Moving to Wine Country: Sonoma, California

Lif eIn A Tourist Town: Sonoma, California

After spending most of my life as either a city dweller or a mountain hermit, I have now opted for the in-between, the idyl of small town life in a tourist destination in California’s Wine Country. I have moved to the middle of a city block. There are houses to the right of me, houses to the left: a retired car dealer, a widow, a forty-something executive couple, a retired diplomat, a few clowns and jokers, notably a gang of 20-somethings that parties every weekend night until someone throws up and guests roar off on their motorcycles. There is a local radio station that mixes small town news with “hey dude” commentary about the 70s drug and rock scene. Recently the local newspaper featured a story about an encounter between a vehicle and a very large sow.

Over the past 20 years or so, Sonoma, California has gained the status of “tourist town.”


Bear Not: Amador County, California’s Other Wine Country

The Holdout

We visited Amador County, California wine country few outside of the state know about.

There is a little cluster of teddy bears trembling in a corner at the Hanford House in Sutter Creek, California. “What shall be our fate?” they cry through their little button mouths. “A few years ago bed and breakfasts were safe-houses for us. We swung naked from the rafters, we sat on window sills in our frilly little outfits, we heard laughter as guests made up `unbearable` puns about us.”

Cutesy is out in Sutter Creek, the gateway to California’s “other” wine country. Oriental antiques and designer olive oil are in. Amador County, in the heart of Gold Country, has a winemaking tradition that dates back to Gold Rush days. It is, refreshingly, what the Napa Valley was thirty years ago…at least for now.