Escape to Bodega Bay

By Kellie Edson

Bodega Bay is one of my and my husband’s favorite day trips from Sacramento, and we try to get down there whenever we can manage it. (And with a husband who works for Amtrak, those trips have been harder to plan lately.)

It helps that he went to Sonoma State and knows a lot of the random little things and places that you may not necessarily think of when it comes to “wine country.”  We don’t do the fancy wine tasting or the expensive shopping. Of course those things are fun too and there are many other great places to check out down there, but here are a few of our favorites:

First Stop: THE strawberry stand.  And I mean THE strawberry stand. These are the best strawberries in the world.  Seriously. I promise. Now, unfortunately last week when we went down there, the stand was closed. (Sad temper tantrum) Okay, okay it’s not quite really strawberry season yet, so I guess I’ll forgive them. Anyway, we take the back way in – Highway 12 to 121 to 116 to Adobe road and finally to Petaluma Hill Road. THE strawberry stand is near Roberts Road off of Petaluma Hill. Now some may call this the long way, or the “scenic route.” But in actually not only is it scenic, but many times faster than taking 37. Plus then you won’t miss the strawberry stand! You won’t be sorry.

Also, don’t forget to check out the Dr. Seuss tree on your way in:

Second Stop: Sonoma State. This was a new stop for us on this trip. We’ve been together 5 ½ years, and he still hasn’t gotten the chance to show me Sonoma State so we made a quick stop on the way into town. The pretty ducks and pond *almost* mitigated my disappointment at the strawberry stand being closed.

Third Stop: Flavor Bistro & Downtown Santa Rosa.

So we really, really love Flavor. It may not seem like much from the outside, but the ambience is relaxing, the food is awesome and the prices are super reasonable. Plus, this is the only place I can get Chris to eat olives!

 These babies are warm and super, super yummy. We splurged for two plates this time!

Another favorite dish there is their seasonal cheese plate. It helps that I have an entire second stomach for cheese and bread, but I actually usually make this my meal. Beautiful poached fruit, local Sonoma cheeses, honey and candied walnuts, yum!

(Apologies for the blurry picture. I was just so excited to eat!)

Right in the same area as Flavor is all of the fun shops in downtown Santa Rosa, including Treehorn used books, which is always a favorite. You could spend half the afternoon here!

Fourth Stop: Pictures along the way.


Pictures along the way of any road trip are a must.  Considering most of these were of the “out the car window” variety, I think they came out pretty good! I grew up in Tahoe so cows and sheep fascinate me, and I always get disproportionately excited and try to take pictures of them as we drive by. Chris rolls his eyes.

This trip we even stopped to take a picture of the church in Bodega that Alfred Hitchcock used in The Birds.

Lastly: Bodega Bay!  It was a little cold this trip, and the waves were massive. But it was beautiful as ever. I am always in awe of our broad, rocky California coast and am happy to call this area home. Where else can you drive just 2 hours to the ocean, Tahoe or San Francisco??

Other places to check out along the way:

  • Jelly Belly Factory in Fairfield – Always fun to grab jelly beans on the way!
  • Lombardi’s Deli in Petaluma – An easy stop on the way to Bodega Bay for SUPER yummy sandwiches to take to the ocean.
  • Bee Kind Honey in Sebastapool – Everything Honey! Super fun store that we sometimes stop at along the way.
  • Doubletree Hotel Rohnert Park (if you’re staying overnight) – This Doubletree is beautiful, comfortable, and much more reasonably priced than many other wine country hotels.  I think we’ve even gotten it for under $75 per night on one occasion.

Have you taken this day trip before?  Any other great places we are missing out on?



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