Weekend in Sonoma with a Little Kid
I'm planning to drive up to Sonoma for the weekend of December 9-11. I'll be staying just outside of town with my husband and 3 year old son. I have a few questions that I hope that Chowhound can help me out with.
First, can anyone recommend wineries in Sonoma or Napa that might be better to visit with a kid in tow? He's a pretty sweet kid, and we take him to our local places down here in the Santa Cruz Mountains, but we don't want to take him anywhere too serious, and risk spoiling someone else's experience. I'm thinking that either somewhat larger tasting rooms, or else smaller, low key family operated places might be best. Has anyone had a good experience at a tasting room with a kid in tow?
Second, can anyone recommend either a good place to eat lunch with a kid, or else a good deli/winery picnic spot combo for lunch? Will it be too cold to picnic outside?
Third, I'm looking for recommendations on a non-wine related activity, like a hike or great playground or something like that to break up the day. Any suggestions would be very much appreciated.
I've been down that road, having taken my kids on that very trip some years back. First, Bart Park (Bartholomew Park Winery) has a nice picnic setup, and is really lovely. You can pick up a lunch to go at the Basque Bakery in Sonoma. Benziger is a great place to take a child, because there is a hayride through the vineyards. Across the road is the Jack London State Park, which might be a fun walk for the two of you, to the ruins of London's house.
As far as food, I'm sure the Black Bear Diner would work, as would Fremont Diner (better food, cool scene) If you don't mind driving to Santa Rosa, both Luther Burbank Gardens and the Charles Schulz Peanuts Museum would no doubt be good destinations.
Train Town is on Broadway going into Sonoma. I don't know about your son, but mine was crazy about trains at 3. Besides the train, there are other rides good for little kids and some animals to feed.
The plaza in the center of town is great, too, with a playground, and ducks in the pond. We often had picnics there in December, but of course it depends on the weather. There are places for takeout pizza or sandwiches around the plaza. Ice cream, too. In my experience, Sonoma is more kid-friendly than Napa.
Winery wise: Quivira. They have chickens and pigs and a large garden that kids (and adults) can explore.
We've taken our kid now 6 to tasting rooms for years - definitely Benziger, some swings and peacocks as well as the ride (which you might want to reserve if you're going at a weekend since kids dont like to wait! Kunde has a cave tour that kids like and I tink Gundlach Bundshau also does. There is some small winery tastings at Cornerstone on the way into Sonoma and there are lots of other garden related things there he might like to look at
Train town is definitely a winner with kids and it's not too expensive either. Dependingo n where you're staying Sonoma Market local supermarket is a great place to buy picnic items as is the Cheese company on the square and there is a new place just opened off the square opposite Cafe La haye which should have some good food items - name escapes me at the moment
hard to say if it will be too cold - today was fabulous but you never know
Another place that might work is El Molino Central - they have great mexican and picnic table kind of setting and my kid like the quesidilla there (see other postings about it on the board)
If its nice Hopmonk on Broadway also has outside seating and a good variety of food
Sonoma Overlook trail is a nice hike - if your son is used to walks he'd like that . Mine did it at 3 but we had to encourage him for hte last piece on way down. It gives fabulous views on the town
otherwise the bike path through town which ends just opposite Sebastani winery is a good one - also tricycle suitable as its completely flat