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Cafe Aquatica, Jenner: Start your day the Sonoma Coast way with a cup of locally roasted, fair trade coffee, fresh baked goods and coastal views. This cafe, housed in a nautical shack, overlooks the Russian River and the tree-spotted hills of Penny Island. There are lawn chairs outdoors and a wooden stage to enjoy live music by the water. (MM) 10439 Highway 1, Jenner, 707-865-2251. (Courtesy photo)
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Pair your morning joe with a view at Cafe Aquatica in Jenner. (Courtesy photo)
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Enjoy live music by the water at Cafe Aquatica in Jenner. (Courtesy photo)
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River’s End, Jenner: This romantic seafood restaurant is a popular place to end a day on the coast. Large windows offer ocean views and you can take in coastal sights and sounds from the surrounding deck. The Redwood Bar, presided over by a French Culinary Institute-trained chef, is a choice spot for a drink — sip it outside as the sun touches down. The wine list is good, too. (HI) 1048 Highway 1, Jenner, 707-865-2484, ilovesunsets.com. (Courtesy photo)
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The Birds Café, Bodega Bay: This tiny eatery, perched above the harbor, serves only a handful of items — fish and chips, salads, clam chowder, shrimp tacos — but may be one of our favorite places on the coast. Order at the counter, then walk up the stairs (there’s also a handy ramp) to the concrete patio for a lovely view and a picnic-style meal for under $15. (HI) 407 California Hwy. 1, Bodega Bay, 707-875-2900.
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Spud Point Crab Company, Bodega Bay: This family operated old-style Fishermen’s Wharf restaurant is a “dream-come-true” for owners Tony and Carol Anello. The restaurant’s fresh crab and wild king salmon is caught by Tony and his son Mark. Carol and daughters Lisa and Gina run the store, serving up famous clam chowder and crab cakes. The outdoor picnic tables offer views of the bay and the fishing fleet. (HI) 1910 Westshore Rd, Bodega Bay. (Crista Jeremiason)
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Carol Anello's clam chowder at the Spud Point Crab Company in Bodega Bay. (John Burgess)
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Fisherman’s Cove, Bodega Bay: A no-nonsense family-owned seafood shack and fishing-marine supply store specializing in fresh local oysters harvested from Tamales Bay. Their crab sandwich rivals nearby Spud Point, but we’ll let you make that call. (HI) 1850 Bay Flat Rd., Bodega Bay. (Yelp)
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Oysters at Fisherman's Cove in Bodega Bay. (Yelp)
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Drake’s Fireside Lounge, Bodega Bay: Drake's is a great spot to relax and experience the Sonoma Coast. Get cozy indoors next to a stone fireplace or take in the sunset, nestled in a teak rocking chair by the outdoor fire pit. Through the lenses of the patio binoculars, you can track migrating whales, spot coastal birds, or follow the kite surfers in the distant harbor. (HI) 103 CA-1, Bodega Bay, 707-875-3525, bodegabaylodge.com
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John Ash & Co., Santa Rosa: At the gateway to the Russian River Valley appellation, this historic restaurant pays homage to godfather of Wine Country cuisine, Chef John Ash. The restaurant is nestled among acres of vineyards, with stunning views from just about every angle. Twinkling lights and a lovely patio make it a perfect sunset spot. (HI) 4330 Barnes Road, Santa Rosa, 527-7687, vintnersinn.com. (Courtesy photo)
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Glazed pork tenderloin with aged gouda polenta cake, baby shiitake and bing cherries is paired with Montecillo Vineyard Zinfandel at St. Francis Winery. (Courtesy photo)
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Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards, Sonoma: Another winery that offers a dining experience with a view, in this case, in the form of a Wine Country picnic or tapas. The picnic takes place in a private hilltop area with views of Carneros vineyards and includes savory nibbles to start, gourmet sandwiches, one side salad, and dessert. The tapas experience is set on the terrace and includes Spanish bites, estate varietals from Carneros and Spain, Cava, and Carneros sparkling. (MM) 23555 Hwy 121, Sonoma, 707- 933-1917, gloriaferrer.com.
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The picnic at Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards takes place in a private hilltop area with views of Carneros vineyards and includes savory nibbles to start, gourmet sandwiches, one side salad, and dessert. (Courtesy photo)
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Korbel Delicatessen and Market, Guerneville: A winery, rose garden, market and delicatessen rolled into one, historic Korbel has everything you need for a picnic with a West County view. Enjoy complimentary tours and wine tastings followed by a gourmet picnic on the patio shaded by redwood trees and overlooking vineyards. The deli features fresh salads, cheese and charcuterie, and hand-crafted sandwiches like the classic muffaletta or the popular grilled tri-tip topped with gorgonzola. (MM) 13250 River Road, Guerneville, 707-824-7000, korbel.com.
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Stumptown Brewery, Guerneville: The real gem at this Guerneville brewery, aside from the great beers, is the expansive outdoor deck overlooking the Russian River. Spend a sunny Saturday sipping on a beer sampler or try Stumptown ales on tap paired with an old-fashioned cheeseburger or a pulled pork sandwich. (MM) 15045 River Road, Guerneville, 707-869-0705, stumptown.com.
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Charlie’s Restaurant, Windsor: A favorite among our readers, Charlie’s at Windsor Golf Club offers views of the course and lake, and features weekend brunches, steaks, fresh seafood, fine wines and beers on tap. The patio is partially shaded and has portable heaters for cool evenings. (MM) 1320 19th Hole Dr, Windsor, windsorgolf.com.
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Dry Creek General Store, Healdsburg: This popular general store and deli, established in 1881 and designated a historic landmark in 1979, has an old country feel with sweeping views of Dry Creek Valley vineyards. The store's culinary gardens supply seasonal items for the menu, which can be enjoyed on the front porch. (MM) 3495 Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg, 707-433-4171, drycreekgeneralstore1881.com. (Kent Porter)
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The view from the Dry Creek General Store is all wine country. (Kent Porter)
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Rustic Francis's Favorites, Geyserville: The restaurant at Francis Ford Coppola Winery in Geyserville boasts a terrace overlooking the picturesque Alexander Valley and Coppola vineyards. The family-style cooking features fresh, seasonal ingredients from the property’s organic herb and produce garden. (HI) 300 Via Archimedes, Geyserville, francisfordcoppolawinery.com