In Sonoma County, there are great places to stay that are central to many of the activities—as well as rustic, luxurious inns where you’ll feel like you’re in your own little world away from home. Like these:
1. Farmhouse Inn (7871 River Road, Forestville, CA; 707-887-3300)
Waking up at the Farmhouse Inn in the finest rustic elegance, with a staff that pays attention to every detail, is just about as good as it gets: That’s the Farmhouse Inn experience.
Owners and siblings Catherine and Joe Bartolomei wanted to create an authentic wine country experience by combining their insider wine country knowledge (they own Lost & Found Winery) and relationships with warm, professional hospitality with their locally grown, simply prepared food, fine wine and farm-to-table spa and accommodations.
And that’s exactly what they’ve done…to perfection.
There are 25 breezy cottage-style rooms and suites. You’ll want to try the deluxe farmhouse rooms, as these are brand new and part of the recent $15 million dollar renovation. My boyfriend and I found our suite tucked away in the property’s wooden grove, which allowed a wonderful amount of privacy and tranquility. The room had rich hardwood floors with white elegant furnishings, a two-sided fireplace and a comfy feather bed. Our private deck was secluded, with views of mature trees and cozy with the fireplace and lounge chairs.
The Italian Carrara marble bathroom was like our own serene getaway with weathered-looking wood, stone and fabrics. It had a steam room in the shower, heated marble floors, aromatherapy local-made soaps and bath salts (which we picked out during check-in at the complimentary bath bar), and a soaking tub. From the tub’s private window you could see trees, our balcony and fireplace or pull the shades and enter your own bliss.
We did leave our room one night to roast marshmallows at the fire pits near the pool and hot tub. Of course, guests can go to the lobby for complimentary homemade marshmallows to roast along with chocolate and graham crackers!
If your room isn’t enough to wake up to, get ready for a three-course breakfast (yes, three courses for breakfast) dreamed up by the owner and breakfast chef, Trevor Anderson. Each breakfast starts with housemade pastry and fruit. We loved the hot scones and flaky sweet cream biscuits with their housemade Meyer lemon curd.
The second course is typically a vegetable (we loved the beets) or a small egg. We loved the simple things with a twist, like the crispy poached egg. How unique and oh so yummy! And yes, I’ll probably be talking about it for a while (actually my boyfriend talks about it even more than I do).
For the third course, we loved the eggs benedict. It was “Farmhouse-style,” with eggs fresh from the nearby Bartolomei farm, locally smoked ham and hollandaise. We also loved the banana bacon pancakes and the biscuits and gravy. Okay, we really loved it all. If you read my post on where to eat in Sonoma County, you understand I could talk about the food at the Farmhouse Restaurant for a long while.
The Farmhouse Inn experience even comes with the signature Farmhouse black cat named Charlotte. Don’t worry: If you aren’t a cat person, she senses that and stays away from you. However, her cute face followed us around the entire property on several occasions. I miss her and Farmhouse!
2. Flamingo Conference Resort & Spa (2777 4th St, Santa Rosa, CA; 707-545-8530)
Located in Santa Rosa with a central location close to everything you’d want to see in Sonoma County, the Flamingo is historic and classic. It was actually named a historic landmark in 1996 for its classic charm as a Hollywood hot spot in the 1950s. It also offers guests modern rooms with Wi-Fi, a health club and spa, and casual dining options.
The Las Vegas Flamingo inspired the resort’s glass-and-stone design. We loved the lobby’s tropical style with Charlie Brown statues. The owner purchased the Charlie Brown statues because his young daughter loved Charlie Brown. Around the property, try to spot the Giants Charlie Brown, Holiday Charlie Brown and Superman Charlie Brown.
Last spring the iconic resort underwent a $3 million dollar renovation to preserve its charm. Our suite was huge and comfortable with a large outdoor patio overlooking the pool. The resort’s reasonable rates make the suites and family rooms popular. The guest service staff was friendly and very accommodating.
In talking with some guests, I found that many adore this place so much that they return every year with their whole family. I can definitely see it as an amazing spot to bring the whole family. And since it’s in a great location, parents can easily escape for an adventurous day at the Russian River or romantic wine tastings at nearby vineyards.
Next on our Sonoma itinerary—on our next visit—is the Audi race track, more time near Kenwood visiting Jack London State Historic Park, more time in Healdsburg, dinner at Jordan overlooking the vineyard, and more local farms and wineries.
Also, Labor Day Weekend! If you don’t have plans yet, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend is taking place over Labor Day Weekend, Friday, September 4 through Sunday, September 6! I’m really sad I can’t make it this year because the event schedule looks so awesome! There will be wine tasting at the MacMurray estate with 200 wines plus pairings from 60 Sonoma chefs. (Check out my past articles here and here if you want to know about good chefs and wine to try.)
There’s even dancing under the stars at the Francis Ford Coppola estate and, of course, dinner and wine. The event will also hold a wine auction at Chateau St. Jean. This event is Sonoma County’s largest wine fundraising event and one of the top three charitable wine auctions across the U.S. To see the entire schedule of events or to buy tickets visit sonomawinecountryweekend.com.
Photo credit to Caitlin Martin/Spencer Marker.