Firefighters contained the wind-fueled fires in Napa and Sonoma counties that burned more than 200,000 acres and killed more than 40 people. As the smoke clears and the media turns to other tragedies, this is when the real work begins.
During the long holiday weekend--or any weekend, for that matter--spend a day in Napa or Sonoma wine country. This is peak tourist season for North Bay wineries, inns, restaurants and shops. Even in towns spared by the fires, the economic loss has been disastrous. You enjoy a romantic weekend getaway and boost their economy with each visit.
About 90 percent of North Bay crops had been harvested before the fires, which means you won't notice a dent in production. And of the more than 1,000 wineries and tasting rooms in the area, only about five percent reported fire or smoke damage. So go visit.
If you want to make an even greater impact, combine your North Bay day trip with an afternoon of volunteering. Many organizations still need your help. Organizations in Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park, Sonoma, Healdsburg and other locales need bodies to help prepare food, sort donations, man crisis lines and provide other support. For a list of current opportunities, visit volunteernow.org.
Another way to support North Bay fire victims is to attend one of the many benefit events taking place up north. The Napa Valley Film Festival, which runs through November 12, will donate ten percent of all pass sales revenue to Napa Valley Community Foundation's Disaster Relief Fund.
For the Love of Napa, a benefit concert featuring Michael Franti & Spearhead and Vintage Trouble, will donate 100 percent of its proceeds to the Napa Valley and Sonoma County Community Foundations, as well as other charities. The afternoon concert takes place Saturday, November 18, at Robert Mondavi Winery, in Oakville.
Many wineries and wine events are also donating a portion of their wine and ticket sales to North Bay fire victims. SFGate has a good run-down of upcoming events.
Thanksgiving in Sonoma
Looking to get out of town on Thanksgiving? Visit one of Sonoma County's many fine restaurants for a full turkey dinner you don't have to cook. A few suggestions:
Willie Bird's Restaurant, Santa Rosa. (707) 542-0861
John Ash and Co., Santa Rosa. (707) 527-7687
Franchetti's Kitchen, Santa Rosa. (707) 526-1229
Carneros Bistro and Bar at Lodge at Sonoma, Sonoma. (707) 935-6600
girl and the fig, Sonoma. (707) 938-3634
Depot Hotel, Sonoma. (707) 938-2980
Pullman Kitchen, Santa Rosa. (707) 545-4300
Petaluma Central Market, Petaluma. (707) 778-9900
Got any other suggestions for helping our friends up north? Share them in the comments below or on our Facebook page.
Photo courtesy of Flickr