Finding good places that aren’t too touristy in the Bay area takes time and curiosity, but it is worth the time spent.
Having lived north of the city for 15 years, I have discovered spots that I cannot live without. Blending the beauty of the region with the diversity of the flavors of the land makes for a perfect area to relax, consume terrific food and enjoy nature.
Green String Farm
One of my favorite spot to gather produce in the north bay of San Francisco, Green String is nestled within the Sonoma Mountains on a 140 acre sustainable farm. Using 60 of its acres for cultivating trees, fruits and vegetables, the staff takes pride in their work. Their motto” one for humanity, one for nature” makes perfect sense for a simple, organic farm that thrives on the soil and seasonal plantings. The farm store offers whatever is in season and also sells fresh eggs, organic cheese and grass fed meat. The atmosphere reaks of simplicity and sort of takes one back in time to gentler times. The farm has no reason to boast ” an organic label”, but it is indeed organic in every way. Kudos are well deserved for this gentle farm that could and did.
Kendall Jackson Winery and Garden
Known for buttery chardonnays and rich merlots, many are pleasantly surprised to find an organic garden at the Kendall Jackson Winery, north of Santa Rosa, California 50 miles from San Francisco. Outside the majestic winery, one can stroll through over 2 acres of organic gardens. Every garden matches up with a varietal of wine. The Red Sensory Garden, for example, has a Cabernet corner growing black currents, thyme and chocolate. Trellised apples, 8 foot sunflowers and 12 varieties of basil showcase the rich soil. The Kendall Jackson website gives great directions and details on the winery and garden.
Jack London State Park
Nature hikes, wildflower walks and serenity describes the 1400 acre jewel 50 miles north of San Francisco in Glen Ellen,Ca. it is a perfect setting to spend the day. A museum, located in the “House of Happy Walls” holds most of Jack London’s novels and personal belongings. But my favorite thing to do at the park is to grab a bottle of wine and a scoop of cheese and crackers then trek over to the Jack London cottage. Right next to the cottage was a destroyed winery. Pass through the ruins and discover picturesque vineyards.This is a perfect place to relax and get in touch with beauty.
Della Fattoria Bakery
The tres chic bakery got their start by making earthy breads for bay area upscale restaurants. Now, locating themselves smack in the middle of bustling downtown Petaluma, the cafe attracts locals and day trippers from all over the bay area.The cafe, with a vintage French theme throughout, serves breakfast and lunch plates along with some very robust coffee and tea. Tables come in all sizes from farmhouse to outside bistro. Dells Fattoria blends perfectly with the Petaluma community.
Bistro Des Copain
Finding this quaint little jewel of a restaurant may be the only downfall and the only thing that holds you back, but it definitely a treat to endulge in this fine dining experience. Located in Occidental, Ca., 55 miles north of the city, it is right off the Bohemian Highway. The food takes me back to Provence, one of the few places in the world to enjoy a really smooth rose. The combination of meat, spices and vegetables excites the palate. The place is cozy so it is wise to reserve a table when you go.
Wild Flour Bakery in Freestone, California
Making a trip out to Freestone can leave anyone enriched with satisfaction and relaxation. Hidden on the Bohemian Highway, is a bakery that is so unexpected and out of place, it is easy to pass it by. That would be a mistake. The bakery opens its doors with only 4 breads — sticky buns, the Bohemian or the Egyptian, goat flat bread and a cheese fougasse.
They bake over 900 loaves per day all in their cozy bakery using a brick oven. Check hours before going on their website,wildflourbread.com.
Bistro Des Copain.com
Kendall Jackson Winery
Jack London State Park