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Erica Galindo
Celebrating Food, Faith and Family
Last edited on: July 17, 2013.

Over the years, Rick and I have played tourist wherever we’ve lived.  Sonoma County is no different, except that people come from around the world to visit the wine country, redwoods and Pacific coast, and we have it close at hand.  When I’m neck-deep in a project, I don’t have time to wander too far from my computer.  Once the manuscript is turned in and I’m waiting for the editorial conversation on what more needs to be done, we are free to explore.

Pacific Coast Highway, California

Recently, we decided to head out to the coast.  It’s a beautiful winding drive through redwoods, past vineyard and pastures with flocks of sheep.  We stopped at Duncans Mills, remnant of an 1870s lumber town on the Russian River, and browsed through the shops and art gallery.  We drove on to Jenner-by-the-Sea, long-time homeplace to Mom and Dad Rivers.


Roadside barn in Duncan Mills, California

Sheep grazing on farmlands in Sonoma County, California


Rolling hills in Sonoma County, California

We’ve spent numerous week-ends in the small hillside coast town over-looking the mouth of the river and Pacific Ocean.  We parked and watched the sea lions lounging on the beach.  The pups are growing up.  Every time we visit Jenner, the mouth of the river looks different.  Some of the old railway system was noticeable this time, sand washed away during winter storms.

Sea Lions on the California Coast


Goat Rock is a popular spot for film makers.  The beach is one of the prettiest on the Pacific Coast, and was one of the least visited until listed as one of the ten best.  We came on a Thursday, and few people were about.  We watched the surfers for a while and then continued south to Bodega Bay where we had lunch at The Tides.

Fishing Boats in Bodega Harbor, Bodega Bay, California

Bodega Bay Lodge & Spa Aerial View

St. Theresa's Church, the location for exterior scenes in Alfred Hitchcock's film, The Birds

The best views of Bodega Bay are from Bay Hill Road, a narrow byway up over the hills.  Spectacular!

As with any area, there are plenty of tucked-away places of interest to visit.  Most people coming to visit Sonoma County are interested in three things:  wineries, the coast and the redwoods.  But there are plenty of other things to see.  I keep a file packed with ideas for day trips; the Old Faithful Geyser up the road, Pacific Coast Air Museum beside the Charles Schultz Airport, the pathways of the Laguna Regional Park, Safari West, the Petrified Forest, Shoffenberger Park in Petaluma, the Riverfront Regional Park in Windsor, the Square and Mission in Sonoma, not to mention all the beautiful neighborhoods in Santa Rosa, Healdsburg, Petaluma, Sebastopol.  We could wander for hours past restored Victorians and craftsman homes with gorgeous gardens.   And this is just a partial list of things to do close to home.

Madrona Manor Inn and Restaurant, Healdsburg, California


The thing is there are tuck-away places in every state and town across the country.  Sometimes they’re so familiar we forget they’re there.  That’s why I love playing tourist and taking mini-vacations throughout the year, right in my own backyard.

Armstrong Woods State Park, Guerneville, California



Don’t miss An Exclusive Personal Interview with Francine Rivers written by Ginny Dent Brant



New York Times bestselling author Francine Rivers continues to win both industry acclaim and reader loyalty around the globe. Her numerous bestsellers include A Voice in the WindRedeeming Love, and A Lineage of Grace.

To learn more about the author please visit


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At this time, we ask you refrain from purchasing on the Sonoma Christian Home store. We are in the process of performing updates and in the meantime we would ask you hold off on new orders. We will make an announcement once our store is back in action! Dismiss