Glen Ellen is a community of 800 people (2010) in the Sonoma Valley wine region in Sonoma County. It was the home of the writer Jack London. Glen Ellen is home to the state park that bears Jack London's name, and to world class restaurants and wineries. Glen Ellen is a romantic, sleepy little town that is a great place to get way from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Glen Ellen is 60 miles north of San Francisco and is relatively near to the San Francisco International Airport (SFO IATA), Oakland Airport, and Sacramento Airport. There is also an airport in nearby Santa Rosa:
- Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport (STS IATA) 2290 Airport Boulevard. +1 707-565–7240. Direct flights daily to and from Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, and San Diego.
Glen Ellen is a very small town with only one stop light. Walking is a fantastic was to see the "downtown", but to get to the wineries (see below), driving is necessary.
Please do not drink and drive. It only takes a few wine tastings to be over the legal limit. Be safe and have a designated driver. Or hire a limo for the day:
- Classic Limousines +1 707 938-3879
- Wine Country Limousines +1 707-313-5513
- 1 Bouverie Audubon Preserve, ☏ +1 707 938-4554. This amazing 500-acre preserve was donated by David Bouverie in 1979 and is home to 130 species of birds and 350 species of flowing plants. In order to maintain the pristine environment visitation is highly regulated. Public tours are offered one or two Saturdays a month and are well worth calling in advanced to be a part of. Wear hiking books and explore the natural beauty including breath taking waterfalls and vistas.
- Dunbar Elementary 5th Grade Melodrama, Dunbar Elementary School 11700 Dunbar Rd. One weekend a year, in late May, the whole town - and quite a few visitors - show up to Dunbar Elementary School to watch and participate in the 5th Grade Melodrama. Held on the outdoor "Haver Stage" with grass and blanket seating, this play is always a hoot. Boo and Hiss at the villain, Sign for the heroin and Cheer the hero through their adventures. Bring a pick-nick and a bottle of wine and enjoy the fun and local culture.
- 2 Jack London State Historic Park (http://www.jacklondonpark.com/), 2400 London Ranch Rd, ☏ +1 707-938-5216, email@example.com. 9AM–5PM. The estate of the famous writer Jack London, who wrote Call of the Wild. Home of the Jack London Wolf House, which burned to the ground in 1913, shortly before it was completed. London died in 1916, and his wife, Charmian, lived there until her own death. This park combines the literary with agriculture: Jack London wrote many stories here so he could pay for his beloved ranch. He designed and built the "Pig Palace" and other stone buildings and developed sustainable farming techniques here. Visitors can also see the ruins of two wineries, which were destroyed during the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. The park has amazing hiking, wildlife, birding, and, in the summer time, live music events. There are two short historic trails, and 29 miles of backcountry hiking trails through trees, spring wildflowers, and beautiful views. Some trails are difficult, and none permit dogs or smoking. Bicycling and horseback riding on some trails. There are several picnic areas, and a wheelchair-accessible portable restroom is on the mile-long path to the Wolf House. Water is sold in the House of Happy Walls Museum gift store. $5 (walk/bicycle), $10 vehicles.
- Horseback riding in Jack London State Park (The rides start from inside the park), ☏ +1 707-887-8700. The guided tour rides, conducted by the Triple Creek Horse Outfit, meander past acres of vineyards, through open oak woodlands, and beneath shady groves of tall redwoods. Longer rides may include lunch. Public rides start at $90 for a one-hour ride; private rides (four person maximum) are also available.
- Quarryhill Botanical Garden, 12841 Sonoma Hwy, ☏ +1 707-996-3166, firstname.lastname@example.org. 9AM-4PM daily. One of the largest collections of scientifically- documented, wild-sourced Asian plants in the western world. Docent-lead tours are available if scheduled at least two weeks in advance. $12 adult; $10 senior; $8 ages 13-17, active duty military, students.
- 3 Sonoma Valley Regional Park, 13630 Sonoma Hwy (Hwy 12), ☏ +1 707-539-8092. Sunrise-sunset. 162 acres of hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails. Once a part of the Eldridge Develop-Mental Center, it is now a fantastic place to take the family on a sunny afternoon. Enjoy pick-nick tables and the dog park. A dog park is also on site. Wildflowers are beautiful in the spring. $7.
- Elizabeth Anne Perrone Dog Park, 13630 Sonoma Highway (Inside the Sonoma Valley Regional Park). Perfect for traveling dog lovers. Elizabeth's Dog Park is a fantastic one acre fenced in play-ground for our furry four-legged friends. There are picnic benches and a gazebo for sitting and avoiding the sun while you watch groups of dogs play together. $5 to park all day.
- Glen Ellen Village Fair, Arnold Dr. The Glen Ellen Village Fair happens once a year, the second Sunday in October, and is well worth wandering through. The majority of Arnold Drive is closed down through town and the street is lined with booths of local good and hand crafts. It opens at 10AM. A parade begins at noon featuring the volunteer fire department, The Sonoma Valley High School marching band and lots of other local groups. Make sure to buy a ticket for the quilt raffle, the quilt is made by 10 local women and is donated every year to raise money for the community.
- Broadway Under the Stars, Jack London State Park, toll-free: +1 877-424-1414. 7:30PM-11PM. The best of Broadway performs at this unique variety series every summer at Jack London State Park. The performances take place in the historic ruins and local wines are served as the sunsets in the Valley of the Moon and Broadway classics are performed by insanely talented performers. An award winning series, it's a great escape for Broadway lovers, but a total cheese fest for those of you who aren't. Varies.
- Benziger Family Winery, 1883 London Ranch Rd, toll-free: +1-888-490-2739. This truly family winery, located on the hill above Glen Ellen, has endeared itself to the local community and tourist alike through generous giving to Dunbar Elementary School and amazing wines. This is one of the few wineries that has fun activities for kids too. The "Biodynamic Vineyard Tram Tours" take all visitors on a tractor driven tram through the winery. $15 for 21+ (includes wine tasting) $5 for under 21. If you want to taste the most amazing wines take the time to do the Reserve Room tasting $15 for 5 reserve/biodynamic wine tastings. 20% of Benziger's wines are organic.
- BR Cohn Winery, 15000 Sonoma Highway (Hwy 12), toll-free: +1-800-330-4060. Wine tasting daily 10AM-5PM. BR Cohn Winery is a vineyard, a winery, and an event destination. Check their website for charity concerts, harvest dances and other events. In addition to fun events (buy tickets in advance) BR Cohn offers wine tasting and olive oil & vinegar tasting in their beautiful farm house.
- Imagery Estate Winery, 14335 Sonoma Highway (Hwy 12), ☏ +1 707-935-4515, toll-free: +1-877-550-4278. Wine tasting: year-round daily 10AM-4:30PM; late May to early Sep: Su-Th 10AM-4:30PM, F Sa 10AM-5PM.
- Little Vineyards, 15188 Sonoma Hwy (Hwy 12), ☏ +1 707-996-2750. Wine tasting: Th-M 11AM - 4:30PM. Little Vineyards was founded in 1996 by Joan and Rich Little, and it is, just as its name suggests, little. 25 acres total and only 17 acres of vineyards, Little Vineyards makes amazing wines in small batches. Their wine tasting is the best value in Sonoma County, only $5 for a 5 wine flight. If you want to emerge yourself in the wine country, consider staying at their "Cottage" in the vineyard. (For reservations call +1 707-477-6298.)
- Mayo Family Winery, 13101 Arnold Dr, ☏ +1 707 938-9401. Daily 10:30AM-6:30PM. A great place to end your wine tasting tour. Mayo is open much later than most tasting rooms and is nearly walking distance to many Glen Ellen restaurants. They focus on single-vineyard small batch wines and offer tasting rooms in Sonoma and Kenwood in addition to Glen Ellen.
- Valley of the Moon Winery, 777 Madrone Rd, ☏ +1 707-939-4510 (Tasting Room). Tasting: 10AM-4:30PM, tours: 10:30AM-2PM.
- Wellington Vineyards, 11600 Dunbar Rd (Turn off of Hwy 12), ☏ +1 707-939-0708, toll-free: +1-800-816-WINE (9463). Sip wine while enjoying the view over Wellington's Old vine vineyard planted in 1924. Call in advanced for tours of the winery.
If you ask any local where do buy a good sandwich or bottle of wine they will most likely tell you "Shones'" But you could walk all day and never find Shones'. Why? Because it moved across the street and changed its name to the Glen Ellen Village Market long ago and no one has bothered to learn its new name. So there you go!
- Wine Country Chocolates, 14301 Arnold Dr, ☏ +1 707 996-1010. Chocolate tasting: daily 10AM-5PM. Wine + chocolate = heavenly. Enjoy the flavors of Sonoma County in the sweet body of one of their chocolates. Take the kids - or the young at heart- to their Chocolate Tasting room and indulge yourself.
- [dead link] Glen Ellen Village Market (Shones), 13751 Arnold Dr, ☏ +1 707-996-6728. The Glen Ellen Village Market, commonly called Shones, is the best place to buy anything necessary for a fun pick-nick or a romantic night in. Their staff is very knowlage able about their wine selection and produce, and their sandwiches are the perfect food to grab before going wine tasting.
In downtown Glen Ellen:
- The Fig Cafe (The Girl and the Fig), 13640 Arnold Dr, ☏ +1 707 938-2130. Daily from 5:30PM. Brunch: Sa Su 9:30AM-2:30PM. Upscale California cuisine, with complimentary corkage (this means you can bring your own bottle of wine and drink it there for free). Try the fig pizza and leave room for dessert. Popular with locals. Starters $9-12, mains $10-20.
- Garden Court Cafe, 13647 Arnold Dr, ☏ +1 707 935-1565. Daily (except Tuesday) 7:30AM-2PM. Best known locally for breakfast. Try one of their seven types of eggs benedict. You can take your dog for breakfast too: Dogs are welcome on the patio and are even given their own menu.
- Glen Ellen Star, 13648 Arnold Dr, ☏ +1 707-343-1384. Su-Th 5:30PM-9PM, F Sa 5:30PM-9:30PM. Exceptional food with an eclectic wine list.
- Glen Ellen Inn Oyster Grill & Martini Bar, 13670 Arnold Dr, ☏ +1 707-996-6409. F-Tu: lunch 11:30AM-5PM, dinner 5-9PM; W-Th: dinner 5:30-9PM. Features delicious French and Italian-inspired cuisine, all day long
- Glen Ellen Village Market, 13751 Arnold Dr, ☏ +1 707-996-6728. A small grocery store with lots of grab-and-go sandwiches (or made to order), a floor-to-ceiling wine aisle stocked with hyper-local offerings, plus cheeses and spreads galore - a great place to buy picnic items.
- Les Pascals, 13758 Arnold Drive, ☏ +1 707-934-8378. A French-style patisserie - boulangerie - cafe, with delicious food. There are only a few small tables inside, so takeout - particularly during busy times - is best. (There is parking in front, as well as a small parking lot in back.) You can call ahead for a pickup order.
In Jack London Village (14301 Arnold Dr.)
- The Mill at Glen Ellen, ☏ +1 707-721-1818. Tu-Su 11:30AM-7:30PM. American-style food with an onsite microbrewery; nice patio.
- Yeti Restaurant, ☏ +1 707-996-9930. Daily 11:30PM-2:30PM, 5-9PM. Fantastic Indian food. The first "ethnic" food to be offered in Glen Ellen, and well worth the wait. Although prices are par with the nicer French and Californian restaurants in Sonoma County, the food is expertly prepared and a welcome alternative to standard wine country dishes.
- 1 Jack London Lodge Saloon, 13740 Arnold Dr, ☏ +1 707-996-3100, email@example.com. W–Su 12:30–8PM. The only bar in Glen Ellen. Built in 1905, it is covered in Jack London memorabilia. The patronage is a bizarre mixture of tourist and local lushes. Good burgers and creekside patio seating if the parlor-style saloon is not fitting your mood. TVs and pool.
As expected for a small town, there are only a handful of hotels in the town.
- Gaige House, 13540 Arnold Dr, ☏ +1 707-935-0237. Inn bed and breakfast.
- Jack London Lodge, 13740 Arnold Dr, ☏ +1 707-938-8510. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Connected to the Wolf House Restaurant, this lodge offers period decorated rooms with a lovely patio and swimming pool. $10 weekday discount for AAA members. High season: $120 midweek, $185 weekend.
- Olea Hotel, 5131 Warm Springs Road, ☏ +1 707-996-5131, firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 3:30PM, check-out: 11:30AM. Olea Hotel was built around 1900, though it has been remodeled since then. Dog-friendly rooms are available, as are spa and massage packages. Every day there is a complimentary wine tasting in the lobby. $150-400 per night.
If you're looking for a camping site, then consider Sugarloaf Ridge State Park in Kenwood, about 7 miles north.
- US Post Office 13720 Arnold Rd. +1 707-996-9233
Tired of wine, fine food and natural beauty? Head towards San Francisco for wine, fine food and architectural beauty. Take Arnold Drive to HWY 37 to HWY 101 South. Drive over the beautiful and historic Golden Gate Bridge. Or enjoy outdoor sports in Tahoe, tack HWY 12 to I80, stop at Donner Peak and remember the hardship that pioneers endured to come to California.
|Routes through Glen Ellen|
|Santa Rosa ← Kenwood ←||W E||→ Sonoma → Fairfield|