Hanging out at the Sebastopol Apple Fair. (CC) e.t.
This West Sonoma County hub is fast becoming a DogTrekker favorite, particularly since the advent of The Barlow, a dog- and family-friendly shopping district with over 38 outlets connecting consumers with local artists, food producers, winemakers, distillers and brewers. Tree-lined streets, grassy areas and lots of outdoor seating make it a fun place to explore with your dog at your side. To get started, park yourselves on the deck at Woodfour Brewing Company, choose from an extensive beer menu and pair your selection with an appetizer like white corn nuts with vadouvan curry and lime or smashed fingerling potatoes. Soups, salads and sandwiches round out the lunch menu, while dinner selections include both vegetarian and meat-centric cuisine.
Ready to walk off lunch? The West County Regional Trail runs 5.5 paved miles between Sebastopol and Forestville along the right-of-way of the former Petaluma and Santa Rosa Railway. Pastoral views of farms, hills and vineyards are yours to enjoy, and if you want to keep going, you can pick up the Joe Rodota Trail, which continues 8.5 miles along the abandoned rail line to Santa Rosa. These trails are especially beautiful in fall, when vineyards are aflame with color.
Many dog-friendly wineries are situated near Sebastapol, but be sure to put Marimar Estate on your list. Marimar boasts great wines, a friendly staff, a pair of resident springer spaniels, Chico and Bonita, and two 10-foot metal sculptures of them standing guard over the vineyard. Check the website and try to visit during one of the “yappy hours” held on designated Wednesdays.