Magazine article Sunset

Northern California Weekend

Magazine article Sunset

Northern California Weekend

Article excerpt

Sonoma County day trip

Sebastopol

Why go now: To do your Thanksgiving shopping the fun way. Farm-hopping: The peaceful, scenic countryside around Sebastopol has everything you need for your feast at dozens of regional farms (farmtrails.org). The vibe: A Little bit hippie, a whole lot locavore. Allegedly named for: An epic 1850s fist-fight that reminded Locals of the siege of Sevastopol during the Crimean War. Official tree: The Gravenstein apple; look for the gnarled little trees lining State 116 (also called the Gravenstein Highway) north of town. Overheard: "Look at that--it's the middle of November, and the kids are wading in the fountain." Dress your table: Pick up anything from bird-shaped Bakelite napkin rings to a redwood farm table at vast, browsable Antique Society (2661 Gravenstein Hwy. S.; antiquesociety.com or 707/829-1733). Spotted: Not one but two spinners making yarn at the farmers' market. Get your daily bread: The seeded sourdough at Village Bakery (7225 Healdsburg Ave.; 707/829-8101) makes a fine Thanksgiving stuffing.

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1. Load up on bottles for the big day

With a house full of relatives, you'll need good wine on Thanksgiving--and plenty of it. Two tasting rooms in Sebastopol are the ideal places to buy bottles matched to the occasion. Iron Horse Vineyards (pictured; 3786 Ross Station Rd.; ironhorsevineyards.com) is known for its sparkling wines. Serve its rich, bright Wedding Cuvee with appetizers, then switch to a Pinot from Lynmar Estate (3909 Frei Rd.; lynmarestate.com) for the main meal.

2. Pick your produce

At the lively Sebastopol Farmers' Market, you'll find delectable pancetta (cured by local chef Franco Dunn), tangy chevre and sweet natilla (a molasses-spiked Peruvian goat's milk caramel that would be wonderful drizzled on pumpkin pie) from Bodega & Yerba Santa Goat Cheese, and piles of peppers and gourds--plus eat-it-there treats like a plate of chicken tikka from Lata's Indian Cuisine. 10-1:30 Sun through Nov 28; Downtown Plaza at McKinley St.; 707/522-9305.

3. As American as ...

Put down your rolling pin and take home a box from longtime local favorite Mom's Apple Pie. The shop is basic looking, but the flaky-crusted pies come in a huge range of flavors, and the frozen ones heat up like a dream--if you can keep your hands off until Thanksgiving. …

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