A: There is a great local company for LGBT visitors called Gay Napa Travel. It’s owned by the friendly Charles Kimball, who moved to the area several years ago. He even became an ordained minister so he could perform same-sex weddings in this lush region.
“The longer I live here, the more and more gay couples I meet,” Charles says. “But they’ve made their money, and now they want to lead a quiet life in a beautiful place.”
Charles knows all the secret nooks and crannies of the area, and enjoys taking gay and lesbian visitors to out-of-the-way spots. He recently sent me to the cascading hillside vineyards of the out-of-this-world Pride Wineries [http://www.pridewines.com] near the upscale village of St. Helena. Upon arriving, I was guided through a maze of candle-lit wine-soaked tunnels, before a chef handed me a gourmet pizza from an outdoor stone oven. Sipping wine and taking in the ocean and mountain views, I could easily see myself being one of the gays who decides to spend the rest of his days here.
Some geography notes: The side-by-side valleys of Sonoma (to the east) and Napa (to the west) are home to more than 400 hundred wineries. Just to the west of these valleys is the small town of Guerneville, better known as the Russian River. It’s a bear-friendly and lesbian-friendly spot where San Franciscans come to let their hair down at the gay inns among the redwoods. Bodega Bay, where Alfred Hitchcock filmed The Birds, and of course lavender-flavored San Francisco are easy drives from here.
If you’re interested in getting more information on Guerneville or any other parts of Sonoma, be sure to check out their useful site: Wine Road. There’s also a Russian River site with tons of useful information about the area.
For more information on Napa, they have a useful site as well, simply named: Napa Valley.