The old town of Sonoma itself is centered on a square, around which are clustered a number of lovely restaurants, shops and a couple of hotels. We stayed about a mile outside the downtown at the Lodge at Sonoma Renaissance Spa & Resort, which I would certainly recommend. Fortified with a great breakfast from the Sunflower Caffe - which has a charming, private back patio - we headed off to sample some wines. Cycling in between was a great way to break things up; we saw another group touring by Segway and others with rented vans and limos. With many wineries offering sample flights of six wines, an alternative to driving is a good plan. Sipped out after six hours and four wineries, we headed back to the Lodge where they were offering...complimentary wine sampling! We gave it a pass and instead relaxed by the fire. Dinner was a highlight: the Harvest Moon Cafe is a tiny restaurant in Sonoma that specializes in local, seasonal fare and our meal lived up to its reputation.
A change of pace was called for the next day, and many options that are not wine-focused abound: the area has wonderful hiking; charming little towns and villages; a 400 acre wildlife preserve known as Safari West; the Petrified Forest; its own "old faithful" Geyser - all of which we certainly would have hit if we had the children with us. And, there is always the Petaluma Village Premium Outlets when the skies turn grey. All this about an hour's drive north of San Francisco...we will no doubt be returning.