Just 15 minutes north of Sonoma lies the little village of Glen Ellen. Surrounded by beautiful mountains and forests and nestled between two nature parks, it’s a hidden gem in wine country. It was also home to one of America’s greatest writers, Jack London. Come explore and see for yourself why he called this area the Valley of the Moon.
A Scenic Drive
If you’re coming from Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park, or Sebastopol, be prepared to be awestruck by the beauty around you. Once you get onto Bennett Valley Rd, then Warm Springs Rd, you’ll be amazed by gorgeous views around every bend. Drive through sun-speckled tunnels of tree branches touching over the road, past vineyards, and towards mountains blanketed with forest. Just don’t stop because there are very few places to pull over.
Stop at the Bakery for a Light Breakfast
The cute yellow Les Pascals French bakery will beckon you to come inside. Inside, you’ll be greeted by amazing smells of freshly baked breads and pastries. Order a chocolate croissant and a latte and sit for a while in the warm sunlit room.
Head Over to the Village Market to Pack Lunch
Right across the road you’ll find the popular Village Market. The aisles are tightly packed together with options from specialty gluten free or vegan items to popular brands. They also have a salad bar and an excellent deli, so pack a lunch for later. Order one of the special sandwiches like the Jack London or Call of the Wild.
Visit Jack London’s Home
Glen Ellen is unarguably most famous for being the home of famous American author Jack London. At Jack London State Historic Park, you can explore his beautiful property, rich with history and incredible scenery. Visit his cottage, his grave, and the stone remains of the Wolf House—London’s dream house that burned down overnight.
There are also over 29 miles of hiking trails around the property. Explore redwood forests and encounter a 2,000 year old tree or run through open green fields. Climb a mountain and look out over the gorgeous Valley of the Moon. There is so much to see.
You can read more about Jack London State Historic Park here.
Go on a Wine Tour
Alternatively, Glen Ellen is also home to some incredible wineries. On the way towards Jack London’s home, you’ll see Benzinger Winery. The gorgeous rolling hills covered in twisting grape vines are a sight to see. Come learn about biodynamic farming practices as you are driven through the picturesque vineyards and gardens in a golf cart. Afterwards, you can take your picnic lunch to the gazebo on the hill and eat as you look out over the scenery.
Dinner at the Glen Ellen Star
After a lovely day of exploring the gorgeous scenery, it’s time for dinner at the highly acclaimed Glen Ellen Star. Many of the ingredients are sourced from the gardens at the local Benzinger Winery and cooked with a wood-fire technique. With amazing dishes and open seating to watch the chefs at work, it’s a dining experience like no other.
Why Not Stay for a While?
There are some lovely places to stay in the village to relax and savor your time.
The Secret Cottages at the Glen Ellen Inn are also a great option. Stay in a cozy cottage along the creek. Enjoy your morning coffee on the deck, take a dip in your private Jacuzzi, and eat at the on-site restaurant.
On the banks of Sonoma Creek you can also find the Jack London Lodge. It features spacious rustic rooms for an affordable price, within walking distance of the Village Market.
Gaige House + Ryokan is a Japanese inspired hotel and spa. Come soak your troubles away in the stone bathtubs, get a massage, or take a private yoga lesson. You can read more about Gaige House + Ryokan here.