Archive for November, 2008

Fall Color and Thanksgiving activities

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

Most people think of New England when they think of beautiful fall colors, but West Sonoma County has plenty of fall colors on display. Where in New England the colors change mostly on the trees, here it is the grape vines as well that turn lovely combinations of gold, orange, plum and brown.  Check out the article in the local paper by clicking  on this link

Some of our favorite fall drives:

  • River Road out to the coast at Jenner (you follow the Russian River) bucolic pictures of cows and sheep on the hills and peeks of the Russian River in between our glorious redwoods
  • Westside Road past wineries and vineyards in full fall color to lunch in Healdsburg
  • Bohemian Highway is a wonderful 10-mile drive through towering redwoods, gorgeous pastures, rocky ravines, and three charming towns Freestone, Occidental and Monte Rio.

Wineries having Open Houses Thanksgiving Weekend:

  • Paradise Ridge is offering wine for sale and holiday snacks.
  • Acorn Winery will have festive snacks and wine tasting.
  • Alexander Valley Wineries are seven wineries open after Thanksgiving for a Holiday Party. Visit Fieldstone, Hanna, Alexander Valley Vineyards, Johnson’s Alexander Valley, Sausal, White Oak, and Stryker Sonoma for award winning wines, discounts, and festive fare. Visit all wineries for a chance to win a gift basket. Fee: $5.00 per person, includes a glass
  • Kendall-Jackson Holiday Open House 
Holiday, Celebration: Reception, Wine Tasting and Hors d’oeuvres. Art show and sale. Taste limited release wines, tour the gardens, and shop for holiday gifts.
  • Thanksgiving Celebration at Pedroncelli
Holiday will have great wines, holiday cheer and snacks.
  • Dry Creek Vineyards’ Holiday Open House
Holiday Celebration has become a local favorite during the long holiday weekend as guests enjoy tasty tidbits paired with an outstanding array of single vineyard wines and live music.

We hope you will have a pleasant Thanksgiving wherever you are.

On the River and In the Woods for Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

On the Russian River and in a cottage high up in the redwoods, with views of nature through the treetops, can you think of a better way to create a new Thanksgiving holiday tradition? Think of lying in bed with a lovely fire burning in the your bedroom fireplace and out your window a view of trees.  After a leisurely breakfast on your private balcony, you spend the day foraging for your Thanksgiving menu from some of the best of the local suppliers. Farms, bakeries and artisans that supply what they grow to the best restaurants in Napa, Sonoma and San Francisco surround us. For example, there is Willie Bird Turkeys, a family-owned business who has been raising fresh free-range turkeys for more than 75 years. ( Gourmet bakeries, organic vegetables, artisan cheese and chocolate makers, organic meat and seafood suppliers and, of course, a number of fabulous wineries are all within driving distance. We will be happy to provide you with a list of how to create your own gourmet dinner by visiting local suppliers and sampling the wares.  Much rather spend the day, visiting a couple of wineries, taking a walk in the redwoods, and having an in-cottage massage? But want to enjoy the privacy of eating in your cottage and just cooking the turkey or tofurky? The local Safeway has a number of side-dishes already prepared from pumpkin soup to mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. For a higher-end option ZaZu restaurant & farm, the Zagat, Wine Spectator and Food Channel darlings, are just up the road ( On the gourmet side-dish menu this year are a number of choices including: bacon wrapped dates with harissa; maple and browned butter yams; quinoa and squash stuffing with pine nuts and currants or gingerbread stuffing with squash, apples, celery and shallots. For dessert, they are preparing pumpkin gelato pie with gingersnap crust and caramel sauce (they make all their own gelato in the Italian way) or Laura Chenel goat cheesecake with a brown sugar crust. Orders for their side-dishes must be in by November 19th! We will be happy to send you the whole list of what they are offering.   We also have a number of restaurants in the area, offering full Thanksgiving dinners with several different price points. Our favorite for creativity, fabulous fresh ingredients and ambiance is Mosaic Restaurant. Information on their menu and their reservation system is available at ( Another good option for Thanksgiving is Applewood Restaurant. Their menu this year includes: celery root soup with white truffle crema and cinnamon porcini; oven roasted turkey served with apple sausage stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, garnet yam sofrito, gravy and cranberry relish; and pumpkin crème brule with vanilla marshmallows and brown butter shortbread. They have other menu choices available as well. The price is $65.00 per person and beverages, tax and gratuity are additional. Reservations are available at 800.555.8509. The Village Inn Restaurant in Monte Rio is offering a menu for $53.00 per adult and $30 per child eleven and under plus tax and gratuity. Their menu includes a choice of three starters, four entrees and two desserts. Some of the menu choices are fresh roasted young turkey with a cornbread Italian sausage, nut, caramelized apples and onion stuffing, natural pan gravy and cranberry compote. All their entrees are served with Yukon gold mashed potatoes, maple chunk sweet potatoes, fresh green beans almandine and warm dinner rolls. Reservations are available at 800.303.2303.  Check back next week when we have information available on Christmas Tree Farms and wineries and other attractions open on Thanksgiving Day.