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FARMHOUSE INN CONCIERGE REVIEW: NAPA'S THE RESTAURANT AT MEADOWOOD

  
  
  
Meadowood Dining Room

 

You might not know (but perhaps suspect) the Farmhouse Inn Concierges get pretty spoiled living (and working) in Sonoma County. We dine at fabulous restaurants, get to try amazing wines, live in a heavenly location...we have to try everything before we can recommend it to our guests. Sometimes we have a dining experience that has us walking away happy, smiling, excited and ready to do it all over again. The first thing we want to do after an experience like that is share it with our Farmhouse Fans.

 

 

 

Last week three of the Farmhouse Concierge team members headed over the hill (in Sonoma -speak that means Napa Valley) to St. Helena’s Meadowood resort. In addition to fine accommodations, spa, golfing, tennis and many other wonderful amenities, Meadowood is also home to a 3-Michelin star restaurant. The Restaurant at Meadowood experience, from your arrival to the food to the decor, are all in such perfect harmony that its hard to find a reason not to love it. For a sneak peek at what you can expect on your visit to The Restaurant; keep reading.



When you enter the Meadowood property you’re pulling into a wine country oasis. Tucked back into the hills on the eastern side of the Napa Valley, guests wind down an olive tree-lined lane to enter this little slice of paradise. While the outside of The Restaurant is unassuming and blends into the surrounding landscape, the inside is an incredible enclave of modern wine country design. A recent remodel of the building enclosed the space that is now being used as a lounge. The lounge offers very comfortable low chair and couch seating next to 2 beautiful fireplaces. The sunken chairs, reclaimed wood coffee tables and fireplaces all create a warm and inviting atmosphere. The lounge is used for the snack menu only- you’ll need to reserve a table in the main dining room in order to enjoy their tasting menu. Unbeknownst to many is that in addition to their tasting menu ($225 per person) The Restaurant at Meadowood also offers a snacks menu ($20 per person). In the lounge guests are also welcome to enjoy any of the wines on their extensive list or one of their signature cocktails created by The Restaurant’s Bar Manager, Sam Levy.


The snack menu is what we had signed up for, however when we say the word “menu” we’re not using it in the traditional sense. Meadowood does not post, publish or print a menu. All dishes are delivered to you by one of their knowledgeable team members and you’re given a verbal explanation of each dish. The snack menu is not your typical fried mozzarella and onion rings- this menu is sophisticated and a play on the tasting menu. Its hard not to take photos of everything that comes out as the presentation of each dish is unique and incredibly well done.

On the evening we dined we were treated to many dishes, but as happens in any meal there were a few standouts. The first course we were presented with was a dehydrated black olive with a black olive infused merengue. This first course was light, delicate and oh, so delicious.


As the menu progresses, so do the flavors and intensity. The second standout of the evening, and our favorite of the night, was a smoked eel wrapped in beef tongue. We’re not sure if we have the adequate words to describe how good this dish was. Salty, fatty, the perfect texture- heaven. We tried getting another round of the eel (and by tried we mean we begged) but the intricate preparation of the dish and limited quantities made all of our pleading and sad eyes for naught.

The final standout was a fantastic preparation of sliced duck pastrami served with compressed kohlrabi, a beautiful mustard and the most delicious gluten-free bread we’ve ever had. Each dish seems to almost have its own personality, and all seem to go extremely well with Sam Levy’s cocktail creations.


You’ll find Sam and all of the other team members at The Restaurant six days each week (they do drop to 5 days during the slower time of the year). The outstanding service provided by each individual comes as no surprise considering the recent recognition The Restaurant received from the James Beard Foundation for Outstanding Service. While some might be expecting an air of hauteur from the staff considering the 3 Michelin stars they have, you will be pleasantly surprised by the absolute warmth and graciousness of the entire staff. Everyone, from the valet to the chefs in the kitchen, are all kind, engaging and never seem too busy to stop and chat. While the atmosphere, food and drinks are all stellar they are infinitely enhanced by the level of service provided at The Restaurant.


We can’t wait to go back soon, but in the meantime we’ll live on the memories and photos. Reservations for the dining room at The Restaurant are required. No reservations are needed for the snack menu. Meadowood is now offering a 3 course menu at their bar for $90 per person and they do recommend reservations for that option.

For more recommendations, recent and upcoming events and to stay in touch be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. To see more photos from our recent visit to The Restaurant at Meadowood be sure to keep an eye on our new Instagram page. To contact a Concierge for information on dining and other recommendations email innkeep@farmhouseinn.com.









SONOMA SUMMER: MUSIC, RIVER, FOOD, WINE, FESTIVALS...

  
  
  
Wine Country Summer


Summer in Sonoma is all about lazy days on the Russian River, music events all around the county,  festivals and more fun.   Sonoma has a lot to do year-round but we especially love the summer months. If you’re planning on visiting soon or are taking notes for next year, be sure to check out our guide to summer living in wine country: outdoor activities, local happenings and events, and farmers markets. We couldn't include everything here, so if you're curious about something we don't mention be sure to email us  at innkeep@farmhouseinn.com or via Facebook.



Summer in Sonoma County is fun- it's hard to fit it all in. Between the Sonoma Coast, the Russian River, our local parks, and Lake Sonoma we’re blessed with an abundance of outdoor activity options. Out on the Sonoma Coast we have Bodega Bay- an excellent spot to spend the day at the beach; be sure to grab a crab sandwich or some of the great clam chowder. Schoolhouse Beach in Bodega is one of our favorites but be sure to get there early- on really hot days locals flock to the beach (and our natural air conditioning) and parking can be an issue. Closer to the Farmhouse Inn and with a variety of activity options is the Russian River. You can kayak, paddle board, tube or just float down the river. Healdsburg and their Memorial Beach is a perfect choice for a river swim (they have the river dammed for swimming). We recommend contacting River’s Edge for your river activities or if you just want to park it than we suggest heading out to Sunset Beach in Guerneville. Another perk to living in Sonoma County are all the wonderful Regional and State parks. Between Goat Rock Beach in Jenner and Annadelle in Santa Rosa, Sonoma has some of the best hiking and mountain biking in the Bay Area. If you’re more of a walker give Riverfront Regional Park a try- just a five minute drive from the Farmhouse Inn. If boating is more your speed then head up to Lake Sonoma in Healdsburg. The lake is at the top of the Dry Creek Valley and a great spot to spend the day. You can rent patio boats for the day, as well as jet skis. We love the patio boats-  bring a picnic lunch with you and enjoy a day relaxing on the water.



Many of our guests are visiting Sonoma for our amazing wine and food but sometimes  need suggestions for evening activities. Summer hours and the extra daylight provide us with great options June through September.  A very popular evening activity during the summer months in Sonoma County is attending one of our many outdoor music concerts. They take place almost every day of the week but the big ones are in Healdsburg, Sonoma, Santa Rosa, and Windsor. Every week there are new acts, mostly local Sonoma County and Bay Area musicians, and the accompanying food trucks make it a must-do if you’ll be visiting the area. We’re most excited about the upcoming Kay Marie show on June 10th in Healdsburg- check out some of her music by clicking here. Tied to many of the evening concerts are Farmer’s Markets. The summer in wine country is prime farmer’s market season- you can stroll through one on  Saturday morning in Healdsburg and find everything from local breads and cheeses to artichokes and peaches and even local meats. If you’re interested in enjoying the finished product at night than you have the best options to choose from, and during summer you have the added bonus of being able to dine al fresco. Our favorite outdoor dining options are Bravas Tapas and Barndiva in Healdsburg, SolBar in Calistoga, Corks in Forestville and Zazu or Woodfour at the Barlow in Sebastopol.




Every summer we have multitudes of events that range from wine and cheese festivals to summer concerts to balloon festivals. It all kicks off with BottleRock in Napa Valley this weekend- 3 days, 60 bands, numerous wineries and other vendors, it is a festival packed with things to do. The headliners at this year’s festival are Outkast. If you’re looking for something a little more relaxing check out the Russian River Jazz and Blues Festival in Guerneville. Past performers have included Bozz Skaggs and B.B. King. This year’s lineup promises to deliver as well with Gary Clark Jr. headlining. The two day event includes a wine garden along with gourmet food vendors and other artisans. Just hang out on the beach; you will see the locals paddling their boats/canoes down to catch some tunes.









FARMHOUSE INN CONCIERGE: SONOMA SUMMER WINE PICKS

  
  
  
Summer in Sonoma

Locals living in the Sonoma and Napa Valleys associate spring time with the release of the newest vintages of white and rose wines. It is the time of year when we start making our summer plans and stocking our refrigerators for the coming months of picnicking near the Russian River and music on the square in Healdsburg. These delightful new releases always seem to perk us up out of our “winter” stupor. Whether your favorite is a Chardonnay or a Rose of Pinot Noir, we’ll go through the range of some of our favorites being released just in time for summer.


Let's start on the lighter end of the white wines,  with the Sauvignon Blancs from the area that we can’t resist. For Sauvignon Blanc we recommend you head up to Dry Creek Valley where the warmer climate, limited daytime coastal influence and combination of gravelly and sandy loam soils make it ideal for Sauvignon Blanc. Our favorites come from Preston and Quivira. Preston’s Sauvignon Blanc has the classic citrus qualities of grapefruit and lime with touches of green apple. Perfect with summer vegetables and of course a selection of your favorite cheeses! Quivira’s Sauvignon Blanc comes from their well-known Fig Tree Vineyard on their estate. Quivira’s Sauvignon Blanc tends to exude more of the tropical notes like pineapple and passion fruit. Always high in acid, the Quivira is a perfect match with veal piccata or a tangy chevre. Be sure to inquire about other white wines available at both Preston and Quivira- the Madame Preston and Sauvignon Blanc-Viognier blend from Quivira are also at the top of our list.


If you like a little more body on your white wines than consider this next category of unique whites. We’ll start with RYME Cellar’s Vermentino. RYME is a small artisan brand from former Farmhouse Inn Sommelier Megan Glaab and her husband Ryan. Ryan and Megan have varying opinions on what Vermentino should taste like so they decided to a His and a Hers. Don’t tell Ryan, but the Concierge team all votes for the Hers. Classic Vermentino tends to have a stony, saline minerality and both versions at RYME exude this. Vermentino can sometimes take on an orange hue (depending on skin-contact during fermentation) and therefore contains tannins making it more robust on the spectrum of white wines. We recommend most seafood dishes and the occasional pesto with your next glass. Another unique white wine coming out of the Russian River Valley is Wind Gap’s Trousseau Gris. With intense mineral aromas (think wet rocks) and pineapple, the Trousseau Gris is zesty and lively on the palate. This wine is one of our favorites with fresh oysters on the half shell. Both the RYME Vermentinos and Wind Gap Trousseau have large followings and quickly sell out every year, so be sure to place your order soon.


On to the king of white wines, Chardonnay.  Bold, full bodied, round, lush and unapologetically barrel-aged, California’s classic Chardonnays continue to be as popular today as they were 30 years ago. While some wineries are experimenting with non-barrel aging techniques, the predominant style still exudes aromas and flavors of butter, popcorn, vanilla, toast and baking spices. Of the Chardonnays that fall in this category we have 2 front runners: Gary Farrell’s Russian River Select and Red Car’s Sonoma Coast. Both wineries have tasting rooms in the Russian River Valley but purchase all their fruit from local growers- this allows them to select the best of the best each vintage. We’re huge fans of Evan Goldstein’s “Perfect Pairings” and his latest “Daring Pairings”. Both books provide pairing guidelines as well as fantastic recipes. We highly suggest referencing one of these books the time you open your favorite California Chardonnay.


To round up our spring list we’re finishing with what might be our favorite category, Rose. Pink, slightly effervescent and smelling of summertime, what’s not to like? Our go-to both in the Farmhouse Inn Restaurant and by the pool is County Line’s Rose of Pinot Noir. County Line is the second label of Radio Coteauowner/winemaker Eric Sussman. The County Line Rose is consistently one of our favorites every year- smelling of watermelon and strawberries, the Rose is extremely quaffable and affordable. No need to hesitate on opening this wine- the $20 price makes it a wine to be enjoyed whenever, wherever. We drink it with everything but if you’d like a little more sophisticated recommendation try it with a scallop sashimi or the perfect naked oyster. Last but not least is Farmhouse Winery Partner Inman Family’s Rose- beautiful, pale, delicate pink and crisp and refreshing, it is without a doubt a standout among the pink wines. With more structure, higher acids and supreme balance, this Rose makes us want to throw a summer dinner party in the vineyards right now. If you want to get fancy on your brunch guests try pairing this Rose with a scrambled egg and smoked salmon or a Quiche Lorraine.


We hope this Concierge Guide to Spring Releases was helpful and that you visit a few of the wineries mentioned on this list during your next vacation to wine country. If you won’t be visiting soon be sure to look for them in your local wine shop or on the wine list at your favorite restaurants. For more winery recommendations, itinerary suggestions and information on the area be sure to email your concierge soon. For more information on the latest happenings at Farmhouse be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.






NAPA AND SONOMA RESTAURANTS: FARMHOUSE INN FAVORITES

  
  
  
Dining in Wine Country


The number one question our concierges receive is how far the Farmhouse Inn is from San Francisco Airport (about 1.5 to 2 hours in case you’re wondering). The second most asked question is “Where is the best restaurant?” That depends but a good place to start is by asking the Farmhouse concierge team where we go when we are hungry. Keep in mind that Wine Country is one of the best places to go if you’d like to indulge your culinary curiosity. With multiple Michelin-starred restaurants, 2 of which have 3 stars, Napa and Sonoma County are packed with dining choices for all palates and budgets. With so many choices it can be a little overwhelming so we decided to distill it down to where our concierges go most often. We’ll break it into 3 categories- best local hidden gems, best special occasion restaurants and bucket list eateries. Just be sure you check with the concierge before booking- there are some strong but varied opinions when it comes to the best restaurants.

 

Local favorite spots are often the hardest to find when traveling because quite frankly, the locals hesitate to share their neighborhood gems with visitors.

These favorite local spots are often the best, so its a good idea to ask your concierge or any local where they’d go for dinner. At the top of the list is Willi’s Wine Bar. Willi’s is located in an old roadhouse across the street from soccer and baseball fields- you’d never find it unless you knew it was there. Willi’s menu focuses on tapas (small plates)and has an international influence. Their back patio is a favorite hangout for Sonoma locals during the summer and their wine flights are excellent. Best part- they have a large bar seating section and they offer the full menu there.

Another local spot is hard to find also due to its almost hidden entrance. SCOPA is an Italian eatery in Healdsburg and the only way to find it for the first time is to look for the large Barbershop sign painted above the entrance. With very few tables, a small bar and its mass popularity with locals it is often difficult to acquire a reservation. SCOPA’s menu is packed with such delicious offerings that you’re sure to walk away wanting to come back the next night. If you booked your vacation at the last minute and SCOPA is full we recommend trying their sister restaurant Campo Fina.

 


Farmhouse Inn to the Mendocino Coast: A Weekend Getaway

  
  
  
Lazy Creek Winery

 

Just an hour and a half north of the Farmhouse Inn lies the truly wonderful Mendocino County. Known for its stunning rustic coastline and cooler climate, Mendocino County is a must-see for those visiting Northern California. From Boonville and Philo out to Little River and Mendocino, the area offers everything a traveler could want: great wine and food, amazing views and scenery, picture perfect hiking conditions in the redwoods, and most importantly great people. Whether you’re planning a visit there soon or have considered adding it to your bucket list, we’ve outlined a perfect weekend in Mendocino for you. We assume you are adding Farmhouse Inn onto the beginning or end of your trip; we’ll begin this trip from Farmhouse Inn and head north. 


As you leave the Farmhouse Inn you’ll head up to Cloverdale to connect with Highway 128. This is one of the prettiest drives in all of Northern California but be prepared for some twists and turns as you leave Sonoma County for Mendocino County. Once you’ve cleared the biggest stretch of driving, about an hour, you’ll arrive in Boonville. With plenty of markets and cafes you’ll have a range of locations to choose from- our favorite is Mosswood Market. There are also several tasting rooms in downtown Boonville, so be sure to check out at least one of those. After grabbing a bite to eat it is time to move on and begin the serious wine tasting.



Continue to head north on Highway 128 out of Boonville towards Philo. From well-known brands like Roederer and Scharffenberger to smaller unknowns like Breggo and Toulouse, Anderson Valley has a lot to offer. Due to the cooler climate of the Anderson Valley many of the wineries specialize in Pinot Noirs and cool climate white wines such as Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris. If we had our choice the first day visits would include a stop at Roederer for some bubbles, a drop in at Toulouse for for their Pinot Gris and Muscat, and  cap off the day with a visit to Lazy Creek for their Pinot Noir and Gewurztraminer. Most of the wineries in Anderson Valley are open to visitors every day without an appointment, but be sure to check ahead of time. Another item for the research list should be availability of their wines- due to their small size many of these wineries sell out quickly.


Full up on your new favorite wines it is onto the coast. You’ll take Highway 128 through Philo, past the redwoods and out to Highway 1.  Turn right to head north and onto the town of Mendocino. Without a doubt our favorite overnight spot in all of Mendocino County is the Brewery Gulch Inn. The rooms face the town of Mendocino and its coast and are well appointed. In addition to a truly wonderful breakfast (included in the room rate) you’ll also enjoy their evening wine hour with snacks. Snacks may be understating what they offer- it is a buffet and enough food for most people to go without a dinner reservation somewhere else.  After your stay in one of Inn’s cozy rooms (we recommend the Meadowood Suite if its available) head to downtown Mendocino to explore the town’s galleries and shops. We also recommend heading down to the beach for some hiking. It can be particularly cold on the coast so be sure to bring your layers. Once you’re refreshed from the ocean air its time to hop back in the car.


As you wind back down Highway 1 and Highway 128 we recommend stopping at the truly must-see Navarro Vineyards in Philo. Navarro is an Anderson Valley classic and their wide range of wines and reasonable prices make them a very popular stop for natives and visitors. Their friendly staff is helpful and fun. They sell picnic items so buy your favorite bottle from the list, some lunch items and heading out to a picnic table. Just a bit further down Highway 128 is Goldeneye- a Duckhorn Winery sister property. Goldeneye offers its visitors a seated outdoor tasting with a lovely cheese plate.
 For your last night in Mendocino County we recommend the Boonville Hotel. Recently remodeled the cute cabins are simple but reflect Mendocino’s style. And if you’re staying at the BH then you can’t miss out on their new Table 128 restaurant. Its a new pre-fixe menu every night, which they post online ahead of time. And if you’re there on a Sunday afternoon you can join the Oyster Bar for freshly shucked Tomales Bay oysters.


Have you booked your flight yet? We hope the Farmhouse Inn is a part of your future Northern California visit and that you also take the time to consider a day or two just north of us. All properties, stops and wineries mentioned can be booked directly or with the assistance of a Farmhouse Concierge. Be sure to continue to check our blog, Facebook page and website for information on new packages, vacation inspiration and the latest news from wine country.








WINE COUNTRY TO BIG SUR: A CALIFORNIA ROAD TRIP

  
  
  
California coast, Jenner

With summer quickly approaching many people are making their vacation plans. Whether you’re living in California now or plan on visiting, a road trip up or down California’s coastline should be on your bucket list. We recommend you take a week to explore everything from Northern California’s wine country to Big Sur’s Post Ranch Inn and all the little gems in between. We’ve put together our dream California coast road trip to share and hopefully inspire you to do your own. We’ll begin at the top and work our way down with some trip highlights.


Start in Sonoma County- many people don’t realize this but Sonoma has its own regional airport with direct flights to/from San Diego, LAX, Portland and Seattle. 

Once you’ve arrived head over to the Farmhouse Inn to check in for at least a 2 night stay in the wine country. Enjoy a glass of wine on your private balcony, unwind from a day of travel and head down to the Farmhouse Restaurant for a fantastic dinner with wine pairings. Begin the following morning with the famous Farmhouse breakfast before you head out for a day of exploring. 

Swing by Armstrong Redwoods for a quick hike, down to the Russian River for some kayaking and out to Jenner for a glass of champagne and oysters at River’s End. Return to Farmhouse for a little self-indulgence: a spa treatment with steam shower sounds about right. If you’re wiped out from a big day then we recommend an in-room picnic- stop by the Front Desk to check out their wares. The following morning its off to Highway 1 after another amazing breakfast.


Take Highway 116 from the Farmhouse through the Russian River area out to the Sonoma Coast and Highway 1. Make a quick stop at Goat Rock Beach to stretch your legs and work off some of that breakfast. As you wind down Highway 1 enjoy a crab sandwich at one of the highway shacks. Stop in Bodega Bay for some sight seeing and to enjoy the town where Alfred Hitchcock filmed “The Birds.” As Highway 1 curves in you’ll come to Tomales Bay, home to Hog Island Oysters. It is on our list of must-see stops. We recommend making an appointments but you can drop in without one.  As you finish the day’s driving you’ll arrive at the stunning and historic Cavallo Point for a 2 night stay. Be sure to dine in the Murray Circle Restaurant and to try out the spa at least once during your visit.

 

 



EXCITING NEWS FOR SONOMA COUNTY THIS SUMMER

  
  
  
rosso rosticceria eventi

If you’ve been to Sonoma wine country before than you know that it seems to be an ever changing mix of new wineries, restaurants, shops and places to stay. That propensity to constantly be changing and being on the cutting edge of what is new won’t be any different this summer as new restaurants, tasting rooms and even old fashion ice cream and pie shops open up. From Sebastopol to Healdsburg there are exciting new businesses coming in time for summer and we can’t wait to sample them ourselves. We decided to focus on three in particular- we want to pique your interest in hopes that you’ll visit soon!


Established in 2009, Rosso Pizzeria in downtown Santa Rosa has been a local’s favorite from the day they opened. So popular in fact that they now have a mobile pizza oven and have been catering events all over Sonoma County for the last several years. They were a hit at the Farmhouse Inn Christmas party a few years ago. Their newest venture will open in Santa Rosa but will be a new take on their other 2 restaurants- a mix of food, ping pong and cooking classes. What really sets it apart from their other two restaurants is the new location’s offerings and hours. Unlike the downtown Santa Rosa and Petaluma locations, Rosso Rosticceria + Eventi will be open for early diners beginning at 7 am and closing at 6 pm. They’ll also only be a Monday through Friday location. Offering espresso, pastries, pizzas and ping pong the new location is sure to appeal to the local set- that’s why we’re telling you - check out the wine country like a local.  Rosso Rosticceria + Eventi opens this month and we’ll be sure give it a try and fill you in on an upcoming post on Facebook; be sure to keep checking for our review.


The Barlow in downtown Sebastopol opened  about a year ago with a few wineries, a bakery and some distilleries. It is now in full swing with restaurants, a local market, coffee houses, art galleries and a lot of great events. One of the official Farmhouse Winery Partners, La Follette Winery, opened in the spring of 2013. Another unofficial winery friend is Wind Gap Wines and we’re incredibly excited to see their tasting room open at the end of April, beginning of May. Wind Gap is a favorite of Farmhouse Master Sommelier Geoff Kruth, who features several of their wines on the Farmhouse Inn Restaurant Wine List. Their “new” style of winemaking is popular with younger wine drinkers and local wine critic Jon Bonne (SF Chronicle). Wind Gap offers a wide range of wines from the Sonoma Coast and Russian River Valley. Their claim to fame may be their skin-fermented white wines- skin fermentation often causes the wines to take on an orange hue and can really change the aromatics and body of a wine. While this technique is not new to the world of wine, it is a technique that hasn’t been popular in American wine culture until recently. Wind Gap’s wines are very high in demand so if you do visit their tasting room,  don’t be surprised to hear that many of their 2012 and 2013 wines are already sold out. We recommend stopping by on your next visit to the area and get on join their mailing list.


Our last teaser for new offerings in Sonoma is located in Healdsburg. This one is especially near and dear to us as it is the second shop for Moustache Baked Goods, a Farmhouse favorite. We often work with Moustache on special occasion baked goods for our guests, as well as the occasional dessert bar for staff parties. Their current shop on the square in Healdsburg offers everything from cupcakes to macaroons and Blue Bottle coffee drinks. If you haven’t visited yet we are telling you not to miss it on your next trip and take some items home to share. Their newest venture is Noble Folk Ice Cream and Pie Bar. They’ll be offering up truly unique ice cream flavors as well seasonal pies. If the shop is anything like the bakery we can’t wait to see what they come up with. 


For more insider tips on discovering our Sonoma county secrets be sure to contact your concierge today. For up to date news on happenings at Farmhouse Inn and in the area follow and like us on Facebook. We hope to see you at the Farmhouse Inn soon.





2014 EXCITEMENT AT FARMHOUSE INN

  
  
  
Andrew Harper Grand Awards 2014

As we mentioned last week, 2013 was a year for the record books at the Farmhouse Inn. Not only did our fans vote for us on Travel and Leisure’s World’s Best List but we came in at #38 in the world.   Our restaurant team was invited to fly to New York and prepare a Sonoma wine country dinner at the James Beard House. And to cap off the year  Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report featured us with extremely high ratings after his anonymous review and we are now an Andrew Harper member.

 

Like we said, a hard year to top but that doesn’t mean we aren’t going to try. 2014 has already kicked off with a great start and things just keep getting better. With everything from the Andrew Harper Grand Awards to a partnership in Tuscany, Italy, we’re looking forward to seeing what the rest of the year with bring. Here’s a roundup of 2014 so far and things to come.


At the beginning of each year Andrew Harper  announces their Grand Award winners. The Grand Awards are selected by Andrew Harper and to be considered “properties must be relatively small in size, possess strong individual personalities, offer relaxing atmospheres and demonstrate a consistent devotion to personal service.” The Farmhouse Inn was one of seven winners of a Grand Award in North America and one of three from California. This honor was a great surprise to us here at the Farmhouse Inn and extra special since we had joined Andrew Harper only a few months before. We’re delighted to be partnered with Andrew Harper and we hope the good news keeps on coming!



Before the end of 2013 the Farmhouse Inn was approached by Travel and Leisure’s #2 pick from their 2013 World’s Best Hotels list, Castello di Casole in Tuscany. Castello di Casole is a 4,200 acre historic property with a 41 room boutique hotel in the heart of Tuscany. Castello di Casole was looking for another world-class property to partner with on creating a culinary fanatic’s dream vacation. The answer was "yes,of course" (would you have said no?!). Out of the original request a six day culinary extravaganza has emerged and we couldn’t be more excited. This June Farmhouse Inn owners, Catherine and Joe, will bring a bit of Farmhouse Inn (including Executive Chef Steve Litke and Master Sommelier, Geoff Kruth) to Castello di Casole for everything from winery dinners to pizza making and more. June is one of the most popular months to visit Italy, so if you’re just starting to think about your summer vacation plans be sure to check out this package. Space is extremely limited. All reservations may be booked through the Timbers Group. We hope to see you there! Salute!


If you can’t make it to Italy than we sure hope you can make it to the Russian River to visit us here at the Farmhouse Inn! Both Conde Nast and the Wine Enthusiast listed the Russian River Valley as one of the top wine and food destinations of 2014. What could you possibly want out of a vacation that we don't have? The Sonoma Coast, the Russian River Valley, hiking, biking, wine tasting (300+ wineries), fabulous restaurants, farms, art galleries, shopping and much more. We were running out of breath on that one or we would have kept going. If you're considering a trip to California's wine country then trust us and Conde Nast and the Wine Enthusiast- you don't want to miss the Russian River Valley.


 

To wrap up our roundup we’ll circle back to Travel and Leisure. In 2014 they released their World’s Best 500 Hotels list for the year. This list gives each hotel a rating based on a 100 point system. The scores come from Travel and Leisure voters and once again the Farmhouse fans came through for us! With a score of 94.09 the Farmhouse Inn was #38 in the top 50 in the World and it was the first time we’d made the list. We can’t wait to see where we end up next year and we truly appreciate each and every person who voted for us. If you’re up for it one more time, here is the link to this year’s Travel and Leisure’s World’s Best Survey: https://tlworldsbest.wylei.com/. (Hint: You'll find us listed under Sonoma- just in case you wanted to throw a vote our way.)

Oh. and just one more thing we are super excited about...we have just joined Preferred Hotel Group as part of their Preferred Boutique Collection. You will find us there soon as part of this collection of the very best small luxury hotels in the world.








FARMHOUSE INN LOOKS BACK: 2013 PRESS AND ACCOLADES

  
  
  
Farmhouse Inn

 

2013 was an exceptional year for many reasons but for the Farmhouse Inn and Restaurant some of the press and accolades that came our way this last year were truly amazing.  Our guests made some of it happen for us but we were featured in quite a few distinctive press pieces too.  Here's a hint of just a few of them and more detail below...read to the end (we have a special request).

 

 

You know how excited we are about romance and it was great to be recognized as a top mini-moon destination by Martha Stewart in July. Then right on the heels of that came the announcement that our guests had voted us #38 in the World on Travel and Leisure’s World’s Best Hotels list. This was our debut on the list so you can imagine how excited we were. We shared the celebration with our guests...the champagne was flowing the whole month of August.

 

 

In Spring our restaurant team
(and owners, Joe
and Catherine)
flew to New York
to prepare a big
dinner at the
James Beard House,
something that
all culinary professionals have
on their bucket
list.

It was quite an honor to be invited.


Here's Joe, Chef Steve,
Catherine, Pattie, and Neil
hanging out in New York.

 



 

The excitement continued with a feature in Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report, something we’ve been hoping for since we purchased the Inn in 2001. We are not quite sure when he visited but he gave us a score of 94 on his anonymous review (and the highest score from his visit to Northern California). It was a big surprise for us (a very nice one).

 
Those are just a few of the highlights from 2013; it was a phenomenal year for us and looks quite impressive when you see the whole list on our press page on the Farmhouse Inn website. Here's a bit more detail on the most exciting events in 2013 for Farmhouse Inn. 



To be voted to Travel and Leisure’s World’s Best list at all is quite an honor, but to debut at #38 in the World is truly stunning. We couldn’t have done it without our Farmhouse guest's support. The voting window for the list is every January through March and those fans that voted for us made our debut on the list splashier than we ever could have dreamed of.  Not only were we on the Best Hotel in the World list, but we were also voted as the #3 BEST Inn in the United States. For some perspective other hotels on the World’s Best list included Castello di Casole in Tuscany (we’ll circle back to them next week) and The Peninsula Beverly Hills. Nice company; we were truly honored to be included on this list of  world-class properties and we hope our fans do it for us again in 2014! If you haven’t voted yet we hope you do before the voting closes in two weeks because we hope to celebrate with our fans again this summer!

 


In April of 2013 our Restaurant Team (Chef Steve Litke, Sous Chef Neil Corsten, Pastry Chef Pattie Taan, and Master Sommelier Geoff Kruth) all flew to New York to prepare a meal at the renowned James Beard House. To be invited to the James Beard House is something that chefs dream about and we couldn’t have been more excited to have received the invitation. The menu was beautiful, the Sonoma County wines Geoff selected were a perfect compliment to each course, and the attendees were ideal dining companions. After several days of too much good food, sight seeing and soaking up New York we headed back to California and started planning how we could do that trip all over again. No plan for a New York repeat yet, but just to stimulate your foodie brain click here for last year’s Farmhouse Inn at the James Beard House menu. And on your next visit to the Farmhouse be sure to checkout the wineries that were featured at this dinner.

 

For those of you not familiar with Andrew Harper a good introduction to them is a look at the  Hideaway Report, a publication released every month focusing on 1 to 3 travel destinations around the world. The Hideaway Report is highly respected as a source for travelers, much like wine lovers refer to Wine Spectator. What we love about Andrew Harper is their amazing attention to detail, their honest reviews in the Hideaway Report and their truly excellent customer service. The Farmhouse Inn was included in the May 2013 Hideaway Report in a larger piece, “A Blissful Road Through California’s Wine Lands”. A quick peek at what they had to say: “Butter-yellow clapboard siding, shuttered windows and a front veranda make it look country simple at first glance, but it is also wonderfully sophisticated, seamlessly merging the rural and the contemporary.” Makes us want to spend the night! We feel so lucky to be a part of Andrew Harper and look forward to an amazing 2014 with them. Be sure to read next week’s blog that will share the Andrew Harper Grand Awards (could Farmhouse Inn be there?).

 

Enough about stellar 2013;  we have a lot of work to do to make sure that 2014 surpasses it. Next week we’ll talk about things to come in 2014 including a partnership with an amazing property in Italy (yes, you are invited), the Andrew Harper Grand Awards and the 2014 Travel and Leisure’s World’s Best list. One more plug and we’re done, we promise: Vote for Farmhouse on TL’s World’s Best Survey! Click here to go to the survey. (Hint: we are listed under Sonoma County)


























WINE COUNTRY EVENTS- FARMHOUSE INN CONCIERGE FAVORITES

  
  
  
budbreak in Sonoma County

 

We don't usually see the beginning of the grape harvest until August (our busiest time in the wine country), but spring in Sonoma Wine Country is pretty busy and just about our favorite time of year.  All around the Russian River Valley we see vineyard crews pruning vines getting ready for the growing season. The worst of winter is over and Spring is just getting ready to bust out all over.

 

I just heard about the first hints of budbreak from a couple of the wineries. Hold your breath now...the vineyards can't stand any hard freezes during this time. You wouldn't think something like this would get us all excited but just look...the beginnings of that amazing wine in your glass.

 

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