Tourists from all over the map are familiar with Sonoma County's many attractions — the climate, the scenery, the culture — but the locals also know the advantages of living here.

And sometimes they savor the simple pleasures the most.

When we asked readers to tell us about their favorite things to do in the summertime in Sonoma County, we got some very short but emphatic answers:

"Head for the beaches!"

"Chillin' on the Russian River!"

"Barbecue with friends! Cold beers and music!"

"Crabbing and shore fishing!"

"Entertaining on my terrace!"

"Bicycle and hike!"



"Drink!" (Well, there's always a guy like that in the crowd.)

And a succinct but creatively written response came in from Jo McCormick of Sebastopol, development director at the 6th Street Playhouse in Santa Rosa.

"The icy fresh slap of the Sonoma Coast!" McCormick wrote.

The county's various free outdoor concert series, wine tastings and farmers markets all rated high, but there were some rather offbeat entries, too.

"On a serious note, I like to go to the Bloomfield Cemetery at night to view the stars, or during the day for a picnic," wrote Nikki Marlo Stras, a popular bartender at Santa Rosa's venerable Villa Restaurant.

Sebastopol writer and artist Teri Sloat, active with the Sebastopol Gallery, took an artistic approach: "Painting outdoors (plein air) at Shollenberger Park (in Petaluma) in the evening, or on Sonoma Mountain."

Forestville artist and writer Maureen Hurley offered a detailed itinerary: "Wandering the backroads in search of coastal vistas. Head out to the coast very slowly, via Coleman Valley Road or Willow Creek. Driving to the coast via Warm Springs if have the time. Camera in hand. Of course, clam chowder at The Tides (in Bodega Bay) is always good."

Artists, of course, have a flair for the visual.

Santa Rosa artist and teacher Donna De La Briandais wrote, "Walk and paint the beauty at Spring Lake Park and then eat at the Lakeside Grill, with a glass of wine by the water to reward myself."

But vivid self-expression isn't limited to any occupation. Rohnert Park City Councilman Jake Mackenzie showed his poetic side when he wrote, "Watching evening shadows on Taylor Mountain from our backyard."

You can reach Staff Writer Dan Taylor at 521-5243 or See his ARTS blog at