What’s not to like about rolling hills, towering redwoods, and flowing wine? That’s right, absolutely nothing. Combine all of those things and you’ve got a glorious getaway along the Wine Road in California's Sonoma County.
View of the Russian River from the Rio Villa Beach Resort
I stayed in the Russian River Valley area of Sonoma County in a beautiful little town called Guerneville. Nestled amongst the redwoods, it’s an ideal spot for a quiet romantic getaway. With a small downtown easily reached on foot from many of the available accommodation options, you can explore the shops and have a biscuit and coffee at Big Bottom Market (and pick up a few bottles of wine for later).
If you’d like a bed & breakfast with stunning views of the Russian River – not to mention private access directly to the river – check out the Rio Villa Beach Resort in Monte Rio. Some of the rooms boast kitchenettes, which would be fabulous if traveling with kids. The chairs and swings out back are perfect for relaxing with a book, snoozing, or just taking the time to reconnect as a couple. How many of us could use some more of that?
If you’re in a slightly more rustic frame of mind, the Dawn Ranch Lodge in Guerneville has adorable cabins that back right into the redwoods. Some of the cabins featuring sunrooms that overlook the meadow – and the windows open nice and wide so you can breathe in the full effects of the fresh air and sunshine. Even if you don’t stay there, you should definitely have dinner one night at the Roadhouse Restaurant & Bar at Dawn Ranch. The food is fantastic. Another great thing about Sonoma County – they are proud of their locally-grown produce and they showcase it well in all of their food.
For the ultimate in romantic getaways, though, you can’t leave out Applewood Inn. They believe in romance so much that they are exclusively a couples-only resort. They only accept two people per room, and there are no pets or children allowed. The Inn has a small spa with a massage shower that I’m pretty sure has about a million water jets (give or take a few). If that isn’t enough, The Restaurant at Applewood Inn has been given a Michelin star for the second year in a row. Having sampled their breakfast, I can attest that the food is excellent. And when you stay the night, breakfast is included in the price. How about them apples?
The beautiful setting at Applewood Inn
But wait, you say, you’re talking about wine country. What about the wine? I’m glad you asked, because the winery choices are out of this world. Wine Road has well over 150 different wineries to choose from. They range from big-name wineries like Korbel to small, family-owned places like Moshin Vineyards. Some of my favorites include:
• Korbel (a lot of cool history here)
• Moshin Vineyards (try the pinot noir!)
• Sunce Winery (their white port is amazing – and you must play bocce ball, too!)
If you’re not sure where you want to go, Wine Road offers a concierge service for FREE. They’ll give you recommendations and help you plan an itinerary.
Big Bottom Market in Guerneville
Besides visiting vineyards, there are many other things to do in the area like bike tours, hiking the Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve, and swimming in the Russian River.
So if you’re looking for an affordable way to combine wine and romance, check out these hidden gems in northern Sonoma County. You’ll want to come back again and again. I’m eyeing November, during the annual Wine & Food Affair.
Becky Scott is a freelance writer, editor, blogger, and social media addict (follow her: @lolagoetz). She loves wine & food, good books, and getting away from it all once in a while. She lives in San Diego with her husband and two sons.
What's your favorite part of a trip to Sonoma: the wine, the scenery, the food or the romance? Let us know in the comments below!
A Note from Becky: This trip to Sonoma County was provided courtesy of Wine Road. All opinions, though, were from the experiences of the writer.
All photos by Becky Scott.