Brits in the Bay

Best of the Bay: Sonoma Without the Wine

ExploreAlexis MonoogianComment

This Saturday we made our way up to Sonoma but alas there was to be no wine tasting for us, 2 little munchkins and a car in tow put paid to that. But Sonoma without the wine, what else is there to do I hear you ask, never fear Brits in the Bay is here to let you know, or at least let you know what we did!

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Our trip started with stop at Sonoma Raceway, just along Highway 12 on the way into Sonoma itself. We were just there to buy a helmet this time but there was an event on which looked interesting and you were able to buy tickets on the door for $20. Sam and Poppy are off there this weekend for the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. You can buy tickets here if you fancy it, don’t forget ear defenders for the kids! Or if you’d like to buy a helmet like we did, we were at Wine Country Motorsports, the service was excellent and we even came away with some money left!

After our little pitstop (see what I did there!) we headed into town for a walk around the Plaza. There were loads of cute little shops and galleries to take a peek in and they even have a handy website here. At Poppy’s request, we popped into Readers’ Books for a nosey round, the girl likes book shops, what can I say! It was lovely, had all the standard books plus a lovely selection of books on wine and the local region.

Marys Pizza Shack Sonoma Interior.JPG

There were loads of fab places to eat, or they looked fab anyway, we could only eat in one, sorry! More than happy to go again though and try out somewhere else. I had my eye on a lovely looking Mexican, La Casa, because as you may have established I spend a lot of life eating burrito bowls and I also put guacamole on most things.  However, as we walked further round the plaza we found Mary’s Pizza Shack and I made the fundamental error of checking their menu for a gluten free pizza “just in case” and uh-oh they had one, so all Mexican dreams went out the window.

Marys Pizza Shack Sonoma GF Pizza.JPG

When one sees gluten free pizza, one eats gluten free pizza, it’s just the way it goes, because you never know when you might see one again! The pizza was delish, and I’m assure the regular ones were great too. Although, I am still determined to get to the Mexican too.

Sonoma State Historic Park.JPG

We had another little wander round the town on our way back to the car. There’s a kids’ play park in the grassy centre of the plaza which we skilfully managed to avoid, you may be less mean than us though, in our defence, it was hot! We saw what looked like some older houses on some gravelly section which was apparently part of the Sonoma State Historic Park, but as Brits they didn’t look particularly old to us, and Sam and Poppy barely noticed while I tried to read the signs. There wasn’t much info on what they were supposed to be and whether you can go in them etc. The website seems to suggest you can and that they’re open seven days a week, so might be worth a look if you’re missing home and want to see something a little older, but honestly we just walked past them on our way to the car park!! If anyone has been inside, or found where you get tickets etc, do let us know either in the comments or feel free to drop us an email!

Open House Sonoma.JPG

Being us, we then checked out a couple of Open Houses on our way to the next attraction, how else am I supposed to bring you such awesome Property of the Fortnights? If you’re as obsessed with Open Houses as me, you can use Zillow to find ones on near you. Also, there tends to be more of them on a Sunday in Sonoma than a Saturday if this affects your plans!

TrainTown Sonoma.JPG

Now for the highlight of our trip: TrainTown!! If you saw my post on Instagram or on our Facebook page you will understand my love for trains runs deep and yes this does include miniature ones at kids’ attractions. You may be less aware that I also have a love of goats. TrainTown has a train (obviously) and you go on it to see and feed some goats so you can probably imagine how excited I was about this part of our day! I was not disappointed. There was free parking and free entry, you just pay for the rides you want to do, the train trip was $7.50 for everyone over 1, although they didn’t charge us for Kenna, I think they were a little shocked by our honesty, and the other rides are $3.75 a ticket or you can buy five for $14.75.

TrainTown Sonoma Goats.JPG

I would thoroughly recommend digging out your Baby Bjorn if you have one as you can’t really get the pushchair on the train and they do definitely encourage you to park them up and leave them. The train ride lasts about 20 mins, or at least that’s what they told us and I was too excited to time it, sorry! You get off at a little miniature village where you can go in the little buildings and most importantly you can pet and feed goats and llamas (take quarters!). The train ride itself is really good, you go through lots of tunnels and the whole journey is done up to be a like a tour through the region, so you’ll be able to spot a Golden Gate Bridge, make sure you keep your eyes peeled for the hobo camp, as well as beautiful lakes, waterfalls and redwoods.

TrainTown Sonoma Hobo Camp.JPG

For the other rides, there’s a ferris wheel, a rollercoaster, and a few others including a carousel, which is handy as carousels are the only rides you’ll catch me on. And yes, I might have taken the last coupon and had a go by myself while the rest of my family were stuffing themselves with ice cream. The gift shop is cute and despite my aversion to buying things in gift shops I did come away with a beautiful mug that I am drinking my coffee out of as I write this. 

And that my lovely readers is TrainTown,it’s no Disneyland or Legoland (not that I’ve been to either!) but it has real charm and I honestly can’t recommend it highly enough for good old fashioned train themed family fun with goats!

As I’m assuming you don’t want to hear about our first trip to Wendy’s which took place on the way home I shall leave it there for our day out to Sonoma without wine. Let us know if you have any favourite spots in Sonoma to go with the family. Also, just because we weren’t doing wine this time, doesn’t been we won’t be next time so let us know your favourite wineries to go to as well!!