Serendipitous Sunday in Sonoma

By Kate Riley June 22, 2009

For Father’s Day, Mr. CG wanted to go wine tasting and have a picnic at some of our favorite wineries along the Highway 12 corridor that connects Kenwood to Glen Ellen in Sonoma.  Ah, June.  The sunshine could not have been more perfect today. 

sonoma valley grapevines

Our first stop was Ledson Winery, known to the locals as ‘The Castle’.  This Gothic French-Normandy structure  is stunningly beautiful. While it looks as thought it may have been around as long as the 100 year old oak trees on the grounds, it actually was built in 1993.  There are several tasting bars located within, and outside you can walk the grounds, taking in the vineyards and gardens. 


ledson behind grapevines 

Today we simply strolled the grounds and the gift shop.  The critters are fond of the oak trees at Ledson.

fonz oak trees

whos in there 

I like to walk through the dusty fields and watch the grapes grow.

dirt & grapevines

Our next stop for a picnic was the world famous Chateau St. Jean.  No doubt, you’ve seen their wines in restaurants near you.  This place is my favorite winery in Sonoma.  Nowhere transports me faster to Europe than in this unique location.  As you meander through impeccable gardens, filled with bloom filled containers and fountains, the gravel crunches under your feet, just like the formal gardens of France. 

ct st jean

ct st jean arbor

ct st jean gardens

ct st jean planter

ct st jean walking path

Here’s a peek at the tasting room, and the stylish seating area inside the gift shop. 

ct st jean tasting room

ct st jean sitting

Outside, we shared a picnic on the great lawn, next to a blooming magnolia tree, with paper lanterns overhead.  I was able to catch up on the latest BH&G issue, despite the munchkins crawling all over me.  

ct st jean rear evelation

ct st jean rear elevation from side

ct st jean reading

Notice the Water Resistant Outdoor Blanket?   It’s made by Tuffo, and I am crazy about it.  This blanket is chocolate brown nylon on one side, and a stylish blue stripe on the cloth side.  It has its own carrying case and is machine washable.  I bought it two years ago from Amazon, and I use it all summer long.  At the pool, at the park, or anywhere public.  I keep it in my car, and I highly recommend it for your outdoor adventures. 

Now back to our Sunday.  I never dreamed I’d ever feature a picture of a public bathroom, but oh my, have you ever seen a better entrance to a restroom than this?

ct st jean restrooms

On our way into the town of Sonoma, we stopped to photograph the award winning Kenwood Inn & Spa because the light was so perfect at this stunningly beautiful spot.  This oasis is reminiscent of Tuscany in every way, with its butternut tinted walls covered with creeping ivy, its courtyards, and its corridors.

kenwood inn

kenwood courtyard

kenwoood corridor 2 kenwood corridor kenwood fountain

I was a complete trespasser today, exploring the paths of the Kenwood Inn surrounded by grapevines and more fountains.  At the end of one path was a spectacular private villa, with an amazing view of Sonoma’s Valley of the Moon.

kenwood path

kenwood white fountain

kenwood villa     

I stopped to kick up my toes at the outdoor spa, faking that I was an actual guest.  Ah, now wouldn’t this be the life ?!  

kenwood pool

Our last stop was one of our favorite places on earth, the Sonoma Square.  This public square is one of the few, perhaps only, plazas in California where you can publicly consume adult beverages, due to grandfathered consumption laws.  We purchased a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc from our favorite Sonoma Wine Shop, pulled out our favorite blanket and picnic basket, then lounged with a glass on the grass. 

sonoma pair

We had no worries about drinking and driving.  We had our designated driver with us. 

classic bella

Stay tuned for Friday’s giveaway, featuring savory selections from the wineries featured today.  And I was able to refurbish that highboy dresser I found at the Goodwill.  It looks remarkable – can’t wait to show you !

And congratulations to Pam at Ramblings of a Happy Homemaker for winning the Lavender Bee Farm giveaway ! 




  1. Haha! She's such a hambone. Love these pictures. So gorgeous! Thanks for sharing… ^_^

    (I'm posting today about the ottoman that I recovered this weekend. My first furniture redo. So excited!)

  2. What a fun day! I love that flagstone walking path you pictured. I really want to do that in my backyard…once we get around to landscaping it.

    You four are such a beautiful family! Oh, happy life! :)

  3. sooooo jealous! Absolutely beautiful. I've always wanted to go there and this just refueled my intention to get there some day!

  4. That looks like an awesome day. Thanks for making me smile this morning.

    Oh, and I figured out the picture thing. I had my designer remove the frames from my template. I can do the rounded corner photos in Picnik. I am going to give you a shout out this week we I do my "My new favorite blogs" post.

  5. Lovely photos. My favorite one was your little girl looking up at the tree. And I laughed when I saw her "driving." Look out, California! ;)

  6. What a fun day–and what a beautiful family!

    That designated driver photo is to die for. Oops, that probably wasn't the best choice of words. But you know what I mean. :)

  7. That's awesome! I want to go, you go on the neatest field trips. I hope you enjoyed your wine.

  8. beautiful pictures. The California summer looks a lot more enjoyable to be outdoors than hot and humid Houston

  9. I visited the wine country in 2007, and thought it was one of the most beautiful places in the US. I wish I had visited some of the vineyards that you featured in this post!

    Have a great week!

  10. Lovely day! That last picture was fantastic!! I was picturing a limo or something…wrong!! :)

  11. Ah, Kate…I love your pictures! My husband and I went to the Ledson Winery on our honeymoon…your picture brought back sweet memories!

    Tana@Crafting R&R

  12. We just got back from Napa (pictures on my blog) and I loved it. Sonoma looks amazing as well and I think another trip is in order!

  13. So envious that you live close enough to visit for a day trip….these pictures brought me back to my honeymoon in Sonoma….and away from the MN winter! Thanks for the memory and your photos!

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