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Wine Country Blog: Innsights to the Wine Country

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FARMHOUSE INN AND OUR MOST ROMANTIC GUESTS...

  
  
  
Julie, Farmhouse Inn concierge

A guest post from Julie,
Romance expert and star concierge at Farmhouse Inn!  




"I don’t normally like to write....unless it’s something I am passionate about...and romance is one thing I am most passionate about.

I came to Farmhouse Inn last year to help shoot a video for the their new website.  By the time the video was finished I fell in love with the people, the property, and most of all the great care they take of their guests.  It seems no request is too great and the romance of the wine country is threaded through everything they say and do. I found this hidden gem hidden away just minutes from my Healdsburg home and so wanted to be a part of their great team and share the philosophy of the Inn....they hired me four days later to join their Concierge team.  By the way, if you haven't seen it here is the Farmhouse video and you can find me in a few of the shots if you are looking...

 

In a world sometimes full of doom and gloom – the Farmhouse Inn is full of smiling faces and wonderful people.   Each and every guest that I speak to on the phone or have the pleasure to meet in person makes me smile.  They seem so happy and are excited and eager to spend their wine country vacation or special celebration with us here at the Farmhouse.

Being able to assist guests with their itinerary is probably the most fun and rewarding part of my job.  Sonoma County is such an amazing place to live and  we love to share it's charms with our guests. I am a hopeless romantic and want each and every person that visits with us to leave here with the very best experience possible.










FARMER'S MARKETS TAKE OVER SONOMA COUNTY

  
  
  
sonoma farmer's markets

I HAVE BEEN WAITING (ALMOST PATIENTLY) FOR ALL OUR FARMER'S MARKETS TO REALLY GET GOING TO TELL YOU ABOUT THEM AND HOW MUCH I LOVE SUMMER IN SONOMA.  IT SEEMS LIKE EVERYTHING IS COMING IN ALL AT ONCE- STILL SOME CHERRIES AROUND AND I SAW APRICOTS YESTERDAY THAT I THOUGHT WOULD BE GONE BY NOW.  SUMMER SQUASH IS EVERYWHERE AND THE EARLY TOMATOES AND ALL THE STONE FRUITS AND... THAT'S THE SUMMER SEASON IN CALIFORNIA AND PARTICULARLY IN SONOMA COUNTY. 

FARMHOUSE INN AND 10 WAYS TO CELEBRATE SONOMA SUMMER

  
  
  
wine country ballooning

Driving in this morning there were 3 hot air balloons hovering almost directly over the Farmhouse Inn...


made me think of all the wondrous things we love to share with our guests every season in the Sonoma Wine Country.  But summer...aah...wonderful summer.  So many things to do and see and new experiences around every corner. You know that old Porgy and Bess song..."summertime and the livin' is easy"- that is summer in Sonoma all over.  

Very rare heat waves and they never last more than a couple of days (sorry to the whole rest of the sweltering country- don't mean to rub it in).  So most of the time that perfect warm temperature of 75-85 degrees during the afternoon so you know it is really summer but then it cools down nicely (at least 20 degrees) once the sun goes down.  (And no humidity and NO big bugs either.)

INDEPENDENCE DAY ALL OVER SONOMA COUNTY

  
  
  
Farmhouse Inn Fourth of July

In case you don't know, Farmhouse Inn sits right in the middle of the Russian River Valley and the wine country, almost smack in the middle of the large and very diverse Sonoma County (the size of Rhode Island, actually).  You would think we are all about the vineyards and wineries- BUT the Independence Day holiday brings out the patriotism in all of us.  What is it about the Fourth that brings out the old-fashioned, family-style celebrations that Sonoma County excels in?

SONOMA WINE COUNTRY AND SUMMERTIME BOUNTY

  
  
  
Anna, Farmhouse concierge


Farmhouse Inn Lead Concierge,
Anna McPeck chases down the
wild and wonderful new food
(and drink?) offerings in
Sonoma Wine Country.

               


That's our Anna...


Thanks to Sonoma County’s temperate Mediterranean climate, the area has long been a haven for farmers, vintners, and chowhounds alike. Summertime is the season chefs look forward to most; when produce everywhere is lush and plentiful and when some of their favorite fruits and vegetables to cook with come into their prime. It is officially summer and Sonoma County chefs, residents and visitors all have a lot to be excited about in the delicious world of food and wine. Freshness is all around us here in Sonoma from the guy standing on the corner selling his cherry crop, to the little farmstands sprinkled around the county, to the amazing of Farmer's Markets (remember, there is one somewhere in the county every single day of the week except Monday)!  Truly, truly we do not need the grocery store this time of year. 

  The Farmhouse Concierge team is super excited about the number of great new restaurants popping up around town!  (We get to try them first, you see...) 

Scopa restaurateur, Ari Rosen, has just opened the doors to his new hot spot, Campo Fina, just a block off the square on Healdsburg Avenue. Scopa’s overwhelming and loyal following gave Rosen the incentive to expand and try something a little different with Campo Fina.
Heather Irwin's blog "biteclubeats" was all about them opening today. Here's a couple of her pictures to whet your appetite.

   

Their back patio features a beautiful new outdoor bar and bocce court and you can expect the great standard of food you’ve experienced at Scopa, presented in a small plates format.  We have been a couple of times already and love the new space and the menu is amazing.

Speaking of awesome back patios,  our already favorite Diavola Pizzeria just opened a great enclosed back patio addition to their little hamlet up in Geyserville. Check it out!  Open for lunch and dinner --we are all about outdoor dining these days.         

Another scoop from the Farmhouse with a quick explanation on the Zagat blog...Zazu on the river has  just opened at Davis Family Vineyards. Beloved lunch spot, Bovolo, is no more, but John and Duskie from Zazu are replacing it with this new venture. 
           
And while details are still a bit mysterious about what exactly is going to become of the old Ravenous Café, we know that it has been purchased by Stark Restaurants, and Bite Club Eats posits that it may be turned into a Spanish/Greek style tapas restaurant. No matter what the outcome, we are excited for a new Stark restaurant in Sonoma County!

So where do the talented chefs of Sonoma County get ahold of all the great produce that they use to create their wonderful Wine Country Cuisine? They build great networks with all of our local farmers.
Take for instance, our very own Executive Chef Steve Litke. Wednesday is his preparation day for the Farmhouse Restaurant and getting to work on Wednesdays takes him a good two hours. That’s because he is stopping at farms all along the way to work to pick up the fresh ingredients he will be using. One stop is at his neighbor’s farm, La Bonne Terre. Owners Mary & Bert Villemaire are like a second set of parents to our chef and are staple farmers in the Healdsburg community, a permanent fixture at the popular Healdsburg Farmer’s Market (a stop our chef makes every Saturday morning). He can be found sorting through baskets of Favas, snap peas or tomatillos at Tierra Vegetables, a beautiful organic farm stand located in North Santa Rosa.

Or on his days off you might hear him on the phone with Charmoon, owner of Wild About Mushrooms, his go-to guy for all things fungi,
or perhaps he will be chatting with Bryan at Mix Garden, figuring out his order of micro-greens and beets. All of these relationships come together in the beautiful plates his kitchen team brings to you in the restaurant each night. 
 It’s great to know about these close-knit ties between chefs and farmers, but what about some hands on experiences you can partake in yourself? One of the biggest draws to West Sonoma County is the amazing cheese we produce in this area. The Sonoma Marin Cheese Trail is a great resource for planning a visit to some of the wonderful dairies and creameries making world class cheeses in our backyard

Many of these multi-generational Sonoma and Marin county families have been producing on family farms for years. A few are open to the public – Marin French Cheese Company and Cowgirl Creamery, for instance, and a few are open by appointment only (Achadina & Pug’s Leap), while some are simply too small and too busy to host the public. One particularly unique and exciting opportunity is The Fork Culinary Center at Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company. Here they offer hands on cooking classes and demonstrations.

And while you’re down that way trying all our Sonoma decadent cheese, why not go the extra mile and indulge in a picnic with some oysters too at one of our local favorites, Hog Island Oyster Company? They even give you a video guide on how to shuck an oyster, in case you aren’t a pro yet.


Whatever your reasons are for visiting Sonoma County, the food and agriculture (and wine) here is sure to enhance your experience. We hope you’ll enjoy some of this fun foodie news and some of our own local favorites on your next visit to the Sonoma Wine Country. 

SWEET (SIZZLING) SONOMA SUMMER AT FARMHOUSE INN

  
  
  
Farmhouse kitty jasper

YES, IT IS OFFICIALLY SUMMER...ALL WEEK HAS BEEN ABOVE 80 DEGREES AND A COUPLE OF DAYS ABOVE THE 90 DEGREE MARK.  THE FARMHOUSE INN GUESTS HAVE ALL BEEN HANGING OUT BY THE POOL AND CHARLOTTE AND JASPER (THE KITTIES) ARE FOUND IN ANY SHADY SPOT.  THAT'S A SHOT OF JASPER THAT BRANDON, OUR BELLBOY JUST SHOT THIS EVENING.  OUR GUESTS KIND OF HAVE THAT LOOK TOO CAMPED OUT IN THE LOUNGE CHAIRS.

SUMMER DAYS IN SONOMA- WINE COUNTRY MUSIC VENUES

  
  
  
Lagu-mini Amphitheater-ette

This is the time of year that we all get to play tourist in the wine country.  Summertime in Sonoma just has so much going on.  Art shows, farmer's markets and garden tours, festivals and celebrations of all things Sonoma, and then all the normal, all the time winery stuff going on (Passport to Pinot, anyone?).  Just can't cover it all in one blog post.  So this week's feature- the music venues going on all summer.

Right now one of the biggest (longest) events is the 10-day Healdsburg Jazz Festival going on right now in Healdsburg- check out the schedule - it closes June 10th. 


If you work it right this weekend you can take in the Beerfest in Santa Rosa on Saturday, sneak in to a couple of the artists studios at the West Sonoma County's Art at the Source open studio tours and still fit in some of the Jazz events in Healdsburg.  The Summer Concert Series in the Healdsburg plaza started this last Tuesday.  June 12th- Gator Beat and Zydeco-  listen up - mark it on your calendar!  Always manage to see them at least once sometime during the season.  Everybody dance!!



This acting like a tourist can be exhausting...I don't know how our guests at Farmhouse Inn do it. 

The Krush backyard free concerts started last week and this week features the Comatose Brothers (what a name for a band) .  It's that time of year when you just pull up a piece of grassy lawn and kick back- sometimes a lazy summer afternoon and sometimes under the stars. There is some kind of music event going on every single day of the week and a lot of them free. 

MOTHER'S DAY IN WINE COUNTRY- MUCH MORE THAN BRUNCH!

  
  
  
Amgen tour Santa Rosa

All different kinds of Mom's out there and what do they really want for Mother's Day?  Maybe just a little extra love and attention on this day to celebrate all their hard work and devotion to the family.  I always used to celebrate the day with my parents and a big birthday family get together (their birthdays were the 10th and 11th of May so were always right around the day).  Sure miss that big day with all the family around but can look forward to a little extra love from my boys I am sure (their wives are on it!).

Love, Love, LOVE in the Sonoma Wine Country

  
  
  
TripAdvisor Most Romantic HotelsSo much going on in the wine country this weekend after a wild week of Valentine's Day (and weekend) planning for our guests here at the Farmhouse Inn. The romantic dinners are going all weekend long in the restaurant with the finale on Tuesday. We have a couple of proposals in the works over the weekend and a couple more checking in for Valentine's Day and then on the day itself...one of our fabulous elopements- our tiny weddings - they are just dropping in from Delaware for a little Farmhouse romance!

Last week we had all the excitement from BedandBreakfast.com when they recognized Farmhouse as one of the Top10 Most Romantic Inns and then again we got noticed as one of The Most Romantic Inns in the U.S. from FathomAway.  Right after I wrote the blog last week...TripAdvisor came out the 2012 Traveler's Choice Award for the 10 Most Romantic Hotels...

You guessed it- Farmhouse again!

                                    

 And Then...

CNN Travel came out with an article "Choose Your Own Romantic Adventure"  - tips on making new romantic memories.

 Oenophile bliss...Sonoma County Wine Country, California                   

"What better way to reconnect than while driving through Sonoma wine country, stopping to taste the terroir at wineries along the way? Visit Copain for the views and the pinot, Arista for the Japanese gardens and Lambert Bridge for intimate barrel-room tastings. Then settle in at the Farmhouse Inn in the heart of the Russian River Valley.

Farmhouse Inn and 3000 fans...what a day in the wine country!

  
  
  
3000 Facebook Fan celebration

Well... it has been a long day here at Farmhouse Inn- this afternoon we were so close to 3000 fans on our Facebook page that we finally embraced this "social media" thing and tried to make something happen.  Around 4:00 we needed 26 fans to get there - it took us a few hours but with a lot of help from our friends - we did it!! We had people from Connecticut, Maryland, Oregon, Idaho, quite a few from California, and even a few locals from Santa Rosa on Facebook helping with the cause.  

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