NYT 36 Hours in Sonoma County: Phoned in?

I’m not sure if you read the New York Times’ 36 Hours in Sonoma County published over the weekend. But take a second…with an open mind…and tell me if this person actually ever spent any time here. No offense to the folks mentioned, but the article seems to not only be clueless on the geography of Sonoma County (Cloverdale to Sonoma in an hour? Really?) but kind of misses a lot of the finer points of what really makes Sonoma County, well, Sonoma County.
Here are a few of the most offensive eye-rollers…
– Cars have bumper stickers like “Kill your TV” and “Subvert the Dominant Paradigm,” and people here mean it.
(Personally, I have a bumper sticker that says, “My company is owned by the New York Times and all I got was this crummy blog.“)
– The town of Santa Rosa is also filled with bars, though many can feel fratty. An exception is Christy’s on the Square (96 Old Courthouse Square, Santa Rosa; 707-528-8565; christysonthesquare.com), which draws an older, sophisticated clientele. (Fratty? Really? Have you been to Santa Rosa?)
– Wine country is not renowned for its night life, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. (Glad to hear that. I’ll toast to the fun at H2Hotel with world-renowned cocktail-maker Scott Beattie, or up at Cyrus. Maybe hang out with Mateo Granados at one of his Tendejon’s or give a toast to Russian River Brewery. )
– The winery, with its dusty driveway and artfully rundown hacienda, is so new the first wines from these vineyards, a pinot noir and chardonnay, won’t be released until next year. (If you wanna get all young blood, how about the Natural Process Alliance folks, who actually have some of their own wine to drink. )
What’s your take? Phoned-in or dead on?


21 thoughts on “NYT 36 Hours in Sonoma County: Phoned in?

  1. What really left me flabbergasted was that he mentioned Dempsey’s and Bear Republic (both highly respectable joints, don’t get me wrong) but fails to mention RRBC, right on the heels of them winning best beer in America, second best in the world…again? Either he didn’t research the piece at all or he didn’t visit. Plus, who calls all of Sonoma County Sonoma? Gah.

  2. You are correct. It looked like the PR firm for the Sonoma Mission Inn sent in or pushed for the piece.
    It had their heavy hands all over it!

  3. Fratty?! That coming from the fratty-est of coasts? I don’t get it. Nothing feels ivy league around here!

  4. These things happen…..and people don’t soon forget them.
    I still tell people about the bite club doing a sushi review and talking about the floating boats at boathouse sushi…..when they had been removed well over a year before.

  5. So phoned in that NYT should be ashamed of themselves for printing it. Makes me wonder where this reporter actually spent his summer vacation.

  6. Definitely phoned in! Whatever. We all know how awesome our county is. And although I know we rely on tourism – and we get them in droves – maybe the folks reading that blog will opt OUT. We wouldn’t want them here anyway. Besides, most of the guests we receive at our winery are visiting the area for a relaxing, unwinding vacation; taking in the sights of wine country and the gorgeous Sonoma coast.. They could care less about the lack of nightlife.

  7. I have read the NYT 36-hours bits for years. The style is always the same–grossly subjective and very superficial. Even for places you know nothing about, your crap detector should be ringing. Oh, sorry. It’s 11 a.m. and I have to run off to my mud bath and massage. The NYT says so.

  8. Didn’t read the article, don’t care about the article, NYT or any other out of touch rag.
    Oh yea we can always use the out of town bucks for the economy, but reading the NYT
    out of touch writer is not going to stop our frequent visitors from coming to Sonoma County.

  9. Google maps rates the drive from Sonoma, CA to Cloverdale, CA at 1hr 12min.
    The unfortunate thing is that Google is unable to take into account things like:
    stop signs
    traffic lights
    traffic congestion
    construction zones
    All of that would add approximately 20-25 minutes to the length of the trip, leaving it close to 1.5 hours – kind of like River Rock Casino advertising it’s “only 20 minutes north” of Santa Rosa. Perhaps on a good day with the roads closed, no traffic, no cops and the ability/willingness to drive 85+ mph through the construction zone.

  10. In order to convince me he was here, he’d have to publish time/date stamped receipts from at least three different places mentioned in this story. I’m sure he had to get receipts to qualify for reimbursement, right?

  11. The article was a little weird. I dunno, maybe living here year-round makes us view SoCo in a different light. I mean, Santa Rosa is more than just it’s wacky bar scene, right? What about all the festivals and neighborhood events? Fratty was a weird way to characterize it. There is definitely a hipster contingent and an Ed Hardy contingent in SR’s night-life, but fratty? I wouldn’t even call Cotati particularly fratty, and that’s where all the frat boys live.
    It was cool to see C-dale get a shout-out as I feel like it never gets any recognition. But all the fun, cool, delicious places I would want to take my friends from out of town were not listed. And this county is culturally diverse, and I never felt like the article addressed that.
    Meh, we need the tourist dollars.

  12. I find it interesting that the secluded beach he selected regularly makes it into the “top 10” list of the states most polluted.

  13. I know Kabir Chibber, the writer for this piece, and he was indeed in Sonoma County and visited the locations he mentioned in his article. He was most interested in what is new in wine country — and maybe something different. He didn’t do the usual travel log of top 10 places to eat — like every other writer does. The distances between towns is accurate — the rest is subjective — something every writer, including the writer of this blog is guilty of. By the way — Kabir was a business writer for the BBC — his take on our cozy wine country is refreshingly different than yours or mine.

    1. I guess I felt exactly the opposite. A lot of stuff felt really “usual” to me, dotted with some odd picks that didn’t really make sense.
      I’m not knocking the writer, who apparently you’re tight with. I’m knocking what felt like odd choices. I’ve had probably seven or eight people tell me the exact same thing unprompted. It’s fascinating to look at our neck of the woods through another lens. But as one of the most popular stories on the NYTimes.com this weekend, the choices seemed out-of-sync.

    2. Unless he was driving a Bugatti Veyron at 3:00 in the morning at highly illegal speeds, I promise you, there’s no way he can make it from Cloverdale to Sonoma in an hour. Seriously, I’d bet a bottle of wine that he’d never make it in an hour.
      Perhaps he emailed you for some ideas, looked around on Google for new and/or not highly advertised places, took some stock photo footage from somewhere, then simply wrote some random words.

  14. I don’t think it’s that far off the mark. If anything, Cloverdale to Sonoma in an hour is maybe 10 minutes off– hardly something to balk at. And the nightlife IS seriously lacking. I wouldn’t say the bars are necessarily fratty, more like crappy.

    1. Again…I’ve lived in “fratty” college towns with “fratty” college bars. This isn’t one. By a long shot.

  15. Sonoma to Cloverdale does take an hour now. The drive from the square to Boyes Springs is 10 minutes, Boyes Springs to Safeway in Rincon Valley is almost 20 minutes, Rincon Valley to 101 at Larkfield is 15 minutes and Larkfield to Cloverdale is another 25 minutes. I can do it in an hour because I drive like an A-hole. Can we organize a Cannonball run right here?

  16. Well, Cloverdale only has the free concerts on Friday nights. The article makes it sound like there’s music every night.

  17. Couldn’t agree more. The geography and the timeline was a joke. To me, it looked like the writer took a couple of press releases about a new restaurant, a new winery and a new hotel, and strung them together with a few other things people like to do on a generic vacation and called it a story.

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