Windsor is primarily accessible by car, although it is also a destination for those bicycling through California's wine country. It is adjacent to California 101 and is a small town that is easy to navigate without a map. The heart of the town is built around the Town Green.
Starting in late 2016, the town will be near (less than one mile) from the final stop of the SMART (Sonoma-Marin Area Regional Train) that will stop at Sonoma County airport just south of town. The SMART train will connect to the ferry to San Francisco from its terminus in the Marin County town of Larkspur.
Windsor does have one bus line that does a loop, in one direction, around the town. The total trip takes about 45 minutes.
From a visitors standpoint, most of the attractions are in the Town Green, a newer development built adjacent to the "Old Downtown Windsor" along the railroad tracks. The Town Green has wine tasting rooms, a brewery, several restaurants, a pub, shopping and services for locals and vistors.
To get around, walking is easiest, though a bicycle can be rented from the bicycle shop on the Town Green. Nearby attractions include wineries and picnic areas just outside of town, like Rodney Strong Vineyards, J Winery and others.
Most visitors arrive by car. Cars can also be rented at the nearby Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County airport, which is just south of town in unincorporated Sonoma County.
Windsor was a small north coast community that recently experienced noticeable development. Visitors will find recently-created buildings of a mixture of revival architectural styles create a new small town around the town green. This development demonstrates aspects of new urbanism as well as the growth supported by expanding interest in the towns of California's wine country.
Windsor's "do" activities primarily relate to "buy" and "eat" but strolling around the town and investigating the little shops and restaurants or enjoying entertainment on the town green may also be experienced without actually buying or eating anything.
Some favorite spots on the Town Green include:
- Powell's Candy Store: featuring candies from all over the world and seemingly all candies from your childhood.
- Cafe Noto: Local coffee shop where many residents stop in for the morning fix and a chat with neighbors. Also has good pastries.
- Starbucks: Of course.
- Images: Cute boutique with baubles.
- Mirror, Mirror: Cute fashion boutique with clothes for women.
- Tomi Thai: Remarkably good Thai food in a tiny spot. Also has a good beer list.
- Kin: Family-friendly restaurant with a wine country flair.
- Kaleidoscope Toys: Good old-fashioned toy store.
- Wine Tasting on the Green: Four wine tasting rooms are on the Green, with one, Mutt Lynch, inviting well-behaved dogs and their human companions to come taste.
- Old Redwood Brewing Company: Beer.
- St. Florian's Brewery: Started by a local firefighter and a spot for a pint from beer brewed in the back. Kids welcome. Order a pizza, bring your own food or they will suggest a restaurant to order from.
- Tilted Shed Cider: Ciders made onsite with local apples.
- Sonoma Brother Distilling: Vodka, gin and whiskey made onsite.
- Colagrassi Wines: Cabernet Sauvignon and Italian varietals
Windsor features many little shops ranging from apparel to candy. Off the redeveloped green, travelers will also find essentials and usual small-town businesses for groceries, gas, and other basics.
Visitors have their pick of restaurants that range from pub fare to high-end dining. These can be found by just wandering The Green.
Many restaurants feature local wine and food -- and also feature locals enjoying the same.
Windsor is located a stone's throw from several diverse wineries with tasting rooms. The town is situated near the Chalk Hill, Russian River and Dry Creek and Alexander Valley AVAs, so there is great diversity in the grapes grown and wines made nearby.
There are two main areas for wine and beer tasting: the Town Green (wineries and one brewery) and the Bell Road Beverage District, one mile south of the Town Green and featuring a winery, a brewery, a distillery and a cider house.
Windsors restaurants also typically feature local wines and beers.
By resisting the temptation to get back on the 101 and following Old Redwood Highway (or other alternate routes), travelers will find many local spots of interest from tamales vendors to wineries.