As the name suggests, the area north of San Francisco is known worldwide mostly for its viticulture and wine-making prowess. However, there are plenty of amazing things to see and do in Wine Country that have nothing to do with vino. Here are just a few:
Toscano Hotel – One of several landmarks found within Sonoma State Historic Park, Toscano Hotel was first used as a store and rental library when it opened in the 1850s. After fire destroyed the Eureka Hotel in 1877, the store was converted into the “new Eureka” hotel. By the 1890s, many of the property’s clients were Italian immigrants and working-class people, and the name was changed to “Toscano”. The hotel continued to serve as a boarding house for quarry workers, as well as affordable accommodations for families, until it was closed 1955. The property was sold to the State of California in 1957, and is furnished to look much the way it did around the turn of the 20th century.
Safari West Wildlife Preserve – Originally set up as a conservation breeding facility for exotic animals, Safari West Wildlife Preserve opened to the public in 1993. Safari West offers several different ways to observe and interact with the over 1,000 animals that call the 400+ acre facility in the foothills of the Mayacamas Mountains home. The “Sonoma Serengeti” offers traditional safaris as well as overnight stays in luxury safari tents/cabins. You can also book a private safari or be a keeper for the day! In addition to visiting your giraffe, zebra, and rhino pals, you can partake in delicious South African Braai (similar to American barbecue) served up daily in the Savannah Café.
Napa Riverfront Promenade – Downtown Napa is home to the gorgeous Riverfront Promenade, where you will find beautiful views, incredible dining, and fantastic shopping. Where the sheer face of Napa Mill had once dropped straight into the water now stands a multilevel promenade, first allowing people to walk along the Napa River in 2008 when the first section was built as part of a flood control project. Be sure to check the calendar when visiting, as the promenade is home to different festivals and events throughout the year. While you’re there, make sure to take a selfie while sitting in the Big Chair!