My Favorite Summer Hikes in Sonoma County

WOW! Kids make life the best kind of busy, and so does being involved with the family business and managing my own brand. Keeping me on my toes, as a mom to three wonderful children, I often find myself pressed for time. Passionate about my profession and caring for others, I am a big believer in enjoying the small things in life. Hiking and enjoying the beauty of nature is just one tip from me to you I really want to share.

Natalia's summer hikes in the mountains

Hiking is good for you

Adventure & Exploration at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park

Looking for a stress reliever combined with a little challenge? What’s better than beautiful scenery to take a deep breath and forget your worries for a while? With beautiful summer days right around the corner, a personal goal of mine is to start hiking more. As a healthy lifestyle enthusiast, I love how hiking increases my energy, puts me in a good mood, and brings my family together.

I have begun try to find new places to hike. There is no shortage of hiking spots here in Northern California, which means there is always plenty to discover! With more than 150 miles of trails in Sonoma County alone, there is a hike suitable for everyone. You can explore everything from the mountains and lakes to the forests and the beaches. We have it all! I wanted to share some great hikes on my radar so you and your family can enjoy them too.

A Beginner’s Hike: Spring Lake Regional Park

Paddling at Spring Lake Regional Park
Photo Credit: Sonoma County Regional Parks

This is a comfortable and popular hike you can enjoy with your family any day! Located Northeast of Santa Rosa, Spring Lake Regional Park offers multiple activities perfect for all ages. When my kiddos were younger, I loved taking them and their bikes. Other than one steep yet brief hill, there is a 2 mile paved circuit loop around the lake, it is pretty flat for them to pedal along. Beyond this, the entire park features 10 miles of trails for hiking, bicycling, and horseback riding. For a perfect family outing be sure to enjoy a family picnic and don’t forget your camera for those precious family moments.

Will you hike for wine?

Fritz Winery Sunrise on the Vineyard

Built into a picturesque hillside, atop the northernmost region of the famed Dry Creek Valley, our winery, Fritz Underground Winery is the perfect place for a vineyard walk. Experience 112-acres of the great outdoors, with rolling green hills and sweeping landscapes.  Start the tour wandering through the vineyards and organic gardens on your way to a natural spring hidden in the majestic redwoods. Finish the tour with a walk through the winemaking facility and experience the “behind the scenes” of winemaking. If you like wine and hiking, it does not get better than this! 

Afterwards, take a moment of zen with our Estate Zin and enjoy a wine tasting and/or picnic by the lake.

 Natalia’s picnic tips: Celery & olive medley salad followed by raspberry cream cookies for dessert! An easy to prepare recipe your kids are sure to love!

Taylor Mountains Regional Park

Taylor Mountains Regional Park
Photo Credit: Sonoma County Regional Parks

After a few easy to moderate hikes, let’s increase the difficulty level with a hike in the Taylor Mountains regional park. Ranked #1 on Yelp by the Sonoma hiking community, this hike offers 5.5 miles of trails for all difficulty levels.

The Eastern Trail is the most difficult with a steep, 1,000-foot ascent to the top of the mountain. The Western Trail offers a more gradual climb up the mountain. These two hikes are worth it, offering sweeping views of Santa Rosa and beyond. The Todd Creek Trail is relatively flat but longer, winding through a lovely oak woodland for 7 miles. Eventually, the 1.2-mile Red Tail Trail bends through beautiful oaks and grassy meadows with some gradual climbs, looping back to the parking lot. At about the mid-point, a .2-mile trail connector links the Red Tail Trail it to the Western Trail. Cattle grazing gives you yet another opportunity to enjoy nature’s wildness and beauty.

Time for relaxation

Yoga Toes

After a long day of hiking, wind down with one of my favorite essentials, Yoga toes toe stretchers, to give your feet some relief! I am on my feet A LOT! At the end of the day, my tired & achy feet deserve a s-t-r-e-t-c-h. Yoga Toes are my “go to”.
And you? What is your favorite hike? I am still looking for more ideas to add to a summer “To Do” list.  I would love to hear from you. Xo Natalia

From Refined Wine to Extra Virgin Olive Oil- The Best of the Dry Creek Valley

From Blackberry Bushes to Olive Trees…

Olio D'Natalia

As a mom and the daughter of a farmer, Natalia Fritz has always appreciated the health benefits, locally sourced production, and top quality of the ingredients she uses in her cooking. So almost 10 years ago, when the idea came to her and her husband of replacing the overgrown blackberry bushes at Fritz Winery, it is not surprising that she and Clay came up with the idea of planting olive trees. The idea was not only to prevent potential vineyard diseases but also to be able to extract excellent extra virgin olive oil.

From Kid to Mom, Mom to Kid, Cooking Came Full Circle

For as long as I can remember I have enjoyed cooking. My intrigue began when I was around 4 or 5 years old. I remember my friend Sara received a Betty Crocker Easy Bake Oven for her 5th birthday, I was instantly fascinated and curious (and probably a tinge jealous). I think I told the Birthday Fairy and Santa for years and years that that is what I wanted. And because I never got one (I also asked for bikes and typewriters and clothes and other toys, so please don’t think my parents or Santa or the Birthday Fairy neglected me), my desire for cooking never faded. It just got stronger.

Natalia's Kitchen - Leo LOVES my Sweet Potato Tomato Sauce
Leo LOVES my sauce on cheese raviolis for a quick snack

Like many, many other parents out there, I value providing homemade meals for my family as often as possible. Healthy habits with whole foods have become a basic priority here. So often I find myself thinking about what I am going to cook over the next few days. I LOVE meal planning, and I love sorting through cookbooks and magazines as I imagine pulling together different dishes to complete our meals. So much inspiration out there!

These days my house is filled with three growing kids and a hungry husband. During our busiest days (which feels like every day) I love knowing I can quickly create a well balanced and tasty meal by using my sweet potato tomato sauce. From pasta to pizza, sloppy joes to lasagna roll-ups – I know we’re getting at least 75% vegetables per serving. Pretty cool! And, by combining great flavor with a whole score of health benefits, this sauce brings the sweet potato to play with every bite!