Monday, May 28, 2012

Weekend Getaway to Guerneville

Happy Tuesday! Did you enjoy the long weekend?  I went to Guerneville, California for the first time and totally fell in love!  I love all the places I've been in wine country but Guerneville was much more green and less stuffy than other areas I've been in Napa, Sonoma and Healdsburg.  The town is right alongside the Russian River and while bustling, it was not annoyingly crowded over the holiday weekend.  Getting there is a very straight forward hour and 35 minute drive north from San Francisco. The houses are casual and cabin-like and the area reminded me a bit of places I've been in New Hampshire or western Connecticut.  We rented a house I found on with 8 other friends and enjoyed relaxing by the river, hiking in the redwoods, grilling on our deck and even doing a little champagne tasting down the road at Korbel.  I would definitely recommend a weekend getaway in Guerneville as a more outdoorsy and less expensive alternative to the more famous parts of wine country.

Here are all the hot tips so you can plan your weekend getaway to the Russian River!

Where to Stay:
Russian River Getaways: We rented the Jade House from Russian River Getaways and had a great experience. While these are not "luxury" rentals the house was clean, well appointed and matched the description and pictures from the website exactly. We had all the kitchen supplies and linens we needed, a great hot tub, kayak and barbecue and the company includes the cleaning service for after you stay in your fee so you don't have to do much besides deal with the trash before leaving. They have a ton of houses of all different sizes on their website and I would definitely stay at the Jade house again.

What to Do:
Armstrong National Forest: This beautiful park is just a few miles drive from main street Guerneville and has plenty of hiking trails and picnic areas from which to admire the ginormous redwoods. Our group picked a trail and did a leisurely 2 hour hike from the parking lot.

Korbel Champagne Vineyard and Tasting Room:  On Saturday afternoon our group took a little field trip about 3 miles from our house to Korbel Champagne Cellars. The vineyard has some beautiful gardens that you can take a tour of but we skipped that and just did their complimentary tasting (4 champagnes included) and had sandwiches and bellinis outside at their gourmet deli.

Boating on the Russian River - Our rental house had direct access to the river but there are plenty of public "beaches" all along the river where you can lounge and swim. Many rental houses come with tubes and kayaks but you can also rent them in town or arrange a float where you are dropped off and picked up down river. My preferred boating activity this weekend was having Nic kayak and tow me from the tie rope while I lay in my comfy $14 inflatable raft :)

Pee Wee Golf and Arcade -- This place is right down the road from main street and is open to 10pm and costs $8 for 18 holes. When our friends stopped by during the day to ask about the hours the dude working there told them to feel free to bring cocktails.  So... we played mini golf at night with a cooler full of beers and music over the speakers, what could be better!!

Where to Eat:  This part of my getaway guide is a little thinner than normal because we mostly just BBQ'd at the house. Here are a couple places we tried and liked...

Big Bottom Market: Cute little fancy deli with creative and yummy salads, baked goods and coffee. This place was definitely a little more trendy than the rest of the town but the food was great and the space is cute.

Flavors Unlimited: We went here for fro-yo and ice cream. This is one of those magical places where you choose your flavor and toppings and then they put them in a giant machine and blend them together to make a new flavor. YUM!

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