In this edition we’re wishing our very own SomethingAboutSonoma.com a happy and prosperous birthday. For toddlers this would be considered the year of the “terrible twos” but we have a much more positive outlook on 2013 for our destination website, so we’re dubbing this the “thriving twos.”

From its inception in 2010 and launch in 2011, our goal for SomethingAboutSonoma.com was to provide tourists and wine lovers the opportunity to explore Wine Country and get a taste of everything Sonoma County has to offer. And boy have we succeeded! We created the site from scratch, starting with just an idea and growing the site into a fully interactive, multimedia platform for local businesses to advertise and tourists from around the country to explore and plan their next day trip, weekend or family vacation.

Since its inception, we’ve seen tremendous growth and activity with the site – from participating businesses, as well as site visitors and a network of followers. For the past two years, we’ve been nurturing SomethingAboutSonoma.com, growing it to be better, more interactive and user friendly. We’ve developed 360-degree panoramas, About Us videos, engaged in social media, interactive chats, added a wedding page, participated in local and regional events and developed an email newsletter.

So now you may be wondering – what more could come in the “thriving twos” for SomethingAboutSonoma.com? Well a lot actually! This year we’re looking to expand with a mobile website, provide more special offers from local business to site visitors, create a special Sonoma Plaza page highlighting the amazing features the historic shopping plaza has to offer, as well as expand our trip itineraries and much more.

In order to support this growth we not only have our Interactive and Multimedia department incorporating the latest and greatest technology and trends, but we’ve also relocated an A. Bright Idea team member to the area. David Wells, Multimedia Manager and Marketing Specialist, will now be living and breathing the glorious Sonoma County air every day, connecting with local businesses and providing additional insight into the area’s flavor, latest hot spots and great deals. Now a Sonoma, Cali. full time resident, David’s vantage point supports SomethingAboutSonoma.com’s position as the destination resource for Sonoma County and Wine Country.

David Wells, Junior Marketing Specialist/ Photographer

If you are like me, you usually research an area before you travel there. You also probably have a list of places you want to visit during your trips. I have been given the opportunity to travel a lot in recent years and am always looking for things to do, places to stay, where to eat and overall information about the areas I visit. This requires a lot of research, ‘Googleing’ or asking others who have been there for suggestions. A lot of time and effort is made in planning the perfect trip.

Sonoma County remains a huge destination for vacationers, wine lovers and families. Have you heard of SomethingAboutSonoma.com?

After opening A. Bright Idea’s west coast office, we recognized a need for an all-inclusive destination resource for one of California’s (and our favorite) tourist attraction – ‘Wine Country.’ While some good information can be found on the web about Sonoma County, A. Bright Idea knew there needed to be a single resource connecting users to the area businesses, giving them a feel for the area, all the things we love about the area, and all before a visitor steps foot in the county. This resource needed to be vibrant and visual, providing users the ability to view attractions and hotspots and map out their stay.

SomethingAboutSonoma.com was created for this purpose. It’s the premier destination resource for everything there is to know about Sonoma County. Launched in March 2011, SomethingAboutSonoma.com offers unique 360 degree panoramic views and videos from amazing locations all over the county. Users can get up-to-the-minute details on local businesses featured on the site with social media news feeds, read customer reviews and even look up specials. SomethingAboutSonoma.com features videos, an interactive map and much more.

Over the past month, I have been traveling to our Sonoma office frequently and meeting with businesses to introduce SomethingAboutSonoma.com. A. Bright Idea also had the opportunity to present the site at the Sonoma County Chamber of Commerce Business Expo and have been very happy with the results and feedback, some even noting, “we have been waiting for a site like this to come around!”

In today’s virtual world, many of us turn to online resources and social media sites for research and data. The elements of SomethingAboutSonoma.com ensure businesses create buzz in the social media world and enhance their reach to new target audiences, while offering online users the right information and a connection to the area – all found in a single source.

So what’s your something? Check out SomethingAboutSonoma.com to see this premier destination resource in action.

SomethingAboutSonoma.com window sticker outside a restaurant letting passersby know they belong to the site.

As many of you know, A. Bright Idea is expanding its creative services to Northern California and is busy setting up our West Coast office this week. The ABI team will enjoy some new digs in Sonoma, inside the village  of Glen Ellen. We are happy to announce a new relationship with Peter Mathis Wines of Sonoma.  The A. Bright Idea creatives have just completed a new label redesign of the Peter Mathis Sonoma Valley Grenache and are working on some new projects for this boutique winery.

This weekend, T.J. and I were honored to attend an exclusive wine event, “The Cult Cab Party,” benefiting the Sonoma Valley Teen Center.  A. Bright Idea supported the evening by creating several pieces of collateral materials promoting a vertical tasting of some Sonoma and Napa Valley’s legendary wines including Beringer Private Reserve, Chateau Montelena, Dunn and Spottwoode. Guests included Ed Sbragia, former rock-star winemaker at Beringer and now owner and winemaker at Sbragia Family Vineyards, Dick Arrowood from Arrowood Vineyards and Winery,  Philippe Thibault of Chateau St. Jean in Sonoma and other local VIPs.

As for A. Bright Idea’s new expansion on the Golden Coast, Bel Air, Maryland and Sonoma, California may be on opposite parts of the country  but are more similar than you might expect.  It was these similarities that drew us to the area (not to mention our love     of wine) and what made us decide to expand our business services on the West Coast and put down stakes in “real wine country”. Both areas offer rich agricultural history and take pride in small, family-owned farms and businesses passed down     through generations.

Sonoma Plaza and Downtown Bel Air are small, but thriving hubs of activities with restaurants, boutiques , government buildings, festivals and Farmer’s markets.  Sonoma County, California  and Harford County, Maryland are both rich with history and made up of small nearby towns and cities like Healdsburg, Glen Ellen, Petaluma, Sebastopol in California to Bel Air, Havre de Grace, Aberdeen in Maryland. It’s a quiet and safe place for families, where you know many of the people walking down the street and you do more than just wave and nod, you stop and catch up or reminisce and time stands still for just a moment.

These areas are in a state of metamorphous. The once quiet, rural and agricultural regions are being transformed. Sonoma is becoming a lifestyle destination and Harford a busting suburb supporting military growth as a result of Base Realignment and Closure.  However, with change, they retain their history and quaint charm that make people want to call it home.

We’re lucky that we can work and live in both locations.  We can truly call both places on either cost HOME!