Springtime in Wine Country

By Kate Riley April 13, 2010

March and April give us their fair share of rain, and it seems this year we’ve had more than ever !  I get cabin fever when it rains, so whenever the sun peeks through, I love to take long drives down country roads and explore the rural terrain. 

Usually I make my way to downtown Sonoma for a stroll and a day in the park.  Whenever I take a drive, I always bring my camera !  Here’s a few of my favorite photos of a country drive to Sonoma.

 sonoma sunflowers 

country barn


121 Corridor 076

 sonoma valley

ms cow 

acorn mustard


acorn bees view


Ultimate destination: downtown Sonoma. 

Here is this lovely town photographed in springtime !

southeast corner


square fountain 

cherry blossoms and sebastiani

window box

south corridor


east corridor la salette

girl and fig menu 

east side ledson

east side ledson wine tasting

south side chateau sonoma

Worth the drive, every time ! 

For some other backyard tours, take a visit to some of these places too. 

Tour a local Lavender Bee Farm

lavender with barn


Visit Kenwood and Chateau St. Jean

ct st jean rear elevation from side


Spend the weekend in Napa

napa grapevines


Sip sparkling wine in the Carneros Region

flight in bottles


Tour a Castle Tasting Room in Napa

castillo di amorosa


Visit Yountville and Thomas Keller’s Bouchon



See my most Favorite Escape where I take all my visiting friends and family. 

courtyard tree


Enjoy these little tours, while I dive back into some DIY -  I’m in the middle of a makeover of my boy’s room plus some other projects too.   And if anyone is contemplating a visit to Wine Country, be sure to email me for some insider tips on places to go to make your vacation memorable.

Thanks so much for reading friends ! 


  1. Such a familiar drive. I’m lucky enough to be able to choose that route on my drive home during the Spring & Summer months(I just don’t bother in bad weather). All this time, and I’ve never taken along my camera & regret it every time. Making a point now that we’ve got a break. :) Thanks for sharing Kate. As always, wonderful photos.

  2. Oh… and when I do bring along that camera next time, I’m definately stopping to snap an image of Willy Bird Way. My FIL is named William and that’s one of my MIL’s pet names for him. Might make an interesting, unique and personal gift.

  3. Beautiful!! My dream is to live in the country, a few miles from a quaint little town like that. =) Thank you for the pictures. They brightened my day :)

  4. Such beautiful, beautiful photos. Makes me want to visit California, for sure.

    Hmmm. . . my oldest son will be spending the summer in Santa Cruz. Perhaps I should plan a trip to see him sometime during the summer, and then venture north.

  5. wow those are such gorgeous pictures!!! I love “the girl and the fig” such a cute name for a cafe restaurant:)

  6. Gorgeous! I always love the pictures of the vines lined up. You have a good eye! But please do tell more one of these days about the sparkling wine you taste. I love champers and am always looking for great American sparklers.

  7. We moved to Denver from San Rafael in Marin County. I’m so jealous! Spring in Denver means snow! How I miss California!!

  8. Beautiful! My husband and I stayed in Yountville last year for our anniversary…love! These pictures make me want to go back. We loved had such a great time. It was so beautiful and I loved just looking at everything. Thanks for sharing! :)

  9. Wow..this is so pretty. I live in wine area in Eastern Washington State…but we don’t have quite the same look…and spring for us is not as advanced. I’m longing for my lavender to be in bloom. Maybe next year we have to plan a camping trip down there…get out of the winter blahs.

  10. I just wanted to say thank you for the time and effort you put into your blog. I love your ideas and inspirations.

    I was recently provided a “Sunshine Award” which I wanted to pass along to you as a thank you for all the beauty you bring to all of your readers. It isn’t much. But it is a small symbol of my appreciation. Your photography is stunning and your projects delightful. You are such a talented and creative woman. Thank you for sharing your gifts with all of us.


  11. Oh, this was wonderful!!! Sonoma is one of my favorites! My husband and I stayed at the B&B on the corner above (or maybe next to?) The Girl and the Fig (I think) :). I don’t remember the name of the B & B, but I remember “The Fig” restaurant. Anyway, it will always be remembered as one of the best vacations we ever took. I can’t wait to go back. Thanks for the wonderful photos. Love your blog!

  12. lucky you to have such a great escape so close by! and i can’t wait to see your boy’s room as i’m in the process of doing my son’s!

  13. Ahhhhh! My old stomping grounds! Don’t you just love that area in Spring? I forgot just how much I miss Spring in Northern Cali.

    Did you stop at Basque Bakery and get some YUMMY french bread??

  14. You lucky girl! You’re surrounded by loveliness. That barn, those rolling hills, the blooming trees, the beautiful downtown area – love it all! Can’t wait to see what you do with your son’s room – I’m dying for some good ideas for my boys’ rooms.


  15. I’m a Northern California girl living in Southern California and miss it every day. Your photos fed my soul – for today at least.

  16. I’m leaving work in 5 minutes and just heading on up to the airport. Will I make it in time for dinner? And can we go driving around tomorrow? LOL BREATHTAKING photos and I’d SURE love to visit.

  17. Oh this makes me go into dream land, I love it! Someday when the kids are grown I can’t wait to take a trip with the hubby! Thanks for sharing!
    Take care

  18. What lovely photos! Makes me miss my days of living in California (San Diego). We may be heading to wine country this summer for a wedding – I may take you up on that offer for insider tips :) Love your blog – have fun with the DIY!

  19. Love your post girl! I am going there two times this year. One with my school girl best friend and once in December coming or going back to Seattle on our trip to Disney! I am super excited to see it in person! Thank you for sharing sweetie!

  20. i just gave you a sunshine award over at my blog and then i come here and see your photos! beautiful!

  21. Gorgeous photos, Kate! My husband and I got engaged at the Sonoma Mission Inn in 1994. All your local reports (the Headlands, Ft. Cronkite, the Wine Country) make me so homesick!

  22. So pretty. This August it will be two years since I’ve been to Sonoma. I think I need to plan another trip and those pictures are making me want to book the trip now!

  23. Kate – every time you go out and about I relive my Sonoma wine / golf trip.
    we ate at the gril and the fig…what a great meal?

  24. Ah, Sonoma. The hubby and I just went there for a mini vacay from Monterey (sounds ridiculous, right? Everyone needs to get away sometimes!) a few weeks ago, and I took tons of pics! We stayed at the Sonoma Hotel, which is right above The Girl and the Fig. Didn’t eat there, but did eat at the Fig Cafe–so yummy. I didn’t even think to pick your brain about where to go! We couldn’t find anywhere to have breakfast one day and ended up at Black Bear Diner–which is good, but doesn’t really scream “Sonoma.” :] I’ll definitely let you know when we pass through Petaluma again, though–the cutest town ever!!

  25. I’m the matron of honor (June 2011) for a gal that just moved from Novato to Sonoma, so I will meet her once I finish finals at A Girl and the Fig! The first time I went all the other ladies ordered a salad, or a silly little side. I got the fig burger, and watched their envious eyes as I bit into it :) Craving another!!

  26. Ooo, I’d love to go there. Such wonderful pictures and I love the story they tell. I wonder if my Hubby would like to go there for our Anni? Hmm, one can only hope right?

  27. Seeing that cow all I could think was “Happy cows come from California”. LOL.

    I love Napa, but have never made it up to Sonoma. Such a shame as it seems just as beautiful! I am heading to Sacramento this weekend so maybe I’ll venture out a little. :)

  28. Fantastic Tour! I haven’t made it to CA. yet…I’m from the east coast, living in the mid-west….I’m half way there! :) Looks beautiful! I didn’t get a chance to comment on you daughter’s bedroom reveal…truly amazing!

  29. Okay, I’m hopping on a plane tomorrow to come see you in California so you can take me to Viansa/the winery, etc. (hope I spelled it correctly!)

    Those photos of your recent Sonoma trip are the catalyst for a real “hankerin’
    for some amazing olive oil, fresh fruit/cheese and wine, of course.

    (What can I say? I conceived my first child in Italy and any derivative of the Old Country casts its siren call to me.)

    Oop…I shouldn’t invite myself to your house……….but between the turquoise room re-do and now this……………..well…..my manners have slipped and it’s off to California I must go!~

    Just kidding–my grandmother would ROLL, truly ROLL, up in heaven if I actually invited myself to your house…..but I CAN compliment you from afar:

    You are a definite iconoclastic artist whose touch galvanizes everything!! I absolutely adore everything you do!!!

    Hugs, Lana Austin

  30. I lived in Napa a couple years ago, and I always loved the cows. You can’t help but smile and say, “Happy cows come from California,” when you see them munching on the grass in the sunshine with gorgeous views. :)

  31. Oooh…what road/HWY were you on for that first photo? Love that photo spot! Sonoma is and the Napa Valley is one of my favorite places in our area. Nothing beats a lazy day meandering through there! Sonoma had a couple great thrift stores with a ton of vintage finds.

  32. I love, love, love Sonoma. My favorite town is Healdsburg. Their townsquare is lovely as is the Oakville Grocery Store. We had a great meal there. I would LOVE to go to Thomas Kellers Bouchon. Have you ever been there?

  33. Ohhh, this photo tour made my heart ache, but in a very good way. My husband and I spent a good portion of our honeymoon in Sonoma, we truly fell in love with it. We will be back!

  34. Love the ‘happy cow’ in your pictures. When I retire (hopefully in 21 months) I want to travel and your pictures are putting this part of the country at the top of my list! I’d like to fly out to Washington and drive down the coast stopping at neat towns and places along the way. I am a needlepointer and want to visit all the lovely shops out there, stay at B&Bs and eat my way down the coast!

  35. Kate…this post is gorgeous, though it only adds to the “post-vacation blues” that I’m experiencing this week. Patrick and I just returned from our one-year anniversary trip to Northern California. We crammed so much activity into the 4 days that we were in SF and Sonoma…it was truly a fabulous, romantic and memorable vacation…simply perfect!

    Thank you (from the bottom of my heart) for taking the time to reply to my email a couple of weeks ago with suggestions. You are a creative, beautiful and thoughtful person…I look forward to checking in with you (on your blog) each day! :)

    Some of our highlights…high tea at Crown and Crumpet, opening day tickets to the Giants game, food, food and more food. Also, we were treated like royalty at Viansa, which may just be Heaven on Earth. A generous tasting of wines at Viansa, followed by a picnic lunch overlooking the countryside…made my heart very happy! Sadly, by the time we made it into Sonoma and The Girl & the Fig, I had already consumed enough wine for the day…a rookie mistake for sure!

    We ended up staying in Rohnert Park (at the DoubleTree), as most of the boutique hotels in the area required a two-night stay. On Sunday, we had brunch at Della Fattoria in downtown Petaluma…oh, my…so yummy and such a completely darling town! Lastly, I was able to purchase a darling spring dress for upcoming weddings and social events at Ooh La Loft on Petaluma Blvd…what a wonderful little boutique!

    Our trip to your part of the country was just what we needed…time away from home and work in an absolutely beautiful setting. I am so envious and simply cannot wait to return!

    Sonoma, je t’aime!

    ;) Kristi

  36. Beautiful. I’m hosting a murder mystery party and the setting is the wine country of California. I love these shots of inspiration for the decor. Beautiful.

  37. Gorgeous photos! Paris, my adopted home town, is beautiful, but is nothing compared to my real home, especially as seen through your lens.

    Thanks for sharing.

  38. Every time you do a post like this you make me wanna scratch my travel itch. Thanks for sharing these lovely photos with us!

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