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California Road Trip | Sonoma

I can’t believe we’re finally at the end of out California road trip blog posts, with just one stop left before it was time to head home…

We were really keen to squeeze in one night in wine country while in California. We both love our wine and when I realised from mapping various options, Sonoma was only just over an hour from San Francisco, the plan was a go-go. When deciding between Napa and Sonoma, I’d heard Sonoma was the the less glossy, low-key sister to Napa so naturally, that’s why I picked it. I found the amazing Beltane Ranch B&B and vineyard through Goop’s travel guides (which are amazing just FYI) and it was exactly what I hoped for and more. Blame too many old re-runs of Little House on the Prairie or just a love for American movies in general, but I have a real weakness for classic wraparound wooden porches and Beltane Ranch has not one but two of them, both of which look over a picture-perfect flower garden, fruit trees and a white picket fence, surrounded by rolling vineyards naturally. Essentially, it’s one of the most beautiful, authentic places I’ve ever stayed. I love finding really, truly special places to stay like this around the world. Places like this in India and this in the Bahamas for example. I’m always selfishly torn as to whether or not to keep them a secret because they’re so damn magical so just don’t all go at once ok?! But seriously, this place is just dreamy… There are only about four rooms at the B&B, all of which open out onto the veranda with your own table and chairs to take in the view (and some wine obviously) while wrapped in layers as the sun goes down. There are old, snoozy dogs and cats sleeping in the shade and wandering around to say hi, freshly-cooked communal breakfasts at the kitchen table (fluffy ‘biscuits’ and chorizo eggs) and fresh fruit in the garden you’re allowed to pick and eat. There’s a tennis court overgrown with flowers, horeshoes to play in the garden and the most delicious cheese boards to go with your wine wherever you choose to set up camp in the grounds. From the website, it’s hard to tell if the rooms are maybe slightly twee or dated but they are anything but that; the house may be classic old America, but the bathrooms are sparkling new marble and brass and the sheets smell like they’ve just been put on fresh from the line. Essentially this place marries the classic, homely B&B with modern creature comforts perfectly.

We were only there for one night (as soon as we got there I was feeling blue about leaving!) and I wanted to enjoy Beltane as much as possible but we did manage to see a bit of Sonoma. We had lunch at both the Sunflower Cafe and The Girl and the Fig (not both on the same day don’t worry), both of which were delicious and beyond friendly, and we did some wine tasting at Gundlach Bundschu (affectionately known as Gun Bun locally) vineyard before leaving with a couple of bottles. We’d heard a tonne about the winery Scribe but it was closed both days we were there sadly so if you’re being serious about it, check their events calendar before and try and time it with one of their feasts. Beltane Ranch also do big featsing style dinners and events from time to time which look magical and definitely something to try and time a trip around. Maybe it’s growing up on a farm, or maybe it’s just having a fantasy of being Diane Keaton in Baby Boom one day, but Beltane Ranch made me feel so happy from start to finish. Hopefully these pics go someway in explaining why although I’m not sure even the dreamiest photo could do this place justice.

So that’s the end of my California Road Trip blog posts. It feels like a lifetime ago now but what a trip it was… I can’t wait for the next road trip now (America’s deep south is on my hit list) but the next destination with be the Maldives at the beginning of January so you can expect some turquoise seas and sandy feet up on the blog soon (apologies in advance).