We couldn't agree more that Sonoma County is a highly worthwhile travel destination. Here are six ways to have fun here this weekend.
- Howl at the Moon. The 12th Annual Howl-o-Ween Pet Parade in downtown Healdsburg is a wonderful, hilarious event that happens every year in the square in Healdsburg. Vaguely beleaguered but totally adorable looking pets compete in a costume contest from noon until 1pm on Saturday, October 27th, with entry fees benefiting the Healdsburg Animal Shelter. Last year, the winner was a family of Weimaraners dressed up as 101 Dalmatians and led by a very convincing Cruella De Vil.
- Say Cheese.
October is American Cheese Month so it's a great time to check out the Healdsburg Cheese Shop for some artisan cheeses from Bay Area producers and beyond. Sample some buttery Black Eyed Susan or lovely orange Moonflower by Garden Variety Cheese Company in Royal Oaks, California. We also recommend the Barely Buzzed by the Beehive Cheese Co. in Utah — an espresso and lavender hand-rubbed cow's milk cheese with notes of butterscotch and caramel.
- Redefine the Barn Dance. The Hopmonk Tavern is a great specimen of that rustic-yet-refined sensibility in which Sonoma specializes, making it an ideal place for a Halloween party. In its fifth year now, the Cirque du Sebastapol's Halloween Soirée at the Hopmonk features the best of all possible party worlds: a rustic, live music experience in the Barnyard and DJ-induced dance beats in the Abbey. This event almost always sells out, so pick up tickets now while they're still available! (Saturday, October 27th from 8pm until late.)
- Win a Costume Contest. On Saturday, October 27th, enjoy all-night dancing to a great funk band at the Flamingo Resort in Santa Rosa. This is one of Sonoma's more elegant Halloween events, so unearth that Nefertiti costume and maybe win one of the prizes.
- Experience the Wicked West. Part light show, part interactive haunted house, and part historic lumber maze, the Wicked West Ghost Town of Jose Ramon Avenue (in Santa Rosa) is a Halloween experience with real Old West flair. Built out of 100-year-old redwood, the facade of the ghost town was designed to resemble buildings from the early days of Sonoma County and was voted one of the most "extreme yard haunts" in the country. A fantastically fun Halloween destination, especially for families.
- Enjoy Some Delicious Wine. While you're in Sonoma County, but sure to visit J Vineyards & Winery — just south of the charming town of Healdsburg — to sample our award winning Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and sparkling wines in the elegant setting of our tasting bar featuring original art by Gordon Heuether. If you enjoy seated tasting experiences, try our Legacy Tasting in one of our Legacy reserve rooms. The cost is $30 per person or $10 for Club J Signature members and the current tasting menu is here. Artisan cheese and charcuterie platters are available for an additional fee. There's also also our Bubble Room, a beautifully appointed full-service tasting salon. Reservations recommended for both the Legacy Tasting and Bubble Room.