TIPS... SO. MANY. TIPS: Top ten lists and top twenty lists and rundowns flooded with tips and must-dos and don't-dos and stop-thats tend to dominate much of our media towards the close of the old year and the start of the new one. And while many of them do possess worthwhile information -- "drink more water" is one that carries water for a lot of life-improvers -- there's one major suggestion that isn't cited often enough when it comes to exercise routine. Nope, it isn't do more push-ups or more leg lifts or more downward-facing dogs, though if that's your bag, well then. That's your bag. It's about incorporating new views into your walking exercises, fresh scenery, and unexplored places of beauty.
AND, FOR SURE... many places do advise changing up your route now and then, so the daily walk doesn't become stale, but not too many say "go to one of the most beautiful spots in the state to stretch a leg." We get that -- that isn't always possible, to just zip away to somewhere beautiful and rustic and soul-settling at a moment's notice -- but it gets easier when free maps are involved. Sonoma Wine Country has free maps, if free maps appeal (and they should), and those maps take visitors on walks through vineyards. How's that for changing up the exercise routine at the start of the year? A leafy, grape-sweet, rolling-hill-happy adventure through one of the region's iconic vine-thick spots.
HOW TO GET YOUR MAP: It's as easy as asking for it via the Sonoma County web site. The program kicked off in 2010 and has since doubled the wineries open for walking (from four to eight). On the roster? Schug Carneros Estate Winery, Balletto Vineyards, and Stryker Sonoma Winery. Does your exercise-walking-routine-y thing need some jazzing? In other words, pretty views, air that's crisp, and the chance to maybe take in a tasting at the end of the walking-the-vineyards day? Get your free map, resolution-keepers.