military outposts, fish hatcheries, gold mines and more.

Shopping doesn’t get much better than the market square area of Healdsburg. You’ll find a plethora of antiques stores, pottery shops, bookstores, clothing boutiques and toy stores. Many of the products you’ll find are hand-crafted by local artisans including jewelry, arts and crafts, gourmet food products and gifts. This pet-friendly shopping district also includes several shops selling treats and accessories for your canine friends.

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