Vineyards, redwoods, a spa, and more delights on this Wine Country outing
THE ROUTE: California’s West Sonoma County: Sebastopol > Valley Ford > Freestone > Occidental > Guerneville (25 miles).
WHY GO: This low-mileage (just 25) route curves through vineyards, redwood groves, and tiny towns, leaving plenty of time to stop for crisp local Chardonnay, a Japanese-style spa, a float on the river, and first-rate dining.
WHO IT’S FOR: Women who need some serious quality time with friends.
WHERE TO STAY: At Guerneville’s Boon Hotel + Spa, simple modern rooms line the pool and hot tub, and bikes to pedal to the Armstrong Redwoods are complimentary. From $180;
Iron Horse Vineyards. A perfect kickoff? How about flutes of bubbly at this idyllic vineyard outside Sebastopol known for its sparkling wines. Tasting fee from $15;
Rocker Oysterfeller’s. The Valley Ford Hotel is just far enough from the coast to duck the thick August fog, and its saloon serves oysters on the half-shell pulled from nearby Tomales Bay. $$$;
Osmosis. Relax in a fragrant cedar enzyme bath at this Freestone spa, or get a rubdown and stroll the meditation garden.
Wild Flour Bread. Across the street from Osmosis, the back garden at Wild Flour is just the place to enjoy whipping cream scones and cheese fougasse.
Sonoma Canopy Tours. After popping into the boutiques and galleries in tiny Occidental, wind north along the Bohemian Highway. A zipline tour through the treetops will take the energy up a notch. From $89;
Burke’s Canoe Trips. A 10-mile float on the Russian River offers chances to jump in to cool off and to sun on sandbars. Kayak $40, canoe $65;
BEST ROAD FOOD: Sea biscuits at Guerneville’s Big Bottom Market. Cheddar-thyme biscuits stuffed with smoked river salmon, crème fraîche, and capers. $; biscuits Sat–Sun only;
LOCAL LINGO: Just call Guerneville “Stumptown.”
DETOUR: Right over the Russian River Bridge. The 1948 Pee Wee Golf scores with wonderfully peculiar sculptures and characters. 707/869-9321.