100 Days of Winter Wellness in Sonoma Valley, California
Winter might mean sleet, snow and overcast days in much of the United States, but in Sonoma Valley we are treated to sunny days, cool nights and the cover of green hills and yellow mustard among the vines. Come explore the non-snowy side of California in winter by finding health, wellness and renewal in Sonoma Valley, just an hour north of San Francisco.
January 1: Happy New Year! Join the "First Day Hike" at Jack London State Park, a Sonoma Valley tradition!
January 2: Start the New Year off the right way with a "Sonoma Sanctuary Escape" at MacArthur Place Resort and Spa
January 3: Let's hit "reset" on your recipe choices with this "Three Day Reset from Whole Body Wellness"
January 4: Nourish the soul with the "First Thursday Sonoma Art Walk" around the Sonoma Plaza.
January 5: Friyay! Head into the weekend by taking in the view from the Sonoma Overlook Trail - you can see San Francisco!
January 6: Discover your inner zen with a wild 20% discount on classic adult tickets this January at Safari West (Friday through Sunday.) Our safaris are wild and whimsical, offering you a serene escape. Seek solace in the untamed beauty of wildlife and uncharted landscapes. Embrace the quirks of tranquility, mindfulness, and a bond with nature that’s as chill as it gets!
January 7: Mini "forest bathing?" Check out the new bonsai exhibition at Sonoma Botanical Garden. Experience a world of serene beauty and intricate craftsmanship as Sonoma Botanical Garden , in partnership with the Redwood Empire Bonsai Society, presents Living Sculptures: The Art and Science of Bonsai. See more than 15 miniature masterpieces, meticulously nurtured and shaped by the skilled hands of local expert bonsai artisans.
January 8: This is always a rough day - back to work, and on a Monday. Shrug off the case of the Mondays and have a bit of laugh therapy by stopping in to Tiddle E. Winks, Sonoma's most fun little store. A new mug, some treats from your childhood, and for an extra touch of wellness, get an aromatherapy candle or lavender-warming pad to keep you cozy. Fun isn't just a byword, it's literally the middle name of owner Heidi.
January 9: Smoothies! Head to Sonoma Market for fresh pressed juices made from fruits and veggies like beets and spinach. Plus, their assortment of local produce is perfect for loading up on all you need for great salads and to make your own smoothies at home.
January 10: A dog is a great reminder that - yes, they are your best friend- but also that you need to get outside. Head out to the dog park at Sonoma Valley Regional Park and enjoy the hills of the Valley of the Moon with your poocho. Did you know that the Sonoma County Regional Parks system even offers outings with your dog to some of their parks? Now you do - find out about their "Hikes With Hounds" program at their website.
January 11: Look to the stars at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa and enjoy the entire spa to yourself with their new Spa Under the Stars program. Under the Sonoma moonlight, experience Fairmont Spa like never before. Indulge in the ultimate romantic escape as you enjoy our enchanting space all to yourself. Toast to the evening with caviar and a bottle of Sonoma sparkling wine, and allow your private concierge to help curate an evening you won’t forget. This exclusive 2-hour experience includes full access to the Bathhouse, Watsu & Spa Pool, as well as the heated outdoor whirlpool.
January 12: The Sonoma Friday Farmers Market runs year-round, and now is the time to load up on fresh citrus, leafy greens, root vegetables and wonderful preserves. Eat local, eat fresh, eat Sonoma Valley produce!
January 13: Didn't get that e-bike from Santa, but still want to give one a spin? Head to Sonoma Adventures and rent an e-bike for the day, or better yet, sign up for a guided tour of Sonoma Valley to learn about the history and culture of the Valley of the Moon. If you are going to go out on your own you can use some of their suggested routes to explore.
January 14: We don't get sleet or snow in Sonoma Valley, but you can find ice to skate on at Snoopy's Home Ice in Santa Rosa. Adjacent to the Schulz Museum (of Peanut's and Snoopy fame,) this ice rink is a beloved institution and hosts classes, hockey, late night skates and just general fun on the ice. Gracefully skating along or doing your best to learn how to, this is a great way to have fun and get some winter exercise.
January 15: Eek! Did the credit card bill from last month arrive? Time to do some calm breathing. For free. Head to Sonoma Garden Park and sit in the silence of the fig tree, or see how to grow your own food at their permaculture exhibits.
January 16: The Sonoma Shuttle (Route 32) is a FREE bus that runs from the Sonoma Plaza to Boyes Hot Springs to the north, or down to Watmaugh Road in the south. Stop by Sonoma Market for some picnic supplies, then take the north loop to Maxwell Farms Regional Park and for a picnic on the banks of Sonoma Creek.
January 17: Mid-week, back-to-work doldrums are setting in, so how to keep your creative renewal going? Head to Sonoma's own art store, Fine Line Art & Frame, and get some art supplies. Pens, pencils, brushes, special paper and canvases await your special touch. Want to get better at your craft or learn more about how to draw and paint? Check out the Sonoma Community Center's programs. (There's one featured below on February 17!)
January 18: You're now two-and-a-half weeks in to your wellness journey, and while you may have been dipping your toes in it, now is the time to jump in with a splash - Sonoma Splash that is. This state-of-the-art, brand new aquatics center is the culmination of a unique partnership with the community and Sonoma Valley schools, making the pool available to the high school as well as Sonoma Valley residents and visitors. Try out an Ai Chi class, an aquatic exercise using a series of slow graceful movements done with focused breath, or a water yoga or even a classic aqua aerobics class. If lap swimming is more your style, there are dedicated lap lanes. Open to the public, Sonoma Splash is a great way to feel good in Sonoma Wine Country.
January 19: Bartholomew Park is a wonderful place adjacent to the stunning Bartholomew Estate Winery. Situated on 375 acres of vineyards, gardens, and forest, the Park is a protected space where the public can enjoy the beauty and history of the land. Open year-round from 10 AM to 4:30 PM. Dog friendly to friendly dogs, on leash. Get out in nature an enjoy the Sonoma winter sunshine!
January 20: Learn about Winter Treasures: Salamanders, Lichen & Mosses, and A Waterfall at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park with a guided excursion from Sonoma Ecology Center. Join Certified CA Naturalist John Lynch and walk through the sublime beauty of sage green lichen on burgundy manzanita bark and moss-bedecked oaks down to the 25-foot dramatic plunge of Sonoma Creek. Tickets are on a sliding scale from $10 to $15 and $5 for youth (12 to 17 years) and free for under 12.
January 21: Participating in "Dry January?" Enjoy a zero-proof, hand-crafted mocktail at The Beacon. (These refreshing drinks are every bit as fun and delicious as their boozy counterparts.)
January 22: Get into the flow with drop-in Tai Chi at the Sonoma Community Center. Can't make it this time? Don't worry, classes are every Monday at 8:00 AM and are priced to be wallet-friendly. Classes support joint health through agile steps, gentle movements and relaxed breathing. Weekly Tai Chi Class at Sonoma Community Center.
January 23: It's not in Sonoma Valley per se, but a short drive away from the Valley of the Moon are the majestic - and accessible - redwoods of Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve. The serene, majestic beauty of this Grove is a living reminder of the magnificent primeval redwood forest that covered much of this area before logging operations began during the 19th century. Armstrong Redwoods preserves stately and magnificent Sequoia sempervirens, commonly known as the coast redwood. These trees stand together as a testament to the wonders of the natural world. The grove offers solace from the hustle and bustle of daily life, offering the onlooker great inspiration and a place for quiet reflection. Take a short walk or roll along the gentle path, or tackle a longer hike along the ridges of the park.
January 24: One of Sonoma Valley's most intimate, vineyard retreats has a little secret- the spa at the Kenwood Inn and Spa is open to non-hotel guests during the week. This world-class inn sits between two hills draped with grapevines and near hiking trails, and their spa experience brings the serenity of the landscape to the treatment room. But don't just visit for the spa - an overnight, midweek break here is a real treat.
January 25: Embrace the ethereal glow of the full Wolf Moon at FlatBed Farm's enchanting sound healing evening! As the moonlight dances upon the fields, join us for a one-hour sound healing journey into serenity and harmony. Nestled in the heart of wine country, our rustic indoor barn sanctuary invites you to unwind and connect with the rhythm of the cosmos. Laying down cozy in your space allow the soothing sounds of crystal bowls, gentle percussion, and melodic chimes to wash over you, harmonizing mind, body, and spirit. As the Wolf Moon watches over, we invite you to be a part of this transformative experience. Reserve your spot for an evening of celestial harmony at Flatbed Farm—a sanctuary where the soul finds its serenade.
January 26: Explore the Montini Preserve with an expert naturalist and learn about the plants with the Montini Walk with Local Biologist: Explore Plant Communities. This free event is led by retired field botanist Greg Perrier. Bring sturdy hiking shoes!
January 27: Have you ever just spent time sitting? Meditating? Learn about the practice of zen meditation at Sonoma Mountain Zen Center. Sonoma Mountain Zen Center is an intimate community with a small residential program and a larger membership that joins in practice. We engage in an authentic Zen tradition through daily practice, retreats, group retreats, special events, and solo hermitages. The site, high atop Sonoma Mountain as the name indicates, is open to visitors Monday to Saturdays.
The center is located high on Sonoma Mountain, on eighty acres of secluded oak woodland and redwood forest overlooking the Valley of the Moon. The center's handcrafted buildings are constructed from recycled materials taken from old barns in the area.
January 28: Early to bed and early to rise may make you healthy, wealthy and wise - but you could also do the same thing in Sonoma Valley with the Lodge at Sonoma's "Health is Wealth" special offer. This fun deal includes a 2-night stay in a Cottage Junior Suite; an 80-minute Himalayan Hot Stone Massage for two people, or two treatments for one person with spa gift; one wellness experience (guests must select one option and book prior to arrival); a credit for Side Car Juice Bar on The Sonoma Plaza, and daily yoga classes. Book your "Health is Wealth" package here.
January 29: Take an easy two-mile walk on the paved trail at Sonoma Valley Regional Park - ADA accessible! Looking to extend your adventure, you can walk into Glen Ellen for lunch before heading back home.
January 30: Life is better on two wheels - join the "Taco Tuesday Bike Ride" in Santa Rosa. Lighted bikes and tacos.
January 31: It's time to start planning for a break. Check out the day retreats from Euphoria Retreats for a quick getaway, or dive into deeper, guided experiences from Sonoma to Switzerland and beyond.
February 1: Olive you! Extra Virgin Olive Oil is packed with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties, olive oil promotes cardiovascular health, aids in digestion, and boosts overall well-being. Swap out butter for olive oil and be heart healthy for the month of February. Check out the Olive Press at Jacuzzi Winery for local oil and recipes!
February 2: Groundhog day! We don't normally worry about six more weeks of winter in Sonoma Valley, especially as February usually heralds the beginning of Spring-like weather. Take a moment to enjoy some "eco-therapy" on the Sonoma Plaza with the self-guided tour of the flora, fauna and history by SonomaPlazaHistory.com. Short videos take you into the stories of Sonoma, covering topics like Native American culture and history, the Chinese in Sonoma, Mexican period, and European immigration.
February 3: If you went to the 2024 Martini Madness event last night at the Lodge at Sonoma, you may need a special treatment at Sonoma Cryo to freshen up a bit. The intimate spa-like studio provides cryotherapy, infrared sauna and static and dynamic compression.
Cryo not your jam? How about taking the "Nature as Muse: Songwriting with the Land" workshop from Pepperwood Preserve. Local songwriter, Anne Carol Mitchell, and Pepperwood Education Program Manager, Holland Gistelli, will be your guides for a day of creative community and artistic discovery at Pepperwood Preserve to inspire lyrics, songs, and music.This workshop is for all levels of songwriters, musicians, singers, and lyricists. This is a process-oriented workshop to support the discovery and development of creative works. Participants can use this workshop to generate creative ideas and/or hone works in progress. With the cozy Bechtel House as our homebase, the day will involve a morning guided sensory hike on the land with a journaling exercise.The afternoon will be dedicated to helping participants with their creative inspiration through the uses of writing prompts, songwriting building blocks, and individualized support. To conclude the workshop, there will be space for sharing and an opportunity to stay connected.
February 4: Wellness means caring for yourself, hence why the "Self Love Mindful Movement" retreat from Euphoria Retreats is a good way to learn how to better care for your body and soul. Begin with a intention ceremony to start your morning, followed by a rejuvenating 75-minute yoga session with instructor Monika Kaufman. Learn breathing techniques, enhance posture alignment, and practical tips to enhance your practice. After yoga meet Krissy Nevero, a holistic health coach to chat about hormonal wellbeing, identifying signs of hormone imbalance during perimenopause, menopause, and beyond. Discuss holistic lifestyle approaches for hormonal harmony in an environment that is supportive, interactive and educational. Wrap up enjoying a refreshing sparkling mocktail infused with Sonoma Syrups, followed by a delectable farm-to-table lunch. This extraordinary half-day retreat nourishes your soul, fostering intention-setting, yoga practice, expanding our knowledge of our bodies and nutrition, while connecting with like-minded friends. Rejuvenate with us, you’re worth it! Early bird rate $155 until early January.
Stay & Play at the Spa: Want to stay and dive into Fairmont Spa? Indulge in luxury with our Stay & Play limited time offer. (Only 6 spots, for a $50 add on to enjoy the bathing ritual, sauna and natural salt water pools from 2-6pm.)
February 5: Want some perspective? Take a night sky class at Robert Ferguson Observatory (inside Sugarloaf State Park) to find your place in the heavens and firmament. This is a series of six classes and are designed for everyone from total beginners to experienced amateur observers. Whether you want to learn the constellations or have a telescope and want to expand your knowledge of viewing objects, these classes have something for you. The focus is on learning the night sky in a "geographic" sense...locatin
February 6: Discover wineries and parks on a bike! Here's an intermediate-level bike ride from Sonoma local Anne-Marie that explores the neighborhoods of Sonoma: Park your car at the Sebastiani Winery on Fourth Street East. Bike Lovall Valley Road, turn left on to Gehricke Road and explore the area past the former Ravenswood Winery on your left. This area, the Haywood Vineyards, is where some scenes in the beautiful movie "A Walk in the Clouds" (1995) were filmed. Come back down to Lovall Valley Road. From there follow Lovall Valley Road, cross 7th St. East and turn left on to Castle Road and at the end of this road, you will find Bartholomew Estate Historic Park and the Bartholomew Winery, a perfect place to have a picnic, overlooking beautiful vineyards, a small reservoir and mountains in the background. Come back down to Lovall Valley Road, bike a couple of blocks, turn left on Old Winery Road. At the end of this road, you will find Buena Vista, the oldest winery in California. Back on Lovall Valley Road, you can follow it to Lovall Valley and do "The Loop" there. Or you can turn right on to Thornsberry Road and follow it to Gundlach Bundschu Winery. You will reach the winery from the back, you open the gate and voila! you can roll down to the winery and do some more wine tasting. From Gundlach Bundschu you come down Denmark St. and turn right onto 7th St. East, and before you know it you will be back on Lovall Valley Road again, in easy reach of the Sebastiani Winery, where your car is parked. Have fun!
February 7: Expand your world at the exhibit "Tsherin Sherpa: Different Worlds" at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, with the captivating artworks of Tsherin Sherpa, a globally renowned contemporary artist. Born in Kathmandu, Nepal, Tsherin Sherpa emigrated to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1998. The artist’s work is grounded in his personal experiences within the Himalayan Diaspora and his rigorous training as a thangka painter (traditional Buddhist art). Upon relocating to the United States, Sherpa encountered new artistic influences, which led him to develop a distinctive artistic practice that seamlessly blends his traditional upbringing with contemporary perspectives. Organized by Monterey Museum of Art, Monterey, California and supported in part by the Sonoma Tourism Improvement District.
February 8: Take a date to the theater (and take a break from Netflix!) for live, local performers. Sonoma Arts Live stages unique plays at Andrews Hall in the Sonoma Community Center. This month, it's "Sylvia," A.R. Gurney's romantic comedy about an unusual love triangle. Playgoers will relish this unique comedy about Greg, Kate and a most unusual dog named Sylvia who, as Kate puts it, “eats a serious hole in their 22-year marriage.”
February 9: Declutter, degrease and delight yourself when you create a healthy and sustainable cleaning routine! Visit Community Supply and check out the assortment of scrub brushes and sponges made from natural materials, solid soaps for kitchen and bath, beeswax wraps, reusable coffee filters, and the latest technology in sustainable laundry options.
February 10: Some fresh veggies and fruits might be just the thing you need to keep wellness front and center - on the table. Head out on the Sonoma County Farm Trails to find farmers, meat producers, beekeepers and all manner of local agriculture that's grown right here in and around Sonoma Valley. Flatbed Farm and Oak Hill Farm, both in Glen Ellen, grow excellent produce and sell at markets and on their farm. In spring Farm Trails puts on their popular Blossom, Bees & Barnyard Babies event.
February 11: As part of the olive oil challenge, take a hiking tour of McEvoy Ranch and learn how olives are grown and made into healthy, delicious oil. The "Walkabout Ranch and Art" public tour begins at the Tasting Room in the heart of the Lower Ranch. Walk down beautiful Poplar Tree Lane and journey through olive orchards to the Upper Ranch. Along the way learn how McEvoy Ranch became a California olive oil industry leader and enjoy a selection of outdoor sculptures & paintings from the McEvoy family private art collection. You’ll then be guided through the Frantoio (i.e., Olive Oil Mill) and conclude with a sampling of our award-winning olive oil.
February 13: Chocolate as wellness? Sure. And with Valentine's Day coming up, it's a great way to feel happy and connect with someone special. Head back to Community Supply for Ceremonial Cacao. Ancient Mayan and Aztec cultures used cacao beans as currency, and consumed chocolate not as solid bars, but in a frothy hot beverage at important events and in sacred rituals. In Sonoma County, our Ceremonial Cacao company is called ORA Cacao and is located in Graton. Community Supply stocks both ORA and Cacoco, which is based in Oakland. Visit Community Supply to learn tips for preparation and serving this delicious, nutritious and culturally significant beverage.
February 15: Say cheese! And no, not that awful, processed stuff that comes in single-serve plastic sleeves. Learn to make your own fresh cheese using simple, organic ingredients like milk and salt with a cheesemaking class from Sheana Davis at the Epicurean Connection. The class included a hands-on cheesemaking class, a cheese cloth, cheese ladle, cheese recipe card, cheese trail map, artisan cheese tasting, and a complimentary glass of wine. Guests will make a 2-3 pound Creme de Ricotta wheel of cheese. Once made, guests can add various flavors to the Creme de Ricotta from the Spice Bar. Classes are 90 minutes.
February 17: Like to sketch or paint figures? Try the Sonoma Community Center's Long Pose Session, which is limited to only eight participants. The Community Center provides the easels, tables and art boards (and the model), you bring your own art supplies and willingness to get in touch with your artistic side. This is an 18 and over activity.
February 18: A walk around the Sonoma Plaza is nice, but a guided tour of the historic area with stops in restaurants for nibbles and wineries that specialize in organic and biodynamic practices is better. Take a tour with Gourmet Food and Wine Tours, for a fusion wellness and indulgence, where every bite and sip is a testament to the belief that good food and fine wine can be both delicious and (mostly) health-conscious. As you stroll the historic plaza between each restaurant or wine room, revel in the invigorating rhythm of walking—a refreshing pause from eating that connects you to nature and provides good exercise to balance the experience. Along the way, we go beyond the ordinary, delving into the fascinating world of biodynamic and natural wines. Learn about sustainable practices and the unique processes that make these wines truly exceptional. Feed your brain with fun stories that tie in California history, adding a layer of cultural richness to your journey. Come discover the perfect harmony of flavors in Sonoma, where fresh air, exercise, and culinary delights seamlessly intertwine. This is a feast for the senses that not only leaves you refreshed, satisfied, and inspired but also imparts knowledge about the remarkable world of biodynamic and natural wines, making healthy choices a delightful and informed part of your lifestyle.
February 24: Creativity is an outlet for emotions, now learn how to draw from a professional cartoonist during "Sip and Sketch Happy Hour" at the Charles M. Schulz Museum. Adults are invited for fun drawing activities and exercises at this 21+ event. Get inspiration from the Museum galleries and work with professional cartoonist Justin Thompson to learn how to draw emotions while enjoying adult beverages!
March 1: The National Day of Unplugging is the first Friday in March. This year, turn off the phone, stop scrolling and get outside or do something that doesn't require an electronic device. Might we recommend a walk at Annadel State Park, a wonderland of nature that covers the mountains between the small village of Kenwood and the city of Santa Rosa? For wildflower lovers, Trione-Annadel State Park offers a great variety of flowers from early spring until early summer, especially on a hike around Lake Ilsanjo.
March 3: The hills are green and the weather is fair - maybe it's time for tea? But this time, try a "High Tea" with a CBD-infused tea from Happy Traveler's Tours. The High Tea Experience Includes: Three CBD-infused loose-leaf teas brewed tableside in traditional British Tea Service Style A “sweet and savory” Treat Tower, featuring three courses of (infused and non-infused) locally-sourced treats Transportation within the City of Sonoma to and from the Sonoma Tea Room (so you can relax and enjoy the afternoon). From Happy Traveler's Tours, the best of cannabis tourism in Sonoma County.
March 4: Let's march forth to Hood Mountain Regional Park for an adventure on a more advanced trail up to Gunsight Rock. Sturdy boots, water and fairly strong hiking ability recommended.
March 10: It's time to "Spring Ahead" to Daylight Saving Time, which can wreak a bit of havoc on our schedules. Stop by Community Supply, a small store that supports local, sustainable craftspeople, and pick up an "Out Like a Light Lavender Eye Pillow" or herbal tea to help adjust your circadian rhythm.
March 15: Beware! Beware the ides of March! Best avoid crowds of senators in togas on steps, and instead opt for getting some steps in at Annadel State Park. Hike up to the top of the ridge to see wildflowers and green meadows.
March 17: Sure, we can raise a glass to St. Patrick and still be - mostly- healthy. Moderation in all things, as they say, and while we're saying it, might was well head to Murphy's Irish Pub and raise a glass of Guiness, which purportedly has “antioxidant compounds” similar to those found in fruits and vegetables that slow down the deposit of cholesterol on artery walls. And it contains Vitamin B, which stands for buddies, which is who you hang with on St. Patrick's Day, which makes you feel better. So, be mindful of how much, but get some friends together for a "Sláinte!"
March 19: Spring begins at 11:00 PM tonight - it's the vernal equinox! Consider taking a Body Flows Spring Equinox Retreat in Sonoma Valley. Two night retreat starts March 22 and are an excellent way to re-center and prepare for the longer days coming.
March 20: Find inspiration, hope, laughter and thought-provoking films during the 27th Annual Sonoma International Film Festival, running through March 24. This community events brings a bit of Hollywood and Cannes to wine country and incorporates student and independent films.
March 21: Springtime in Sonoma means green hills, yellow mustard and blue skies. Enjoy all of Sonoma Valley's nature from a unique viewpoint - a hot air balloon. The quiet, still morning, the call of birds during the dawn chorus and the blast of warm air in the balloon make for a thrilling, but serene, outing.
March 26: The 2024 Sonoma Valley Author's Festival is just a month away - now's a good time to reserve your pass for this multi-day event that celebrates the written word and stimulates the mind and heart with author readings, captivating lectures and the chance to meet thinkers and writers. Passes are available at the Sonoma Valley Author's Festival website, the event is held at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa and around Sonoma Valley.
March 31: March and April are peak wildflower times in Sonoma Valley, and staying at Olea Hotel in Glen Ellen puts you right in the middle of parks to explore. Within hiking distance of Sonoma Valley Regional Park, Olea is also nearby several expanses of meadows and oak woodlands, perfect for a springtime stroll. Find their hiking information and special offers at their website.
April 15: Tax day! When you've completed your civic duty, consider mellowing out a bit with a visit to Sparc Sonoma, the only cannabis dispensary in Sonoma.