With one of the most storied histories of any city in California, Sonoma is a premier wine producing area and a destination that attracts people from all around the world. It is considered by many the birthplace of California’s world-renowned wine producing region with the first wine grapes planted in Sonoma sometime around 1823. The 10,000 plus full and part-time residents are attracted to Sonoma’s temperate climate, easy access to San Francisco and the Pacific Ocean, richness of its cultural scene and recreational opportunities. The easygoing lifestyle, good schools and community pride are also a major draw to the full-time residents. Homes in and surrounding this delightful small city range from modest cottages and bungalows, to luxurious vineyard estates.
The town of Sonoma features the charming Sonoma plaza, affectionately referred to as simply ‘The Plaza or Square’. Surrounded by historic houses as well as parks and hills on the North side, The Plaza is dotted with historical buildings and filled with fabulous restaurants and cafes, boutiques, galleries, spas and more. Residents frequently gather for community events in its central plaza, particularly the Valley of the Moon Vintage every September, serving as California’s oldest tradition of celebrating the area’s wine since 1897.
Located is the heart of Sonoma Valley, the romantic and sleepy town of Glenn Ellen is home to less than 800 residents. A great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life, its residents and visitors are treated to the natural beauty of the valley through its hiking trails. In 1859, Charles V. Stuart purchased a part of the Rancho Agua Caliente land grant where he built his home and a vineyard he named Glen Ellen after his wife. The town that grew up around the vineyard also came to be called Glen Ellen. The town is also famous for the location of the former ranch of the writer Jack London who lived in the area in the early 20th century. His estate has now become the 39-acre Jack London State historic park and attracts a number of visitors who want to hike the park’s trails and explore the historic buildings.
Despite its size, Glenn Ellen offers some of Sonoma Valley’s finest wines and fabulous local dining. Notable restaurants include the Glen Ellen Star, The Wolf House, The Fig Cafe and Olive & Vine. As with the rest of Sonoma Valley, wine has been a major part of this town since the 1840’s. Today it is home to dozens of wineries including B.R. Cohn Winery, Benziger Family Winery, Mayo Family Winery, and Valley of the Moon Wineryand. Quaint stores like the Glen Ellen Village Market and Oak Hill Farm, provide fresh, organic produce to residents.
The community of Kenwood sits along the Northern end of Sonoma at the edge of Sugarloaf Ridge to the northeast and Bennett Mountain to the west. Located along highway 12, the quiet enclave is home to just over 1,000 residents. Kenwood was first settled in about 1887 in anticipation of the coming railroad. Today It offers residents and visitors an excellent mix of everything people love about Sonoma Valley, providing both wine enthusiasts and nature lovers something to enjoy.
For nature enthusiast, Kenwood is nearly two State Parks, Annadel and Sugarloaf Ridge, as well as Hood Mountain Regional Park. These mountains and parks are home to miles and miles of hiking trails with fantastic views of Sonoma Valley’s scenery. Kenwood is also known today for its close proximity to several wineries, including Chateau St. Jean, Arrowood and historic Kunde Vineyard, which was planted in 1879. The community of Kenwood has also become synonymous with the intimate European-style Kenwood Inn & Spa, which is popular with celebrities. The spa is a fantastic way to enjoy all Wine Country has to offer in a relaxed and tranquil environment.and with Kenwood Restaurant, a favorite of local vintners, winemakers and artists.