Ron & Elena's 2016 Travels travel blog

Very large trees shade the town square in Sonoma, CA

City Hall on Sonoma Plaza

Sonoma Plaza

A couple shots of the many old buildings surrounding the Plaza


The original Williams-Sonoma store

A brief history of the ownership of the business.


The section of the store renovated to its original look - that...

The demonstration kitchen in the new wing of the store.

The kitchen in the restored Williams home attached to the original store.

A few other shots of the restored home.


Up we go to the second floor....

...and into the master bedroom.


The north end of Bodega Bay near the campground.

(Ron Writing) We stayed in Stockton yesterday to catch up on some “work” while we had a good internet connection. I also needed to get a haircut and Elena wanted to do some shopping at the mall. So we just moved our house to a nice shady spot in the mall parking lot where I could work on the computer and Elena could shop.

Late this morning we left Stockton heading north on I-5 a few miles to CA-12 west. We’d never driven this highway before and it was an interesting drive. It cuts right across the California delta area between San Francisco and Sacramento. It’s a narrow two-lane highway that’s not in very good condition and it has a lot of traffic. We crossed many bridges and several of them were draw bridges that allow larger boats to navigate the area. The area is sparsely populated with just a couple small towns but many farms. Where there isn’t water there is some kind of crop being grown. We stopped at one farm stand and purchased some very good sweet corn, cucumbers, and blackberries.

After crossing the delta Hwy 12 continues through the beautiful wine country around Napa and Sonoma. We stopped in Sonoma to dump our waste tanks at a gas station and then spent a couple hours looking around the beautiful town square area. The county courthouse and a few other buildings are located in the central square block. It’s hard to see the buildings because of all the huge trees which pretty much shade the entire block. All around the square are old restored buildings from the early 1900’s that house a variety of restaurants and other businesses.

One building, just off the square, is the original Williams-Sonoma store. Elena always likes to visit those stores to see all neat chef’s toys they have and before today it never occurred to us that the name of the company was related to this town. Chuck Williams opened his first store here in 1956 but moved the business to San Francisco in 1958. A couple years ago the old original store and the attached home Williams lived in was restored to look much like it originally looked when the business first started here. A larger addition was added to accommodate more merchandise and a demonstration kitchen. We enjoyed touring the store and the home.

We left Sonoma and continued west on CA-116 which winds through more farm and ranch country until it intersects the Pacific Coast Highway (CA-1) just south of Bodega Bay. It was late afternoon and time to look for a place to spend the night. We pulled into Sonoma Coast State Park and when we got to the kiosk there was a sign that said “campground full”. But we’ve learned not to take those signs at face value – I don’t know why but campground hosts often put up those signs when there are still some spaces available. The lady in the kiosk told us to drive through the campground and look for any unoccupied sites that we could fit into. We found about 4 that would work, went back to the kiosk, and she gave us the one we liked the best.

After getting settled in we had dinner and then went for a long walk around the campground and along the shore of the bay. It’s a nice campground but the sites themselves do not have a view of the bay even though the water is only a couple hundred yards from the site we had. Most campsites are well shaded by huge cypress trees.

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