Wine Country with kids in tow? Possible??
Honestly, our trip to Sonoma WITH Jett was such a success that I have been telling anyone and everyone with kids that it needs to be added to their bucket list.
And since we visited in January - which was still nice, but obviously not a May or June kind of nice... we want to make plans to go back!!
So here you go! Sonoma with Kids!:
Where to Stay
Air BnB's/VRBO's are the only way to go with kids. Having an extra bedroom where Jett could sleep and nap is always huge when you are on vacation. That way, when he's going to bed at 7:30, we can stay up and watch a movie and when he's napping we could sit on the front porch if we wanted to! We stayed at Dove Cottage Sonoma which I HIGHLY recommend and can't say nice enough things about. It has 2 bedrooms, a beautiful kitchen space and a large fenced in yard with a pool (pool was covered since we were there in January.. but it just made us want to go back in the summer just so we could actually use it!) The home is really close to downtown Sonoma - (roughly 5 minute drive) and walking distance to Train Town (which I will get to later!) Wineries were also really close to us, the ones we went to were 5-10 minutes away!
Where to Eat
We were only in Sonoma for a long weekend, so we didn't get a chance to make it to as many restaurants as we would have liked but had a great experience at all we went to!
Our first night in, we dropped off our stuff at the house and headed right into downtown Sonoma to walk around, get Jett to a playground so he could run out some energy and search for a good spot for dinner. We were in the mood for Italian and needed a spot that wasn't too upscale since we had our active/loud/crazy man toddler with us! Someone recommended the Red Grape and it was PERFECT. The pizza was incredible (my favorite thin crust - brick fired oven pizza!) and they also had pastas, salads and lots of other dishes as well. And don't forget the wine! It may not have been the fanciest restaurants but you ARE in wine country after all!
Our second morning in Sonoma we hopped back over to downtown and found this little brunch spot right off the central plaza. It was a little drizzly outside but we decided to sit in their courtyard so Jett could run around after we ate. They have a covered area back there so we were able to stay out of the drizzles and enjoyed our delicious omelette (me) and breakfast burrito (Brandon) Jett shared from our plates AND got a smoothie which he loved and devoured in what seemed like minutes!
The Sausage Emporium
WOW. So impressed by this little spot we found in the square tucked back into a hidden courtyard. They are known for their sausage (obviously) but I was so surprised how good our breakfast sandwich was! AND they had mimosas + peach belini's! It was very small, and only had a few barstools and couple of tables on their designated patio space - We tucked out of the rain, chatted with the owner and sipped on our coffee before devouring our breakfast sandy!
This little market was perfect for picking up picnic accoutrements on our way to a few wineries. If you go to tour a winery - you MUST pack a picnic, this was one of the highlights of our trip for me! Broadway market had made to order sandwiches, along with a pretty good selection of grocery items from fruit & vegetables, to crackers & cheese galore. We also picked up a few groceries and made dinner at home on our last evening in Sonoma. (We had the Chiefs game to watch and it was close to Jett's bedtime so watching it at home was the perfect option - another reason Air BnB is the way to go!)
Entertainment & Activities for the Kiddos
Our first evening we headed straight downtown to explore a little bit. In the middle of the square is two playgrounds and a pond with ducks and we knew Jett would enjoy running around after being cooped up on an airplane/in the car most of the day! We then walked around the square to check out restaurants and shops - lots of good eateries, and ice cream shop (which we didn't try since it was chilly that evening, but in the warmer months that would have been a must-stop!)
We had heard about Train Town and had plans to visit our second day after Jett's morning nap so he was fresh and ready to run around and play. We weren't sure how much he would enjoy it - as there are rides that he would be too small for, but he LOVED it! The park has a few old trains that you can walk through - a mini train ride that takes you 20 minutes around the outside of the park, a few "big kid" rides: rollercoaster, "scrambler" and other quick spinny rides, as well as a ferris wheel and carousel. We were able to ride the ferris wheel all together, and I was surprised how much Jett loved it! Depending on the age of your kids: older kids its possible you could spend an entire day here, but we spent about an hour and a half to two hours exploring and riding the rides!
Fun for adults and kids! Sonoma has quite a few kid-friendly wineries and we were able to check out two of them. We did our research our first night trying to find a few options that had good areas for Jett to run around while we could still sit and enjoy the wine. Dove Cottage had a great booklet of information on Sonoma with a section on family-friendly wineries and so we found plenty of options!
Cline Cellars was a 10 minute drive from Dove Cottage and our first winery stop. When we arrived we did jump onto a very quick tour of the cellar but then realized Jett was getting fidgety so we headed out to the barn where they told us they had a couple of donkeys to see. After spending some time saying hi to the donkeys, we then headed to the tasting room where we took turns tasting wines while the other went outside to run around the picnic area with Jett. We decided on a bottle and found ourselves a picnic table, cracked it open and enjoyed a glass of wine while Jett ran around the yard. It was protected from the parking lot- which was perfect for stress-free toddler play! Even for January the weather was so comfortable - no coats needed. I think it was this moment where we knew we chose the right spot to take our first family of three vacation all together!
Our second winery was Larson Family Winery - only a 5 minute drive from our cottage! Broadway Market was on our way and we stopped for sandwiches, cheese & crackers, and strawberries to take with us. While Cline Cellars was very relaxing and family friendly - Larson Family Winery was MADE for families! The picnic area had lots of room for Jett to roam with little ride on toys and a lawn with a game of bags set up. All overlooking the vines and beautiful hills in the distance. A few family dogs that live on property welcome guests (and try to steal your food- watch out!) We were a little bummed that it started to sprinkle off and on and had to stay under the covered picnic table areas.. but when that sun came out it was SO wonderful.
So what do you say?? Are you scheduling your trip yet? (do it, do it!)