The Sonoma Coast
Today we had to say goodbye to our charming bungalow. A typical shotgun home, it has been beautifully restored in an updated Victorian-style. We didn’t get to spend much time just hanging around, but it was a perfect spot, in a really convenient location. We’ll miss our little yellow house.
But today we had new places to go and we headed off to the Sonoma Coast. The Russian River flows into the Pacific on the Sonoma Coast and much of the coast is part of the Sonoma Coast State Beach. Highway 101 runs along this dramatic, protected area. We drove the stretch between Bodega Bay and Jenner. It was uncrowded and seemed so remote, with wild, uncorrupted beauty. There was no cell service.
The few houses and buildings that dot the coast date from around the 70’s before the area was protected and will not be able to be rebuilt. New building is not allowed; if it were, this incredible scenery would surely be blighted with development. We were surprised we had not heard more about this region – truly one of the most beautiful coastal dries we have ever seen, anywhere.
We were headed to Jenner and the Fort Ross Vineyard & Tasting Room, which includes a deck overlooking the forest with views that stretch all the way to the Pacific. You can bring a picnic and enjoy the setting on the back deck while you have your wine tasting ($15 pp). Among the wines we tried, were two really excellent Pinot Noirs and a Pinotage, a blend I had not seen outside of South Africa. It was no surprise to find out the vineyard’s owners are South African. They have planted the Pinotage grapes on their property and even filled their front garden with South Africa’s colorful Protea* flowers.
It was a different and relaxing setting, and the excellent wines were a nice surprise.
All this scenery and wine tasting made us hungry and we headed back towards Bodega Bay* and the Spud Point Crab Company. You don’t come here for a luxury setting, comfortable chairs (picnic tables outside), bathrooms (across the street at the marina), or heat (it was cold and windy); what you will get is terrific crab, shrimp and clam chowder. They have won awards for the best clam chowder on the Pacific coast and I can taste why, it was wonderful. Service was fast and friendly and we were soon on our way to San Francisco.
San Francisco is amazing, but more about that tomorrow.
*Trivia Facts of the Day:
Bodega Bay is where Alfred Hitchcock filmed The Birds.
Protea is South Africa’s national flower.