Looking for a quiet escape from the Wine Country crowds this summer? While Sonoma County’s Healdsburg and Sonoma lures bachelorettes, honeymooners, and romance seekers, those on the prowl to getaway from the masses and experience the lure of the slow pace of Wine Country should opt for a weekend in Forestville.
Check into one of the most luxe inns in all of California: Farmhouse Inn. Siblings Catherine and Joe Bartolomei renovated an old barn, a community of cottages and then constructed a new mod barn, filling it with luxurious amenities and curiously selected antiques. Each room boasts its enchanting commitment to relaxation, from the poems stenciled upon the walls to the soaking tubs that fill from the ceiling, from the private patios with gas fireplaces to the s’mores delivered to your room in the evening. Most promise radiant heated floors, luxe bedding, locally crafted bath salts, plus sweets, vino and treats in the office. The gardens are some of the most enchanting in all of Wine Country, cluttered with edible plants, chickens, farm cats, and perennials surrounding a community pool and a fire pit. While the price is steep, I often find deals online. And an amazing breakfast is included in the price.
The inn features an award-winning dining room in the renovated farmhouse. The restaurant has perfected their version of steak and their famed Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit in ways that will have you wishing they also provided cooking classes. After a chocolatey dessert, head out to the fire pit to sip vino under the stars.
In the morning, enjoy the inn’s country breakfast on the patio, lingering over coffee, pastries and the newspaper. Then motor along River Road to Guerneville’s Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve. While this park has been in the lineup to close for ages, you can still become dwarfed by redwoods. So go while you have the chance. This amazing park provides a very easy trail through California’s epic giant trees, including one bigger than a football field!
Before heading out of Guerneville, a quirky vacation community, pick up gourmet picnic fare at [big bottom market] in Guerneville. This new marketplace features local produce, yummy picnic treats like olives and cheese, as well as sandwiches and bottles of wine.
Trek back along the Russian River to Burke’s Canoe Trips. Hire canoes, life vests and paddles to meander from Forestville to Guerneville, stopping to picnic at one of the quiet beach areas. This 10 mile paddle is fairly easy and the return shuttle is included in the price.
On the way back to the inn, sample vino along Westside Road. Hop Kiln Winery is a California landmark and wine destination, famous for white wines. Thomas George Estates has tastings in the caves, a bocce ball court and a fine picnic area to savor a bottle of Pinot Noir. Moshin Vineyards showcases some of the most green technology out there while also churning out great reds.
Make a reservation for dinner at Farmhouse Inn, or head into Forestville’s blink-and-you-miss-it commercial area for dinner at Backyard (a hyperlocal eatery), or Canneti Roadhouse for housemade pastas sure to delight. And then return to the inn to relax by the fire pit, chatting to other visitors from around the world, or retreating to your private patio.
In the morning, soak up the sun in your inn’s gardens before motoring out to explore some of Sonoma County’s more visited destinations.