Around the Town of Sonoma

Getting Ready

Getting Ready

Yesterday, Presidents’ Day, we set off in two cars for the lovely Sonoma area. Parking behind the state park, we unloaded our bikes and took the paved path west toward Maxwell Farms Regional Park passing the home of General Mariano Vallejo,  a state historic landmark, on the way. We circled through the park and then stopped for coffee at a Starbucks in a shopping center just south of the park. We headed back along the path, this time going east past the old railroad depot and the cute small restored houses near it.

As the path discontinues, the scenery becomes more rural with vineyards on one side and the Sebastiani Winery on the other.  Lovall Valley Rd.  is slightly rough but suitable for cycling because it is wide and not very busy.  At Seventh St., we turned right; this is a beautiful area with lovely homes in a quiet country setting.  We followed Seventh St. until we reached MacArthur East, where we again turned right. Then another right turn onto Second St. East took us back to the parking  lot and our car. Seventh, MacArthur, and Second are all streets without bike lanes, but they are fairly wide and quiet and we felt safe on them. I had checked them carefully on Google Earth, a handy resource for checking out proposed bike trips.

We met the shoppers in our party at The Centre du Vin in the Ledson Hotel for lunch. This restaurant in the old hotel is very pretty, and we found  the dining experience matched the antique luxury of the surroundings. A table for six had been set up for us by the fireplace, and we settled in for a fine meal with meticulous service. Several in our party started with French onion soup and it was pronounced to be excellent. Also worthy of note are the risotto croquettes and the chocolate mousse.

After lunch we split into groups for a bit of browsing in the shops around the plaza. I got to spend some special time with my teenaged granddaughter who has a real flair for fashion. All in all the whole day was a relaxing family outing.

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The Diablo Valley Farmers Market

The Bustling Market

The Bustling Market

Yesterday we headed out to the Diablo Valley Farmers Market at North Wiget Lane and Mitchell Drive. Open all year, this market has grown into a fine collection of stalls with lots of reasonably priced organic produce.  Both sellers and buyers are friendly and polite, making for a pleasant shopping experience. This morning, we enjoyed some almond croissants (probably the best I have ever tasted) from the large bakery located near the back of the market. I think that this bakery is located in San Francisco, but I am unsure of the name.

Bakery

Bakery

As is our practice, we traveled to this market on our Dahons taking the Iron Horse Trail from downtown Walnut Creek and turning right on to the east Canal Trail. Despite the scarcity of rain this winter, the canal had quite a bit of water running through it. Another surprise was the new paving that we discovered  as we headed east on this previously rough path. After our stop at the market, we proceeded toward Mt. Diablo and turned right to climb the trail that becomes the Ygnacio Canal Trail.

View of Walnut Creek from the high point of the trail

View of Walnut Creek from the high point of the trail

Tunnel under Ygnacio Valley Road

Tunnel under Ygnacio Valley Road

The views from the top are spectacular in every season. We always talk with other cyclists huffing and puffing their way up as well as hikers heading out into the open space.  At the end of the ride along the ridge, there is a funky corrugated metal tunnel leading under Ygnacio Valley Road and then a pleasant down slope past the Boundary Oaks Golf Course and back along the small Ygnacio Canal full of ducks happily sailing by. Cutting through Heather Farms Park, we pedal our way back to Walnut Creek and a lunch at our favorite restaurant Va De Vi, where the service and the food are always first class.