Sebastopol ( /səbæstəpoʊl/) is a city in Sonoma County, California, United States, approximately 52 mi (80 km) north of San Francisco. The population was 7,379 at the 2010 census, but its businesses also serve surrounding rural portions of Sonoma County, totaling about 50,000 people. It is about a 20-minute drive from the Pacific Ocean, between Santa Rosa and Bodega Bay, and is known for its liberal politics and small-town charm. It was once primarily a plum and apple growing region; wine grapes, however, are now predominant, and nearly all lands once used for orchards are now vineyards. World-famous horticulturist Luther Burbank had gardens in this fertile region. The city hosts an annual Apple Blossom Festival and Gravenstein Apple Fair.
Sebastopol is also the home of publisher O'Reilly Media, which publishes books on open-source software and other topics, and international camera bag manufacturer Lowepro Inc. Primus lead singer/bassist Les Claypool, singer/songwriter Tom Waits, singer/songwriter Nick Gravenites, novelist Francine Rivers and actor Peter Krause currently reside in the area. Sebastopol is home to Analy High School, Laguna High School, Brook Haven Middle School, Gravenstein Elementary School, Hillcrest Middle School, Twin Hills Middle School, Pine Crest Elementary, Apple Blossom Elementary, along with many other private and charter schools.
The area's first known inhabitants were the native Coast Miwok and Pomo peoples. The town of Sebastopol formed in the 1850s with a U.S. Post Office and as a small trade center for the farmers of the surrounding agricultural region. As California's population swelled after the westward migration and the Gold rush of the 1850s, more and more settlers drifted into the fertile California valleys north of San Francisco to try their hand at farming.