Russian River Country - California

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Coastal Getaway Country

The Russian River resort region offers a wide variety of accommodations, restaurants, parks and wineries. Coastal travelers should think about taking a side-trip along the Russian River, or plan to make the Russian River Valley a stop-over spot while you explore the coastal route.

This is an area of great natural beauty as the river winds through orchards and vineyards, and through forests of giant redwoods. Five villages, close to the coast, offer views of Russian River rusticity, along with distinctive and historic hotels.

Communities in the region include Guerneville -- the largest town -- with several smaller villages offering distinctive vacation opportunities.

What to See & Do

In 1886, Sam and Alex Duncan founded Duncans Mills after being flooded out of their sawmill site at Salt Point. The mill and post office were barged to the present site in 1886. Today, there's a general store, campground, several restaurants and the old post office. This spot on Moscow Rd. is handy for Sonoma Beach campers to pick up provisions or to go for a lunch or dinner.

Blue Heron Inn, a restaurant and bar in Duncans Mills, is a turn-of-the-century restored tavern. The redwood-finished dining room features fish, chicken, and vegetarian dishes and in the summer barbecued oysters are served in the garden on Sundays. Across the road is Cape Fear, a full-scale restaurant with an outside dining patio. A nearby wine and cheese shop features local wines with a Friday evening "happy hour." The Duncans Mills General Store carries a full stock of regional wines and supplies for picnickers, campers, and anglers.

In Cazadero, north off Hwy. 116, there's a general store with picnic supplies and Sonoma wines, as well as fishing supplies, gasoline and hardware.

Monte Rio is a larger community -- but still a village -- on the south bank of the Russian River. Drive along Highway 116 southwest of Guerneville, take the Bohemian Highway across the Russian River Bridge, and you're there. Monte Rio is definitely a summer resort town. It has a good selection of historic, rustic and modern accommodations in addition to good restaurants -- a good place to stay while exploring the Russian River wine country and the nearby coastal areas.

The redwood-studded Northwood Golf Course with a scenic layout along the river is located between Guerneville and Monte Rio on Hwy 116 and includes a restaurant, with patio dining overlooking the fairway, a bar, and a dance floor.

Due south of Monte Rio, the Bohemian Highway winds its scenic way to meet Highway 12 (Bodega Highway). It intersects several other backroads, including a major intersection is the village of Occidental.

Like their larger cousin Guerneville, Rio Nido and Monte Rio are close enough to the San Francisco Bay Area to attract a large number of day trippers and weekend holidayers, who come here to enjoy the riverside forest settings and the relaxed lifestyle of the quaint inns of the area. Rio Nido is on the north bank of the river, accessed by River Road. It is just east of Guerneville, close to river activities and near Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve.  

Where to Stay -- Hotel Guide

Reserve hotel rooms in the Guerneville area

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In Cazadero:

Cazanoma Lodge, at 1000 Kidd Rd. has overnight accommodations including continental breakfast and its restaurant is open for dinner.

In Occidental:

If you're partial to out-of-the-way overnight experiences, the Heart's Desire Inn offers B&B accommodations in a renovated 1867 Victorian home with private baths, antique furnishings and a country breakfast.

In Monte Rio:

One of the prime features of Monte Rio is an historic three-story inn, built in 1906, which served as "Holiday Inn" in the 1940s film. Now called the Village Inn, the hotel has basic rooms as well as one-bedroom suites in two buildings and a large lobby with a fireplace.

Rio Villa is a small quiet resort along the banks of the river in Monte Rio, with abundant gardens, lawns, and redwood groves. On fair-weather weekends, a buffet breakfast is served on the redwood patio and the patio, with its outdoor fireplace, is an inviting gathering place in the evening.

Huckleberry Springs is a country inn on 56 acres, a mile from the river. All the cottages and cabins have private baths, and there's a swimming pool and whirlpool here. This is a full-service operation with a restaurant. Complimentary breakfast is served to overnighters. Huckleberry Springs also has a modified American Plan with breakfast, dinner and lunch included in the fare.

In Rio Nido:

The resort hotel here is the Rio Inn, an intimate and moderately-priced resort in the redwoods. The inn has a swimming pool.

More Info:
Go to the Guerneville Page

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