Sonoma is rich in history and charm. A trip to Sonoma would not be complete without a proper tour, whether it be on bicycles or by van. On our recent Girl’s Getaway, we had the good fortune of booking a complimentary tour with Goodtime Touring Company, so that we could tour Sonoma’s finest from a veteran tour guide. At first we thought a bike tour would be fun – but the albeit youthful grandma in the group (me) was fearful of holding the younger chicks back, so we opted for a van tour, just to be sure to get a good feel for the beauty, history and charm of Sonoma.
Doug McKesson, owner of Goodtime touring, was the perfect guide and host for the afternoon. He customized a tour just for us, catering to our likes and tastes. We’re not drinkers, so winery touring wasn’t on the top of our list, but he made sure to take us to Buena Vista Winery – the historical grandpa of the wineries in Sonoma. What a treat to see the beautiful stone winery and learn of the rich history of Buena Vista. We even got to meet the original founder of the winery, Count Agoston Haraszthy, a vivacious and eccentric pioneer with a veritable love and unending commitment to California wine who founded the winery in 1857 (a costumed character at the winery).
Doug, our guide, was a mountain of information and knew the history of Sonoma like he lived it himself. He and his wife, Penny, established Goodtime Touring Company in 2001 after their original bike rental shop of 1975 had grown so much that now it’s a full service touring company. Doug’s years as Mayor of Sonoma and City Councilman have given him a personal depth of familiarity with the people and the land that he readily translated into colorful and entertaining descriptions of Sonoma. He gave such detailed descriptions of many of Sonoma’s historic characters and buildings that I thought he may have been a local history professor.
We got out and walked several times, and for sure, Doug would have stopped more, and given more history, had we asked. He made sure to take us to the local artisan cheese factory, Vella Cheese Co. I found this stop completely fascinating as we were able to learn about the cheese making process. I even learned that the cheese wheels are dipped in chocolate and stored for aging! Goodtime Touring also took us to the downtown central plaza and mission and the amazing Sonoma Market, At each stop, we could sense the relationships with winemakers, cheesemakers, and local businessmen he has established. We felt like he was giving us a private tour of his own backyard.
Goodtime Touring Company tours are designed to be as individual as you are, and to make you feel at home in beautiful Sonoma where you’re free to create memories and adventures of your own. You can visit their website at and see all they have to offer. You can choose from Bike Tours, Van Tours, Winery Tours, Picnic Tours and Multi-Day Tours. The choice is yours and the possibilities are almost limitless, as Goodtime Touring will personalize just for you and your needs.