Just an hour north of San Francisco and a 15
minute scenic vineyard drive from Napa Valley, Sonoma Valley is located in the southern
part of Sonoma County between the Mayacamas and the Sonoma Mountain ranges. The
southern end of the valley opens toward the San Pablo Bay, the northern end stretches
through 17 miles of vineyards, farms, small towns, and open space.
Developed around the central plaza, or town square, over 9,100 people live within
the four square miles of the City of Sonoma limits. Modern culture and businesses thrive
here among the landmark adobe and historic buildings, an eclectic blend of the past with
the present. Sonoma is the largest town in Sonoma Valley. Here numerous cultural events, shows,
and celebrations are held in the historic central Plaza year 'round, for the enjoyment of locals and visitors
alike. The Plaza offers shaded picnic tables, children's playground areas, lawns and even a duck pond.
At the southern entrance to the valley are the farms, vineyards,
and wetlands of Schellville. Past the vineyards the land stretches out into the
wetlands, the sloughs, and the local creek flowing into the San Francisco Bay.
Founded in 1888, Schellville was once home to several hay, grain, and other
crop farms. Today, most of these fields are covered with vineyards. Visit the Sonoma Valley
Airport, known for its antique airplanes, and the nearby wineries.
the southeastern end of the valley, east of Schellville , is Vineburg. If you
are coming from Napa Valley one of the main routes between the two valleys takes
you through the Vineburg area. The "downtown" includes a deli and a post
office at the intersection of 8th St. East and Napa Rd., along a light industrial area bordered
by majestic and fragrant eucalyptus trees. Rural Vineburg is home to several vineyards,
wineries, cows, horses, small farms and local families.
of the Sonoma city limits is the district of El Verano. During the first few decades
of the 1900s, city folk flocked by train to El Verano to enjoy the swimming, fishing,
and resorts. The tiny downtown area includes a post office and the original saloon
from the boom town days
In the 1895's, natural hot mineral water springs were
discovered just north of the Sonoma city limits which sparked the Valley's hot
springs resort heyday during the late 1800s through the 1930s. Today Boyes Hot
Springs includes several fine hotels and restaurants and is home to a few thousand
Like Boyes Hot Springs, these communities developed in
the early 20th century in response to the local hot springs resort boom. Many
of the original vacation cottages and some hotel buildings from the era survive
today. With dozens of restaurants and family businesses, over two thousand people
live in the area today.
On the western edge of the Valley, north of El Verano and south of Glen Ellen
is the Eldridge District. Home to the Sonoma Developmental Center for the developmentally
disabled, Eldridge features beautiful grounds and scenery. From Arnold Drive,
turn left at the stop sign into the central SDC campus for a closer look at one
of the most architecturally beautiful buildings in Sonoma: the original Gothic
Victorian main building, completed in 1894. It is currently closed to the public,
as a restoration project is underway.
of Eldridge is Glen Ellen, featuring the Jack London State Historic park. The
hamlet has a market, a post office, art shops, bed & breakfasts, several bars
and restaurants, and a creek. Right next door is Sonoma Mountain and a network
of country roads. Area wineries are only minutes away, and the dog park on Highway
12 is only a few miles south of the village.
At the north end of the Valley is the area of Kenwood. It is home to many
world class wineries, beautiful wine country vineyard vistas, and Sugarloaf State Park. Kenwood's restored
train depot in the central Kenwood area has a display of historical images of the area.
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Olives & Olive Oil
The Towns of Sonoma Valley