The bustling town of Sebastopol is a great starting point to explore all of western Sonoma County. An attractive community, population 7,800, Sebastopol is situated at the crossroads of Hwy 12 and Hwy 116 (which is also known as the Gravenstein Hwy for the numerous apple orchards along its length).
Sebastopol has a wide variety of interesting retail shops, restaurants, automotive and other services, and ample free parking. It is famous for its concentration of antique shops and antique collectives along Hwy 116, known as “Antique Row.” Outside the business district, many neighborhoods contain elegantly restored Victorian homes that were built in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
In springtime, the rich agricultural land surrounding Sebastopol is awash in delicate pink and white blossoms as thousands of acres of apple trees seem to bloom all at once.
In the fall, area vineyards add their spectrum of golds, reds, russets and yellows to the cyclical palette as the leaves turn. Fall is also a great time to pick a pumpkin from local farms. Blueberries, blackberries and raspberries also are available directly from growers, as well as jams, preserves and pies made from the fruit.
Farm Trails maps are available at the Chamber of Commerce and show how to find local farms. At year’s end, families can choose and cut their favorite variety of Christmas tree.
The City of Sebastopol has four major parks, in addition to several smaller pocket parks. The major parks are Ives Park, Libby Park, Laguna Youth Park and the Laguna de Santa Rosa Wetlands Preserve. Ragle Ranch Park encompasses 225 acres and is a favorite spot for bicycling, horseback riding and picnicking.
The Gravenstein Apple Fair, held in August at the oak tree-laden Ragle Ranch Park, takes you back to a gentler, more nostalgic place and time. The fair highlights the area’s agricultural bounty with apple displays, sheep dog demonstrations, pie eating competitions, hayrides, arts and crafts, live entertainment, wonderful food and so much more, (707) 571-8288.
Sebastopol’s two highways lead visitors to the other nearby attractions that include the redwoods, the Russian River and the Sonoma Coast. For more information, call the Sebastopol Area Chamber of Commerce, (707) 823-3032.