This past Saturday, my parents and I attended the annual holiday tree lighting at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa here in Sonoma.
This marks the 4th year that the Fairmont has hosted the event, which is free and open to the public. This year was our second year attending – it’s becoming a family tradition.
The Fairmont is a beautiful, historic hotel resort located in the Boyes Hot Springs neighborhood of Sonoma. It’s the largest employer in our community and one of the largest in the county. The architecture is Spanish influenced.
The tree lighting ceremony started at 5 PM, so we arrived at 4 PM to enjoy some bubbles prior to the lighting at the Fairmont bar.
Fairmont hotels are famous for their Christmas decorations, and it’s always a joy to see the beautiful Christmas tree and decorations on property.
The lobby was really busy – guests were checking in, families and friends were relaxing in the many seating areas. A lot of people were playing board games and enjoying glasses of wine from the bar. There was a really nice, family feeling to the scene – perfect for the holidays.
We had called ahead and reserved a table at the Fairmont’s 38º North lounge, as we figured it would be very busy (and it was!!). The Fairmont is one of the few places in Sonoma County that has an iPad menu and wine list, it’s always fun to browse their wide selection of wine – over 30 by the glass!
We ordered a bottle of Domaine Carneros 2012 Brut from bartender John (who gave EXCEPTIONAL service!). This bubbly, which is produced in the Carneros AVA on the border of Sonoma and Napa counties, is a crisp, dry, refreshing sparkler that pleased all of our palates.
At 5 PM we headed outside to a roundabout where the historic sycamore tree resides. The tree is over 100 years old and has seen a lot in its day: the Fairmont has historic hot springs that have been used for centuries and the property used to serve as a rest and recreation center for service members returning from World War II.
As guests gathered for the lighting, staff handed out hot chocolate and cider. Carolers performed, lending their lovely voices to the festivities.
Santa eventually arrived and the kids started freaking out, it was really funny. When he arrived, Rick Corcoran, the property manager, introduced Santa and a little girl from a nearby school to help pull the lever to turn on the lights. The countdown started – here’s the video!
It was great fun! Afterwards, we went back to 38º North to enjoy dinner.
The bar has a small menu crafted around comfort food. One of my favorite small plates on the menu is the lobster mac and cheese topped with shaved black truffles.
At dinner, we enjoyed a 2015 Skinner rosé, a blend of Grenache and Mourvèdre. It was tart like a raspberry and had nice acid.
After an evening of great food, conversation, family and friends, we said farewell to the Fairmont.
Be sure to visit the Fairmont when you’re in the area and see the beautiful sycamore tree! Also, if you stay at a Fairmont from now until January 31, 2017, 15% of your total stay goes to the non-profit Do It For the Love, a “wish-granting foundation that brings people living with life-threatening illnesses, children with severe challenges, and wounded veterans to live concerts.” Learn more about that, here. And no, this isn’t a sponsored post – I’m just a Fairmont fan girl!
On that note, Happy Holidays! And here is a macro picture of the black truffles on my mac and cheese! May your holiday be filled with all the truffles!!
Do you attend an annual tree lighting in your hometown?