The Sonoma County town of Windsor is a survivor—thanks to firefighters, it narrowly avoided serious damage from the recent Kincade fire. It has long been a cool under-the-radar small town, with a walkable Old Downtown Windsor filled with shops and eateries. The online magazine 7X7 recently called Windsor “a charming, Mr. Rogers–level friendly pocket of Sonoma County that has all the Wine Country essentials (plus lots of beer) without crowds or a trace of snobbery.”
Along with that affable personality, 7X7 pointed out a few more great reasons to stop in Windsor on your next Sonoma County getaway:
Craft beer street cred
Earlier this year, Windsor made news for beer lovers when it opened an outpost of Russian River Brewing, one of a few places where you can enjoy the annual February release of Pliny the Younger, a triple IPA. The new brewpub has plenty of year-round appeal, too, with its one-acre beer garden, tours, an extensive food menu, and the double IPA Pliny the Elder perpetually on tap.
Windsor’s craft beer scene also includes Barrel Brothers Brewing, with its quirky beer names (The Snozzberries Taste Like Snozzberries); buzzy newcomer No Quarter Brewing; and St. Florian's Brewery, launched by a local fire department captain and named after the patron saint of firefighters.
A winery with a fun twist
At Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards, you can pair your tasting of Chardonnay or Pinot Noir with cheese, charcuterie, and a friendly match of croquet.
A cool budget-friendly place to stay
7X7 declared the sleekly renovated Holiday Inn Express Windsor “the nicest Holiday Inn you'll ever stay in … and it's a steal.”
Comfort food with flair
Some of the favorite bites listed in the 7X7 piece include the sweet potato fries, laced with candied bacon and brown sugar glaze, at Jaded Toad BBQ & Grill; the fried-pickle Frickles at Kin; and the smoked meats and Key Lime Pie Martinis at Sweet T's, another survivor that actually burned in the 2017 Tubbs fire and found new life in Windsor. The web site dubbed KC’s American Kitchen “the Cheers of Windsor”—if, that is, Cheers served big breakfasts, such as a Benedict built on top of the restaurant’s beloved potato pancakes.
For more fun ideas on visiting Wine Country these days, see Why Winter is a Great Time to Visit Sonoma County.