Sonoma County Town Makes NY Times’ List of ‘Places to Love in 2021’

The New York Times asked readers about "the spots that have delighted, inspired and comforted them in a dark year."

While the pandemic put an end to much of non-essential travel in 2020, that didn’t stop us from taking imaginary trips to destinations near and far that bring us a sense of adventure, serenity, beauty and joy. Many of us also found a renewed appreciation for our own backyards (figurative and literal) as we spent more time close to home.

In search of special places around the world, The New York Times asked their readers about “the spots that have delighted, inspired and comforted them in a dark year.” The resulting list, “52 Places to Love in 2021,” was published this week and includes one Sonoma County spot: Santa Rosa. Other places mentioned on the list are Isfahan in Iran, the Scottish highlands, Cordoba in Spain, Lake Michigan, Bryce Canyon National Park, the Siwa Oasis in Egypt, and Hokkaido in Japan (see more places featured on the list in the above gallery).

Here’s what New York Times reader and Santa Rosa resident Ria D’Aversa had to say about the city she calls home:

“Santa Rosa is full of majesty. Everything is within reach, including the rough, beautiful Sonoma County coastline. The region brings together so many different experiences: manicured vineyards, a wonderful downtown with breweries and coffee shops, dark-green forests and snaking rivers, mountains and big agricultural valleys.”

D’Aversa, the co-founder of Pennrose Wine, a small natural wine company in Santa Rosa, also mentioned a favorite local park:

“One of my favorite places in Santa Rosa is Trione-Annadel State Park, which, along with other parts of the region, has suffered from wildfires in the last couple of years. People in this agricultural community see the seasons of destruction and renewal up close. They see how the fires hurt the economy and the land. I think of myself as a resilient person; I’ve gone through failures, traumas and upheaval. And I think that’s the ethos for Santa Rosa, too: resilience.”

What places have helped you get through this difficult time? Where have you traveled in your mind? Any favorite destinations in Santa Rosa or Sonoma County? Let us know in the comments.