Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sonoma. On a budget. With kids. IT CAN BE DONE!!

Oh wine country...that beautiful place you go to relax with a glass of wine, while basking in the California sun. Sounds amazing right? But what do you do if that day now includes young children?! Simply put...the wine regions of California are too beautiful to cross off your list just because you have your kids in tow. This weekend we took advantage of the unseasonably warm weather (70 degrees in January!) and headed to Sonoma for what turned out to be a wonderful day with the kids.

Our first stop was the oh-so-yummy Fremont Diner, which has a rotating menu of southern inspired fare that features locally sourced ingredients that bring the comfort food to life! The prices are reasonable, the service is friendly, and the outdoor patio is the perfect spot for the kids to spread out. For the coffee enthusiasts, they serve 4 Barrel Coffee that arrives in a french press (3 sizes to choose from)...something I think we will indulge in next time!
The back patio has 12 picnic tables set comfortably apart from one another, so the kids have a little room to explore or just spread out their entertainment for the morning (we usually bring coloring books/stickers).
Clockwise from upper left: Side order of Ricotta Pancakes for the kids ($3.50), Breakfast Sandwich ($7.50), Water (duh?), Almost Famous Biscuits and Sausage Gravy with Fried Egg ($10.50). Everything was yummy!
The decor was fun and inviting.
After breakfast we took a quick 3 mile detour down the road to the CornerStone Gardens. It doesn't look like much from the road, but don't let that fool you! Cornerstone offers nine acres of walk-through gardens, created by some of the best landscape architects and designers in the world. It was so much fun exploring each of the different sections of the garden and amazing how quickly the mood could change from one designer to the next. The best part is that the garden is constantly changing, with new installations being integrated into the garden every season, so there is always a reason to come back.

Poseidon Vineyards had a bocce ball court that the kids enjoyed. We arrived right when the gardens opened at 10am and had the place to ourselves!
I love that many of the installations were built for human interaction, so the kids could explore freely without fear of something being ruined.

Visitors can write a wish on a piece of silver tape and hang it in the middle of the installation.

The reflection of the glass beads on the water was really beautiful

Read about the rest of our trip in Part Two: Jack London State Park.

What are you favorite spots to explore in Sonoma with kids?

The details/facts: Sonoma is about an hours drive from Berkeley. Breakfast at The Fremont Diner: $30 after tip. The CornerStone gardens are free!

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