Guerneville is one of my favorite escapes from the city... redwoods, ocean, great food inc. BBQ - what else does a girl need??
Welcome to a little treasure of the Russian River Valley. Housed in a retired railway station (complete with a railway crossing sign outside), Howard Station serves a generous menu of down-home favorites. I'm especially partial to their breakfasts, particularly the hearty corned beef hash with an unusual hint of rosemary, and the Serious Sausage with its spicy Italian sausage patty smothered with grilled onions, peppers and mushrooms. And of course I'm a sucker for the heart-shaped biscuits. Health nuts swear by the fresh juices, one dose of which can keep you hiking through the redwoods all day -- try "Joe's Secret," a blend of carrots, celery, garlic, and spinach topped off with a splash of hot sauce. The less health-inclined might prefer the old-fashioned milkshakes and fancy coffees. Howard Station has a buzzy community atmosphere and friendly service; the last time I was there our waitress had freesias in her hair and chuckled when I admitted defeat by my huge mountain of corned beef hash. This place also serves as a bit of a crossroads for the whole of Sonoma County; the pushpins in the "Where's Home?" maps near the restrooms reveal that Howard Station has had visitors from all over the world. So please come, be ready for fun, but remember your cash - Howard Station is cash-only!
One of my favorite instant escapes in the Russian River Valley. The moment I step into this beautiful grove of ancient redwoods, my breathing slows down and I start to relax. Armstrong Woods provides a home to some of the most interesting trees in the area, including the super-tall Parson Jones tree (at 310 feet, this tree is taller than the length of a football field) and the super-old Colonel Armstrong Tree (its estimated age is 1400 years!). The best thing about the Armstrong Redwoods Reserve is that you can enjoy it no matter how much energy you have -- if you are tired, stroll along an easy 1-mile loop among the most famous trees, but if you are full of vim, you can tackle any number of tougher trails or bike routes. The Armstrong Woods also offers an unusual Discovery Trail, which is wheelchair-accessible and has signs printed in Braille.
First, get a car. Then, drive yourself to the junction of the Bohemian Highway and Coleman Valley Road in Occidental, California. Get ready for one of the drives of your life as you drive straight uphill on Coleman Valley Road. This picturesque road winds its way along a gorgeous ridge, gradually revealing more and more of the Pacific Ocean. Dramatic hills, secluded lakes, beautiful twisty trees, redwoods, and then the ocean… this drive has it all. You wind up right at Coleman Beach north of Bodega Bay, which is a decent place for a stroll, or you can explore any number of other great spots nearby, such as the very walkable Portuguese Beach or Goat Rock with its stupendous view.
You have to love a place called Mom's that has an actual mom involved in the business. At Mom's Apple Pie in Sebastopol, "Mom" is Betty Carr, who has been making and selling pies on these premises since 1984. Now her shop offers sixteen flavors, including apricot, strawberry/rhubarb, and banana cream, along with a variety of basic lunch options. If I were you, I'd keep it simple and go for the apple pie, which is made with local Gravenstein apples when they're in season -- sometimes these come directly from Mom's own orchard next door! You can have your pie boxed up if you want to have a little picnic at any of the nearby beaches in Bodega Bay, but when the orchard is in bloom it's very nice to stop right here and eat the pie on Mom's comfortable patio - just be sure to sit so that you're facing the trees rather than the highway :)
You're driving north up Highway 1 from Bodega Bay. All the brown and yellow signs designating the different parts of Sonoma County State Beach can start to blur together… where should you stop? Is Goat Rock prettier than Shell Beach? What about Schoolhouse Beach versus Portuguese Beach? Is it all too much and you should just keep driving? Do yourself a favor - relax and pull in at the sign that says "Duncans Landing." There's not much to see from the road, but don't be deceived. You can't really miss at any of the beaches nearby, but Duncans Landing offers unique opportunities for fun, such as the chance to peer over a set of rocky cliffs at the surging Pacific surf, or the option to tiptoe down steep trails surrounded by ice plants to the gorgeous Wright's Beach just to the north or Duncans Cove just to the south. Duncans Landing is also a prime spot for bird-watching. Please do be careful with the waves around here - the warning signs you'll see posted are no exaggeration - rogue waves have apparently been known to come up as far as the parking areas on Emry Road and wash people away! But keep your wits about you and you should be fine. Assuming that the tide is out, go ahead and treat yourself to a picnic at one of the two tables located at the very tippy-tip of Duncans Point, some distance back from the rocky cliffs (you'll see the tables as you make the small loop on foot or by bike or car around Emry Road). This is an exceptionally beautiful spot along an wonderful stretch of coastline, and it's a great place to pause and ponder the power of the Pacific (phew!).
Something tells me I've only scratched the surface of the fun I'm going to have at Boon. I've only been once so far, and just for lunch, but that was enough to try the absolutely KILLER delicious Boon Burger. You know the drill - grass-fed beef, local Fiscalini white cheddar, local arugula, pickled onions etc. etc. - but it really does work. And call me an idiot but I'm a sucker for the house-made ketchup - it's chunky! Spring for the truffle fries and a Racer 5 beer and you will be feeling NO pain on your stroll through the nearby Armstrong Woods State National Reserve.
Wow, do I love this place. The Garden Grill is definitely worth the short drive from Guerneville or even the long drive to Guerneville if you love barbecue. My favorite thing on the menu is the BBQ tri-tip sandwich, but the pork ribs are quite tasty too. If you are there for breakfast, the house specialty is the crabcake Benedict… I could eat this every morning. It's fun to eat outside on the pretty patio, where a clever assortment of plants and rocks have been gathered into a lovely small garden at the foot of a giant redwood. The servers are exceptionally friendly -- on my most recent visit, I left with an assortment of Sonoma County magazines and guidebooks that my waitress had thoughtfully given me.
The more I write for jov.io, the more fun I want to have...
New place added by Timz over 1 year ago
New place added by JeskaD over 1 year ago