Magazine article Sunset

A Wine Lover's Walk in Sonoma

Magazine article Sunset

A Wine Lover's Walk in Sonoma

Article excerpt

Want a little wine, a lovely walk, and a history lesson full of intrigue? Look no farther than Sonoma's Bartholomew Memorial Park. Easy to reach from the town plaza but hidden from the masses, the 400-acre "Bart Park," as it's known to locals, encompasses vineyards that blaze with autumn color, oak groves, forests of manzanita and madrone, a babbling brook, and, on clear days, views that stretch all the way to San Francisco. What's more, the hike starts and ends at a winery, so you'll never go thirsty.

The first time we hiked the 3-mile loop, we had six children in tow. The kids had a bail climbing the gentle hills (and sliding down them), crossing a brook, and studying the fanciful signage, which uses painted symbols to indicate key features--an image of eyeglasses signifies a vista point and angel's wings mark the descent known as Angels Flight.

The kids even enjoyed poking around at the tiny Bartholomew Park Winery, whose tasting room adjoins a small museum chronicling the park's storied past. While they examined an old wine press, we learned that in 1857, Hungarian nobleman Agoston Haraszthy, the man widely known as the father of the California wine industry, purchased this very patch of land and transformed it into the second-largest vineyard in California. …

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