Getting to Sebastopol
The town is 55 miles north of San Francisco. From U.S. 101 north, take State 116 west. From U.S. 101 south, take State 12 west.
Why go in fall: To do your Thanksgiving shopping the fun way.
Farm-hopping: The peaceful, scenic countryside around Sebastopol has everything you need for your feast at dozens of regional farms (farmtrails.org).
The vibe: A little bit hippie, a whole lot locavore.
Allegedly named for: An epic 1850s fistfight that reminded locals of the siege of Sevastopol during the Crimean War.
Official tree: The Gravenstein apple; look for the gnarled little trees lining State 116 (also called the Gravenstein Highway) north of town.
Overheard: “Look at that—it’s the middle of November, and the kids are wading in the fountain.”
Dress your table: Pick up anything from bird-shaped Bakelite napkin rings to a redwood farm table at vast, browsable Antique Society (2661 Gravenstein Hwy. S.; 707/829-1733).
Spotted: Not one but two spinners making yarn at the farmers’ market.
Get your daily bread: The seeded sourdough at Village Bakery (7225 Healdsburg Ave.; 707/829-8101) makes a fine Thanksgiving stuffing.
Load up on bottles for the big day: With a house full of relatives, you’ll need good wine on Thanksgiving—and plenty of it. Two tasting rooms in Sebastopol are the ideal places to buy bottles matched to the occasion.
Iron Horse Vineyards (9786 Ross Station Rd.) is known for its sparkling wines. Serve its rich, bright Wedding Cuvée with appetizers, then switch to a Pinot from Lynmar Estate (3909 Frei Rd.) for the main meal.
Pick your produce: At the lively Sebastopol Farmers’ Market, you’ll find delectable pancetta (cured by local chef Franco Dunn), tangy chèvre and sweet natilla (a molasses-spiked Peruvian goat’s milk caramel that would be wonderful drizzled on pumpkin pie) from Bodega & Yerba Santa Goat Cheese, and piles of peppers and gourds—plus eat-it-there treats like a plate of chicken tikka from Lata’s Indian Cuisine. 10–1:30 Sun through Nov 28; Downtown Plaza at McKinley St.; 707/522-9305.
As American as … Put down your rolling pin and take home a box from longtime local favorite Mom’s Apple Pie. The shop is basic looking, but the flaky-crusted pies come in a huge range of flavors, and the frozen ones heat up like a dream—if you can keep your hands off until Thanksgiving. 4550 Gravenstein Hwy. N.; 707/823-8330.
The main event: Go straight to the source with a Sonoma-bred Willie Bird; the family has been raising plump free-range turkeys for more than 40 years, and you can’t miss the big sign at their storefront on the fringes of Sebastopol. Whatever you do, call ahead; the weekend before Thanksgiving is a scene. Closed Sun except Nov 21; 5350 Sebastopol Rd./State 12; 707/545-2832.
Sweeten the pot: Whether you’re embarking on beekeeping or just looking for handmade beeswax candles for your table, Beekind will set you up. There’s a mouthwatering assortment of local and specialty honeys, including flavors like warm chai spice, and treats like honey-roasted nuts. 921 Gravenstein Hwy. S.; 707/824-2905.
More NorCal Thanksgiving shopping stops
Turkey in Woodland: A pretty country drive northwest of Sacramento leads to fresh, plump free-range turkeys at Branigan’s Turkey Farm. The family farm lets its turkeys mature for 9 to 11 weeks longer than most commercial operations, meaning more succulent meat and better flavor. Call ahead to order. 530/662-4205.
Chestnuts in the Santa Cruz Mountains: Grab your sturdiest gloves and head for the hills to gather glossy nuts from Skyline Chestnuts, a 20-acre orchard originally planted in the mid–19th century and now part of the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District. Go soon: The harvest peaks in late October or early November. 22322 Skyline Blvd.; 408/395-0337.
Pie in San Francisco: You don’t have to venture to the country for old-fashioned flavor. At beloved bakery Mission Pie, delicate crusts enclose irresistible fillings—from Shaker lemon to sweet potato—made with fruit from local farms. 2901 Mission St.; 415/282-4743.