Aspen Times Weekly: Foodie and wine travel beckons roadtrippers |

Aspen Times Weekly: Foodie and wine travel beckons roadtrippers

by Amiee White Beazley

When dreaming of travel, my favorite way to satisfy the appetite is reading books and recreating dishes from my favorite destinations. If you are dreaming of the West Coast, there is a new cookbook and travelogue with great family-friendly recipes that will transport you along scenic routes to small cafes, roadside eateries and hidden gems in the same time it takes to make dinner.

“Eating Up the West Coast,” from author Brigit Binns and the editors of Sunset magazine, is a gastronomic guidebook to the ultimate West Coast culinary road trip. Divided into four sections — Southern California, Northern California, Oregon and Washington — the book features the most scenic routes from Southern California north through Washington State, with stories from more than 75 dining venues, and 125 original restaurant recipes for food-loving travelers.

And for those who can make the trip west, Sonoma County is promoting its spectacular agritourism offerings this fall. From milking a goat to picking fresh fruit, travelers can get their hands dirty before relaxing in the award-winning vineyards.

Full House Farm in Sebastopol offers a farm life tour that immerses visitors in the activities of a working farm. Visitors interact with the horses, goats and sheep, as well as tour the organic gardens that supply the farm with fresh vegetables ranging from artichokes to zucchini and many more in between. Tours are offered at 10 a.m. every Saturday and Sunday through November, and also available in offseason, weather permitting.

In Petaluma, McClelland’s Dairy has been running since 1938 and holds three generations of history. The farm offers a 90-minute experience that begins with a history lesson next to the farm’s original milking parlor. Visitors stop at the calf nursery, tour the pastures and learn about how the farm recycles water. The tour concludes in the milking parlor where guests can watch the cows being milked and taste the farm’s signature product, European-style artisan organic butter.

Of course Sonoma is known for more than its dairies and farms. It has some pretty good wine, too, with a dedication to sustainable practices. In fact, Sonoma County vineyards are more than halfway toward their goal of becoming 100 percent sustainable by 2019, making it the first wine region in the U.S. to hold this recognition.

The Deep Roots Tour provides a luxury, guided tours of artisan wineries using hands-on, conscientious practices. Deep Roots arranges vineyard and cave tours along with tastings. Guests can sip small-production wines and learn more about wine growing with a personal wine guide followed by a picnic lunch under 130-year old olive trees with sweeping vineyard views. Costs begin at $279 per person for a full-day tour.

Three peak attractions in the Sonoma valley village of Glen Ellen – Jack London State Historic Park, Quarryhill Botanical Gardens and Benziger Family Winery – have joined forces to create a day-long experience with a focus on environmental practices. The day begins at 25-acre Quarryhill Botanical Garden with a docent-led tour of 20,000 wild-origin plants and flowers. At Jack London, visitors can enjoy a picnic, followed by a tour about the farming practices of the Beauty Ranch and cottage where London lived. The tour concludes at Benziger Family Winery with a close-up look at the winery’s biodynamic vineyards, fermentation facility and barrel caves.

The Wine Road of Northern Sonoma County is preparing for a yearlong celebration recognizing the association’s historic 40th “ruby” anniversary taking place in 2016. Beginning with nine founding winery members in 1976 to what is now a world-class wine tourism destination, the Wine Road currently represents 200 wineries and over 50 lodgings throughout the Alexander, Dry Creek, and Russian River Valleys. Beginning in January 2016, a series of special events will take place throughout the year, culminating with a “Ruby Affair” gala on May 14 and “40 Years of Cheers” community event on July 23.

Amiee White Beazley writes about travel for the Aspen Times Weekly. Reach her at or follow her @awbeazley1.