Now that Coronavirus is finally coming under control, travel is a viable option again. For those who still feel a bit of trepidation regarding planes, California offers so many fantastic and drivable options to indulge in beauty, relaxation, and debauchery. A mere 7 to 8 hours north of Los Angeles lies one of the world’s most stunning counties, Sonoma, with a plethora of places to visit and things to do (sonomacounty.com).
As if the siren call that is Sonoma County did not sound loudly enough, what with the area’s natural beauty and abundant vineyards, cannabis tourism is becoming a widely accepted and promoted option, giving wine tasting a run for its money in the recreation department. After a year of anxiety and constraint, everyone deserves a little R&R. If you travel during the week, there are often discounts, and fewer travelers to worry about.
Mine + Farm, in Guerneville, a very modern take on the B&B, capitalizes on the surrounding natural beauty and the latest trends in hospitality with a plethora of options for guests who want to revel in a new experience, or just chill out for a couple of days.
The hundred-year-old farmhouse has been gorgeously renovated over the last year. Owners Suzanne Szostak + Bryce Skolfield removed all the fusty sconces and doilies one might associate with a traditional bed and breakfast, and added in Swedish and Japanese modernist chic. The result is warm, welcoming and authentically cool.
An additional pleasure of a stay at Mine + Farm is the included morning meal. Szostak and Skolfield throw out the more traditional muffin basket, instead choosing fresh, local ingredients and creating dishes that fill you up without weighing you down. As Szostak put it, “you can still go for a hike after eating.” Offerings like an egg and bacon sandwich with micro greens or almond butter chia pudding come alongside fresh juices, like carrot-orange-ginger.
The attention to detail at the inn, from complimentary drinks, to device charging stations in the rooms, to extra toiletries, makes for a cosseted, indulgent vacation. You can also bring your dog.
The Mine + Farm property extends over two and a half acres and borders the historic Korbel Vineyards. At the moment Korbel is closed to tour, but you can book a wine tasting. At ten bucks, the tasting is surprisingly affordable, and discounts are given to guests of the inn if you want to purchase a few bottles, like Brut Champagne - a terrific brunch accompaniment.
Another nearby vineyard worth visiting is Equality Vines. Wine sellers with a purpose, the purveyors of Equality, Matt Grove and Jim Obergefell, donate a portion of every bottle sold to an organization dedicated to civil rights for all. The tasting room, in downtown Guerneville, has outdoor seating and welcomes walk-ins. Wines for sale include Rosé the Riveter and Love Wins, serving as gentle reminders for tolerance, and they make great gifts.
While you’re strolling downtown, there are quite a few places worth visiting. If you’re hungry, try Boon Eat + Drink. Chef Crista Luedtke’s flash-fried Brussels sprouts are the best I’ve ever had - they have even been known to convert non-believers (you know who you are!). Another great find is Chile Pies Baking Co. Flavors change by the hour and include brown butter apple and Mexican chocolate pecan.
Of course, the river must be Guerneville’s main draw. Swim, kayak, paddle, or just laze around on an inner tube at Johnson’s Beach. Let yourself be dazzled be the natural beauty of your surroundings, and maybe, just maybe, you can forget last year ever happened.