Forty-five miles from San Francisco, Sonoma Valley is the closest wine region with over 60 wineries. It’s situated in a valley 17 miles long and 7 miles wide, between two mountain ranges, the Maya camas to the east and the Sonomas to the west.

The town of Sonoma’s main attraction is its downtown plaza and park, one of the most historic square blocks in California. The 175 year old Sonoma Plaza is an official National Historic Landmark. It was here on June 14, 1846 that a small band of armed, would-be revolutionaries, planted their flag in the plaza declaring California free from Mexico. Around the historic park, there are boutique stores, restaurants, and wine and cheese tasting. The perfectly square Sonoma City Hall sits in the middle of the plaza. Sonoma Mission, San Francisco Solano de Sonoma, in the plaza’s north-east corner, is the northern most and the last of the California’s missions.

Mexican Comandante-general of California, Mariano Vallejo built his home, a New England Gothic in 1851. The California Landmark stands on the northwest edge of town and is called “Lachryma Monits,” Latin for “Tears of the Mountain,” named for the nearby springs which are Sonoma’s main water supply. General Vallejo is famous for founding the Pueblo of Sonoma and for being a member of the California’s first Constitutional Convention.

Besides wineries, Sonoma is a food lover’s paradise, with artisan bread and cheese makers, olive oil purveyors, and fantastic chocolatiers. Art and music also figure prominently in the area. The Sonoma Valley Museum of Art features the work of local, national and international fine artists. Every year Latino families are invited to construct altars to honor their departed loved ones during the “Dia de los Muertos,” October exhibition. The Sonoma Jazz Festival is held under a tent in downtown Sonoma at the Field of Dreams.