A good realtor here is going to be able to help you with that process. Probably the most important criteria for you to define is the vision of what you want, and some price parameters. We have such a wonderful range of locations and homes, from country properties and estates to charming, walk to the plaza type homes that you have a broad range of options.
I don't know of a mini-Curbed for our area (I think Trulia is trying to provide some of that.), but I have been blogging on Sonoma County real estate since 2007 at the address below, so there you will find real estate stats, some lifestyle features and various buyer's guides. Plus a map-based home search that is pretty intuitive. With new buyer clients, I also offer a visualization exercise to further sharpen the wants/needs list. You can find my contact info there if and when you would like to talk, Good luck with tyour search.
PS I have just come across a book called Shift and Shout, written by a Berkeley couple who document their journey from the Bay Area to a new life in Sonoma County. I will be reviewing it shortly but you might check it out. It could provide some of what you are looking for!