Sonoma



The town of Sonoma, centered around the Sonoma Mission and a lovely green park-like plaza, is one of Sonoma County's most popular tourist destinations for shopping, wine-tasting, dining, and spas. Downtown Sonoma is a town meant for strolling, with shops, restaurants, cafes, and tasting rooms surrounding the lush park, which includes a duck pond and lawns that are perfect for picnicking. In summer, there is often live music in the park. By far the oldest town in Sonoma Valley, Sonoma was founded as one of the original Spanish missions,the northernmost link in the chain of missions that stretched from one end of California to the other. Somewhat confusingly known by the official name of Mission San Francisco Solano, the Sonoma Mission is open to visitors, and the tour is well worth taking. Thanks to super-luxe spa resorts such as the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn , Villagio, and the Kenwood Inn and Spa, Sonoma is popular with couples looking for a romantic getaway and women on gals-only "girlfriend getaways." Families with young children love Sonoma for Train Town, "the most well-developed scale railroad in the Americas", which features a miniature steam railway that winds its way through 10 acres, including five bridges, trestles, and tunnels. There's also a petting zoo and beautifully restored vintage amusement rides, including a carousel and ferris wheel. Animal lovers come to visit Safari West, an open-air animal park where you can take a jeep safari tour or even camp out. Fifteen minutes north of Sonoma is the area known as Kenwood, which features numerous wineries, organic farms, and the Kenwood Inn and Spa.

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