Wine Country

Experience Life on the Farm at McClelland's Dairy Pumpkin Patch

September 26, 2017

McClelland's Dairy Pumpkin Patch

McClelland's Dairy is a family-run, certified organic dairy farm located just west of Petaluma, and their annual Halloween pumpkin patch just keeps getting better and better every year. McClelland's offers a lot of fun for families, especially if you are looking for a genuine farm experience. If you haven't been there yet, it's definitley worth putting on your fall family itinerary. Attractions and activities here range from a farm animal petting zoo and a look into the dairy's milking barn to a giant slide and obstacle course to a new Haunted Forest and an air-powered pumpkin cannon. You can hang out here and play all day!

Gravenstein Apple Fair: An Old-Time Country Festival

August 3, 2017

Gravenstein Apple Fair

Where can you spend the day walking under ancient oaks following your nose from food booth to food booth (featuring frying apple fritters or slices of four-inch high apple pie), taking in terrific acoustic music, and experiencing the sights and sounds of a turn-of-the-century barnyard? At the annual Gravenstein Apple Fair, of course!

Sonoma County's summertime jewel takes place in Sebastopol's Ragle Ranch Park this weekend, August 12 and 13. 2017's event is the 105th Gravenstein Apple Fair, which showcases the best in arts, crafts, food, wines and beers, games, entertainment, and farm life activities.

Celebrate the "Holidaze" at the 2017 Sonoma County Fair

July 24, 2017

Sonoma County Fair carnival

In case you missed or just didn't get enough of the Marin County Fair, you'll be happy to know that the 2017 Sonoma County Fair starts Thursday, August 3 at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, and runs through Sunday, August 13. This year's theme is "Holidaze", and the fair will celebrate a whole year's worth of holidays in its 11-day run, with a different holiday theme each day, including Easter (August 3), New Year's (August 4), the winter holidays (August 5 and 6), and even International Talk Like  Pirate Day (August 9). Check their website for a complete schedule.

Riding the Rails at Sonoma TrainTown

July 15, 2017

Sonoma TrainTown Railroad

When we're in the Wine Country, we always make sure we visit TrainTown, the fun and fantastic miniature railroad located in the town of Sonoma. It's a place that I used to visit back when I was a kid, and it's the kind of destination that takes you and your family back to a simpler, less hectic time.

Sonoma TrainTown offers train-related activities that are fun for everyone, from toddlers to grade school kids (and adults, too), as well as a selection of carnival-style rides. It's also a short drive from pretty much anywhere in Marin, which makes TrainTown a must-visit attraction for North Bay families.

10 Summer Family Fun Things to Do in Sonoma County

June 12, 2017

Johnson's Beach Russian River

Sonoma County, Marin's neighbor to the north, has so much to offer for families, especially during the summer. From parks to beaches to unique attractions—not to mention the world renowned Wine Country—there so much to do in Sonoma County that you'll probably have to make several trips.

Pack up the kiddos and head north for a Sonoma adventure! Here are 10 fantastic destinations in Sonoma County that you have to check out this summer.

Family Hike at Jack London State Historic Park in Glen Ellen

January 15, 2017

Jack London State Historic Park

This weekend, we paid another visit one of our favorite outdoors spots in the Bay Area, Jack London State Historic Park. Located in the small Sonoma Valley town of Glen Ellen, it's about a 45-minute drive north from Marin and a great destination for a family outing.

The park is made up of land that was at one time the Beauty Ranch owned by renowned writer, social reformer, early sustainable agriculture advocate, and rabble-rouser Jack London (1876–1916), author of classic adventure tales like The Sea Wolf, The Call of the Wild, and White Fang. Jack London State Historic Park is always a destination for us in winter and early spring—the wildflowers are in bloom, the weather is cool and clear, and it's breathtakingly beautiful.

Ice Skating Fun at Snoopy's Home Ice in Santa Rosa

December 21, 2016

Snoopy's Home Ice Redwood Empire Ice ArenaOne of our must-do family tradions during the holidays is to visit Snoopy's Home Ice, as well as the Charles M. Schulz Museum right next door. The arena was a gift to the North Bay community from the late Santa Rosa resident and Peanuts cartoonist Charles M. Schulz, and has been going strong since 1969.

I always consider an outing here a holiday tradition, especially since I grew up watching A Charlie Brown Christmas every year, and attended a few holiday ice shows here over the years, too. It was always a treat to see Charles Schulz himself sitting in the audience, enjoying the show and chatting with visitors. 

Sonoma and Napa Wine Country Family Holiday Fun

November 15, 2016

Cornerstone Lighting of the Snowmen
Don't miss the annual Lighting of the Snowmen Holiday Festival at Cornerstone Sonoma

One of the benefits of living in the North Bay is having the Wine Country of Sonoma and Napa right in our own backyard. It's a short trip from Marin but a world away, especially during the holidays, when the area does itself up in style.

Here are some selected family-friendly holiday events and happenings in Sonoma and Napa, as well as a few of our favorite places to visit in the Wine Country. There's nothing quite like taking in the Wine Country scenery (and maybe a glass of pinot noir) on a crisp and clear December day! Some of these events require tickets or advance reservations, so make sure you check for availability before you go.

Sonoma Valley

Victorian Christmas Crafts Workshop
General Vallejo's Home, Sonoma
Sunday, November 20, 11 am–3 pm

Craft handmade, affordable historical gifts or stocking stuffers at General Vallejo’s Home. Meet a special holiday guest. Free admission for ages 12 and under (accompanied by an adult), $2 for ages 13–17, and $3 for adults. Rain or shine. More information

Pumpkins and More at the Tolay Fall Festival this Weekend!

October 13, 2016

Tolay Fall Festival

Many families in Marin and the North Bay have fond memories of visiting the popular pumpkin patch at Cardoza Ranch outside Petaluma. In 2005, the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation & Open Space District and the Sonoma County Regional Parks Department acquired Cardoza Ranch, also known as Tolay Lake Ranch, turning its 1,737 acres of farmland into a county park.

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