Hiking with Kids: Sonoma Overlook Trail

November 3, 2012

Sonoma Overlook TrailWe love to visit the Sonoma Valley, especially during the fall. The weather's usually great, and it's a fun Wine Country destination for families, with family-friendly wineries, historic sites, and more. If you're up for an easy hike with the kids while you're there, check out the Sonoma Overlook Trail in the north end of town. With sweeping views of Sonoma Valley and interesting things to see along the way, it's well worth seeking out.

The trailhead is adjacent to the entrance to the Sonoma Mountain Cemetery at the end of 1st Street West, just north of the Sonoma Plaza. It's well marked, and there's a kiosk with trail maps and information. Make sure you pick up a brochure to take with you on your hike so you can learn about the plants and animals that live in the area.

The round trip is approximately three miles, although shorter hikes are possible. While the Sonoma Overlook trail winds uphill with a considerable change in elevation, there are plenty of gently sloped switchbacks which make the climb easy for anyone. In fact, you don't really realize how far you've climbed until you come into a clearing that offers a spectacular vista of the valley below.

Family Friendly Wineries: Larson Family Winery in Sonoma

November 28, 2011

Larson Family Winery in SonomaRemember back before you had kids when you used to head up to the Wine Country for a day of fun and wine tasting? You'll find that there are plenty of family-friendly wineries up in Sonoma and Napa counties, so don't stop just because you have kids in tow. Kid friendly wineries are also great places to take out-of-town family and other visitors, especially during the holidays.

What do we look for in a family-friendly winery? First and foremost, there has to be something that kids can do, other than just hang out in the tasting room and wait for mom and dad. Second, the winery should be openly child-friendly and relaxed, both for the comfort of families and for other grownups who probably don't want the disruption of kids to interfere with their Wine Country experience. Last, there should be plenty of space and somewhere to relax and have something to eat, whether you pack it in yourself or buy it on-site.

Day Out with Dad: Sonoma Valley Airport Display Days

May 10, 2011

Curtiss P-40N at Sonoma Valley AirportOne of the best things about being a dad is getting to take my own children on the kinds of outings I did with my dad way back when I was kid. One of the things we did was to head out into the wild of Northern California in search of cool machinery to look at, especially airplanes. It's fun, exciting, noisy, fascinating, and in many cases free. After all, what kid doesn't dream of flying, especially in an open-cockpit biplane? One of my favorite local spots for an airplane-watching outing is Sonoma Valley Airport, also known as the Schelleville Airport, located just south of the town of Sonoma. The romance of the Golden Age of Aviation lives on in this small airport, and one weekend a month the planes' owners put them on display for visitors to come see.

The Sonoma Valley Airport holds these "display days" on the second weekend of every month, where the owners of the vintage aircraft open their hangars and show off their planes. Schelleville aiport is home to numerous different historic planes, making it a living aviation museum of sorts. This month's display days are this weekend, May 14 and 15, from noon to 4 pm. Feel free to wander the hangar rows and check out the planes on view. The

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