The stunning and picturesque county of Sonoma is situated on the northern coast of the Golden State California. The region stretches from San Pablo Bay in the south to the city of Santa Rosa in the north. The Pacific Ocean and the North Coast range border Sonoma County, lending it a scenic backdrop that attracts tourists by thousands every year.Due to its proximity to the Pacific Ocean, the weather in the county has a fair degree of coolness to it. Sonoma summers are accompanied by warm sunrays and cool breeze. The varied topography of the county’s surrounding areas makes way for its own microclimates. Fogs are a common occurrence here.
Sonoma Valley’s history dates back to 5000 BC. The first people to ever settle on these shores were the Wappo, Pomo and Coast Miwoks. They came to these lands somewhere between the 8000 BC and 5000 BC. Even today, their presence can be felt through the carvings they left behind on the rocks. Experts call the carvings ‘pecked curvilinear nucleated’ motifs. The county of Sonoma has also housed Europeans, especially Spaniards coming and settling on its gentle shores. The period between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries saw the Europeans traveling to these shores in search of timber and other resources.
Over the centuries, the county has been under the control of various countries. The first were the Spaniards, who claimed the area in the mid-sixteenth century. After that, the county changed hands with the Kingdom of England before it was passed onto the rule of the Spanish Empire again. The country later came under the control of the Russian Empire. Later, it was taken over by the First Mexican Empire, for two years, and then by the Mexican Republic. It was only on 9 July 1846 that the county of Sonoma finally became a part of United States of America. As a result of traversing through a multitude of societies and cultures, Sonoma Country bursts with its inherited diversity.
The first people to settle here permanently were the Russians.After arriving in the region, they set up the Russian-American Company. This attracted in its wake, thousands of other settlers and travelers. The company was set up in the Fort Ross area of the county and is now a popular tourist destination. The county has lived through its fair share of battles. It was also the home ground during the famous Bear Flag Revolt between the locals and the Mexicans.
Sonoma is, in fact, one of the best counties when it comes to California’s ‘wine country region’. With over 13 of America’s AVA situated here, Sonoma is a wine lovers paradise. When it comes to wine, the county has to its credit past that dates back to the 1800s. The Sonoma wine region produces some of the most delectable wines through the numerous vineyards that adorn the landscape of the county.
The North Coast Ranges include peaks and mountains like the Hood Mountain, Sonoma Mountains, and the Mayacamas Mountains. Sonoma Mountains cradle the famous Sears Point and the Mayacamas Mountains cradle the Pygmy Forest. The mountains are also an abodefor historic parks and preserves. Bestowed with bountiful areas of woodlands, grasslands, marshes, forests, oak savannas and coastal scrubs diversity, the county is beautifully diverse in nature. It includes the California oak woodland, spring creek watersheds and state parks like Annadel State Park. A multitude of flora and fauna including some exotic and fascinating specie are seen thriving here.
The water bodies that run their course through the county are the Russian River, Gualala River, Petaluma River, and Goat Rock Beach.They offer magnificent views and make for a very reviving experience. The foliage of this area comprises trees like Douglas fir, California laurel, Garry oak and Coast Live Oak. A few other commonly found varieties are, coast silk-tassel and poison oak. The county also includes an array ofendangered species like freshwater shrimps, red-legged frogs and showy Indian clovers. You can also find the California Tiger Salamander here.
The county consists of cities like St. Helena, Yountville Napa, and unincorporated towns like Circle Oaks, Gordon Valley, Chiles Valley, Deer Park, and Dry Creek to name a few. The largest city in this county is Santa Rosa.
There is a lot to explore once you set foot in the county. From beaches to bike trails, Sonoma lays it all-out to satiate your traveler’s thirst. With the cool waters of the Pacific Ocean lapping on the sandy shores, the Sonoma Coast State Beach is a must-visit.Sprawling over seventeen miles of shoreline area, the beach offers tantalizing glimpses of the setting sun accompanied by a mesmerizing ambiance. Here, you can sit back, laze around, dip yourself in the cool waters, or simply sunbathe while reading your favorite book. The beach-scape is made up of sandy beach area sporadically cutting across the jagged rock-strewn seashore. Once here, you can try a host of water activities that will pump you up with all the thrill you need. The county’s other beaches include Goat Rock Beach, Arched Rock Beach, Gleason Beach, Pinnacle Gulch and Doran Regional Park.
Alongside beautiful beaches, the county is also home to many bays and lakes. Some of the most visited ones are Bodega Bay, Lake Sonoma, and Tolay Lake. The Bay of Bodega is a small cove area situated near San Francisco and Santa Rosa. Known for being somewhat rocky, it offers a host of interestingsports activities. The bay makes way for a few other water bodies like the Tomales Bay and Estero Americano, to name a few. Lake Sonoma graces the northern part of Sonoma County and as such is most visited for its vast variety of recreational activities. You can also enjoy fishing and hunting while having a good time trampling around the green side of the lake. Lake Sonoma also offers its visitors the opportunity of exploring the Milt Brandt Visitor Centre and the Warm Springs Recreation Area. The area has its own dam, famously known as the Warm Springs Dam. If you want to relish freshwater lakes, you can head towards the Tolay Lake. Diametrically opposite to Lake Sonoma, this lake is huddled in the southern part of the county. The area is famous for Tolay Lake Regional Park which is an ecological preserve. Once here an impressive variety of endangered species wait to dazzle you. You can watch rarest of the rare animal species like the California red-legged frog, Western pond turtle, Golden eagles, and Western burrowing owl to name a few.
You can visit the popular Quarryhill Botanical Garden, Luther Burbank Home and Gardens, and Jack London State Historic Park to relishacres and acres of foliage rich in color and texture. Luther Burbank Home and Gardens is a state historical landmark and is known to house the grave of the famous agriculturist Luther Burbank. Situated in Santa Rosa, the city park has an impressive line-up of fauna in its garden and greenhouse. The Quarryhill Botanical Garden is a research house of one of the largest compilation of moderate Asian plants in North America. It is absolutely spectacular in its appeal and is sure to leave you stunned with its collection of Holboellia coriacea, Acer pentaphyllum, Cornus capitata, and other exotic species. Yet another mesmerizing ‘green area’ is the Jack London State Historic Park. It is also a national historic landmark and includes the Jack London home which is fondly referred to as the Wolf House. Though now in ruins it is still quite an imposing structure. The county of Sonoma also has a historic ranch house to its credit. The Rancho Petaluma Adobe is an absolute architectural pleasure.
Sonoma County is a mesmerizing blend of nature’s beauty. As mentioned before, the milieu of rolling hills, impressive mountains, green fields, lush green vineyards can take anyone’s breath away! Sonoma County is a traveler’s paradise; you can choose to walk through the picturesque landscape and relish the scenic atmosphere.Some of its most popular appellations are Alexander Valley, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma Coast and Valley, and Knights Valley.