This post is in partnership with Sonoma County Tourism. All opinions are my own.
Until recently, when I thought of wine country, I thought the only thing to do there was to drink wine. I know, a groundbreaking thought. But what if I told you that within wine country you could have an amazing wellness getaway?
Well, you can have a relaxing, self-care-focused trip by visiting Sonoma County. Sonoma County Tourism invited me to create my own self-care itinerary of activities and restaurants, and I was blown away by the wellness offerings available in Sonoma County.
Here’s the Balanced Black Girl’s Sonoma County travel guide to taking a wellness-inspired vacation.
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Sonoma County Travel Guide
My travel partner Francy and I had similar travel styles – we both like to have an equal mix of planned activities and downtime to explore when taking trips. Though we stayed at the historic Flamingo Resort which has plenty of offerings, we spent most of our time exploring the surrounding areas. Here are some of the activities we did while in Sonoma County.
Sonoma County Coast
Our first full day in Sonoma County we drove out to the coast to check out Bodega Bay. It was a short drive from where we were staying in Santa Rosa, with some beautiful scenery along the way. The rocky beach reminded me of Washington beaches, and there were breathtaking views of the water. A family-owned restaurant that was recommended to us was the Fishetarian Fish Market. We went shortly after having lunch so we didn’t end up ordering anything, but we heard great things about their health-conscious, sustainable seafood options.
Getaway Adventures Bike Tour
One of the highlights of the trip was our bike tour with Getaway Adventures. We started in Healdsburg and rode through the Russian River Valley stopping at a few wineries along the way. I hadn’t spent this much time on a bike since I was a kid, and it was such a fun, active way to explore this unique region of Sonoma County. Here are the wineries we stopped at during the tour:
This family-owned wine company is based in the Middle Reach of the Russian River Valley. This small, narrow area has a micro-climate of its own that gives its wines a unique, fruity flavor that is unique to the small region. We had a tasting at the beautiful home they had on the vineyard and it gave Parent Trap vibes (in the best way). I really liked their rosé.
Next, we rode to Enriquez Estate Wines in Forestville. This woman of color-owned winery had stunning property views and unique wines that we really enjoyed. If you visit, make sure to ask about their wine club, as they offer some amazing perks to their members.
Rosemary’s Garden Apothecary
While exploring Sonoma County, we stopped by Rosemary’s Garden Apothecary, which is a fun place to visit if you’re interested in wellness. Established by the founder of Traditional Medicinals (one of my favorite tea brands), this shop had every herb, tincture, and wellness book you could imagine.
Sonoma County Wellness
It wasn’t all about the wine (although there is plenty of it to go around). We got to explore some unique wellness offerings in Sonoma County, which were some of my favorite parts of the trip.
Redwoods Forest Bathing
Forest Bathing is a meditative practice that originated in Japan in 1982. Essentially, forest bathing entails spending time in nature to take a break from anything that may be overstimulating the senses, and to give you space to feel more present.
According to the International Journal of Forest Research, spending time in nature can significantly improve a person’s subjective well-being and increase overall life satisfaction.
We had an immersive forest bathing and wine tasting experience with Red Car Wine. After arriving to Zephyr Vineyards, we were guided on a meditative walk through the Redwood trees by a Certified Forest Therapy Guide. Once we got to a quiet area of the vineyard, we were led through a guided meditation and given time to walk independently around the vineyard to observe the plants and take in the natural beauty of the area.
After our meditation and walks, we sampled a few Red Car Wines as the sun began to set. As a meditation and nature lover, this was truly one of the highlights of the trip as it was so grounding and peaceful.
Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary
Is it really a vacation without a trip to the spa? We opted for a unique Sonoma County spa experience by visiting Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary in Freestone.
Osmosis Day Spa is the only place in North America where you can have a cedar enzyme bath treatment. This Japanese body treatment helps improve circulation, relieves joint and muscle pain, and helps clean and exfoliate the skin.
A large bath full of finely ground cedar, rice bath, and enzymes is prepared and heated. When doing the treatment you have a personal bath attendant who guides you through a traditional tea ceremony before you get into the bath. Once you enter the bath, your attendant covers you in the cedar enzyme mixture (which feels warm, soft, and spongey) and checks on you every five minutes to make sure you’re doing okay and to offer water and a cool compress for your forehead. It gets pretty hot, so these check-ins are really helpful, especially for your first time.
After about 25 minutes, it’s time to exit the bath and you’re instructed to shower to remove the debris (this wasn’t easy to do – that stuff gets everywhere).
Once I was all cleaned up, I was given an electrolyte drink to rehydrate and went out to the (stunning) Japanese Zen Garden for a few moments of quiet meditation before getting a full-body massage. The massage was so relaxing, and my massage therapist was so kind and helpful.
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Sonoma County Restaurants
You didn’t think I’d spill all this tea about the trip and not tell you about the food, did you? Here are the restaurants we tried while in Sonoma County.
Fern Bar had a great bar with fun cocktails and mocktails (they have non-alcoholic spirits on hand and can turn any of their amazing cocktails into a mocktail), and unique fusion dishes.
This roastery gave me Seattle vibes for sure. It would be a great place to stop for coffee and pastries while exploring.
A plant-based café that had AMAZING healthy options including gluten-free baked goods (I had a bomb gluten-free biscuit), chia pudding (I also had this and it was great), coffee, matcha, and smoothies.
A great place to go for a date for an upscale steakhouse vibe. They had a beautiful outdoor eating area.
The food here was great – a modern twist on a lot of southern favorites and family-style dining that has something for everyone.
This Black-owned café had such a fun vibe. It doubles as an art gallery for local creators and had great coffee and avocado toast. There’s also a large stage and outdoor area for local events.
We stopped here on a whim for lunch and I’m so glad we did! They had good veggie options – I ordered the cauliflower steak with beet hummus and really enjoyed it. The fries were also great.
There is so much to explore in this part of California, and Sonoma County would make incredible wine and wellness-inspired trip to take with your friends. What other Balanced Black Girl travel guides would you like to see?