In the far northwestern corner of Sonoma county is where you will find a little pocket of rugged coastline filled with history. This often overlooked wine region is gaining popularity for it’s Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, but history buffs have been in the known for much longer.
This region was once the epicenter of Russian settlements in America. It is where Russian immigrants tried their hand at farming, hunting, and ranching in a peaceful, and visually stunning, community. It is the site of the first windmills and shipbuilding in California, and an important archeological location. It’s also a California (and National) historical landmark that has been well preserved and restored.
Your weekend trip to this area of California will include indoor and outdoor explorations of the people who first made their homes in this region. If you travel to learn, the history filled region of Fort Ross- Seaview will give you a unique experience in Sonoma County, California.
You have a few options in getting to the Fort Ross area along the coast of Sonoma. Without stopping, you can make it in 2.5 hours from San Francisco. Just drive north on Highway 101 then onto CA 1 North into Fort Ross. However, for a history buff not stopping along the way would mean missing out on some interesting places.
Petaluma is about halfway between San Francisco and Fort Ross and a good place to get out, stretch, and explore. Check out the Petaluma Adobe, the largest domestic adobe building remaining in the US. Explore the preserved Victorian Historic Downtown (which miraculously survived the 1906 earthquake) and eat lunch in the former Petaluma Mill.
If you’re coming from the North, take Highway 1 from Fort Bragg and go south for two hours. This route has plenty of stunning vistas along the coast and worth quite a few photo stops.
You do have the option of taking a bus from San Francisco to Santa Rosa. Then another bus Santa Rosa to Fort Ross Store. It should take about 5 hours and cost $30 for a one way trip. Though it’s nice to be able to get public transportation here, being without a car will have it’s difficulties.