Fort Ross Celebration: Harvest and Wine Time

Pick apples in an old orchard, sip vino, and take in the historic setting.

HISTORICAL AUTUMN: To say a place in Sonoma County is "full of history" is to have expended words not in need of expending. The county is lush with vintage wineries and tale-filled inns and parks that have traditions stretching back decades, if not a century or two. But Fort Ross State Historic Park certainly sits high up in the pantheon of Sonoma's most storied locations, given that it is known as an early Russian settlement in the Americas (a settlement settled upon in the early 1800s). The fort still bears that ye-yonder-esque 19th-century feel, but it is no locked-tight, enjoy-not museum; rather, it hosts a multitude of events, and family-fun to-dos, and one of the biggest, with the most festive facets, falls in the fall. It's the Fort Ross Harvest Festival, which also includes the Fort Ross-Seaview Wine Tasting and Luncheon, a double-dose of outdoorsy, history-laden, libation-lovely goodness that falls on the third Saturday in October in 2014, which, of course, is probably the most perfect of all October Saturdays.

SATURDAY, OCT. 18: Well, some might dispute that, but with the Pacific breezes brushing into the fort, and the soft Sonoma sunshine, activities like apple picking, buggy rides, the making of Russian crafts, the enjoyment of cider and other autumn-type edibles, and a demo of a Russian-style windmill. As for the wine tasting end of the most perfect Saturday in October? The grand luncheon will boast "(f)our courses of seasonal local fare" from local award-winning chefs. Freestone Artisan Cheese will go the cheese sampling route, and other goodies await. If you just want to taste regional wine? That option is on the table, too; look for local bottles representing the ocean-close AVA. Want to do all three? You probably could, if you make a day of it, but landing on just the harvest high jinks, the posh lunching, or the vino sipping is probably the way to go. You'll totally be back in some future year, right? This is, after all, a storied Sonoma spot, not far from the ocean, an ideal location to linger on that third Saturday of October.

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