Reflection of Sonora’s main street in a patriotic store window
En route to Yosemite from San Francisco Airport almost two years ago, my husband and I opted to stopover in Sonora, which had promised to be a quaint gold rush era town with good food. This seemed the sane thing to do after a long flight but it’s probably also because we wanted to save the cost of a night’s stay at the pricey Ahwahnee. And we were intrigued by getting a good cheeseburger at the Diamondback Grill in Sonora.
See related post – Yosemite – Tips for First Time Visitors
Sonora’s main street stores
Sonora dates back to the California Gold Rush in the mid-1800s when the town was founded by Mexican miners. With fewer than 5,000 residents nowadays, the town now mainly caters to tourists en route to Yosemite and gets a spillover of visitors who can’t find a place to stay in the park. Sonora has a well preserved historical main street and some interesting stores, which unfortunately I didn’t have the chance to spend much time in. By the way, an evening walk evokes a somewhat spooky feel to the town.
The town has a rather eery feel at dusk – but we were here in early October when the masses of tourists were gone
We originally booked to stay here but it may be slightly haunted
It’s basically a two and a half hour drive east from San Francisco to Sonora but given traffic in the Bay Area, it could take longer. Sonora to Yosemite village takes around another two hours. So it sensible for us to stay the night in Sonora and drive to Yosemite and the Ahwahnee (now called the Majestic Yosemite Hotel) first thing in the morning. This still allowed us to do some roaming in Sonora the evening we arrived as well as to take in a walk in the early morning.
One of the town’s old mansions
The historic church
Barrett Gardens Inn – cute and large cats
Our breakfast, cooked by Danny
There are a number of Gold Rush era inns to stay in Sonora, where much of the town is centred around its main street. We opted to get a room at Barretta Gardens Inn (website link), which is a charmingly furnished B&B with a lovely garden and an easy walk to the main street. The best thing, however, about Barretta is the service from hosts Danny and Astrid. Astrid has a great deal of info and suggestions on what to do and where to go in the area while Danny cooked us a wonderful breakfast and helped us lug our very heavy luggage up to the room. Coffee was brought up to the upstairs lounge outside our door in the morning – to perk us up before breakfast.
Best burger from the Diamondback Grill
Given our short stay in Sonora, however, our one highlight was the burgers at the Diamondback Grill (website link). The restaurant owner breeds her own cattle. On the menu are amazing half-pound burgers at just USD9.00 per burger (before tax) and an extra USD1.00 to add cheese. But there’s also the Table Mountain burger which is the house local beef, which I recommend. Also, the garlic fries are great.
Would I come back to Sonora? Definitely if I needed a place to stopover and very much so for the burger.