Sonoma – Heart of the County

There’s nowhere on earth like Sonoma. While wine enthusiasts and tourists often think of Napa Valley as the place for superior vintages and farm fresh foods, but Sonoma County has a more intimate feel for those who want to get away. Discover the rich history and current attractions of the heart of Sonoma County

Sonoma’s Origins

Coast Miwok and Southern Pomo tribes claimed the territory until the first Europeans arrived and most of them died of smallpox. Spanish settlers built ranchos, and, in 1823, Father Jose Altimira built the Mission San Francisco Solano in what is now downtown. The city was under Spanish military control until one morning in June 1846, when 33 Americans led a rebellion against the Alta California government.

The rebels created a bear flag, and Mexican officials called them Los Osos, which means The Bears because of their flag and their unkempt appearance. Their symbol eventually became the flag of the California Republic. Today, visitors can tour the Mission, the barracks where the rebels stayed and the former home of Mexican commander Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo.

Arts and Culture

Sonoma has a thriving art community filled with concert venues, art galleries and museums. Broadway World San Francisco twice named Transcendence Theatre Company the annual Theater of the Year. LaHaye Art Center features completed and in-progress work by local artists. The Sonoma Valley Museum of Art has metal sculpture and contemporary paintings.

Restaurants and Wineries

History lessons are even more intriguing with a glass of wine. Three Sticks at the Adobe is an 1842 home with antique china, 1800s artifacts and wine tasting paired with caviar, crème fraiche and capers. The Harvest Moon Café offers New American cuisine that blends the taste of California with Mediterranean flavors. The B and V Whiskey Bar and Grille offers brisket smoked for 12 hours over French oak barrel.

There are too many award-winning wineries to visit in several lifetimes, and each one is unique. Highway 12 Vineyards and Winery provides Carneros Chardonnay, handmade dog toys and unique picture frames. Buena Vista Winery produces 100,000 cases of wine a year.

When Sonoma residents need help with their heating, cooling and plumbing needs, they call Ongaro and Sons. We replace plumbing, air conditioners, furnaces and boilers, and have been doing so since 1932. Contact us to find out more.