Wine Country Blog: Innsights to the Wine Country


By Meilani Naranjo on April 7, 2016

The Amgen Tour of California ends...the grand Santa Rosa this Sunday. The race started last Sunday down in Escondido, Southern California. With all the attention on the race and all things cycling we thought we would share some of the magic of Sonoma wine country from 2 wheels.

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Topics: Sonoma, wine country, Santa Rosa, biking, Farmhouse Inn, Amgen Tour, cycling, Vineman, Granfondo, California


By Farmhouse Staff on April 7, 2016

Guest Blog Post from T.C. (aka "Teec")- one of our most talented concierges (and the one that has been with us the longest)... Still loving her job and filling the role of "resident mom" with some of the younger concierges (Does that make Meilani the "Grandmom"?).  

With so much to see and do in the Wine Country we are never short of exciting activities to share with our guests here at Farmhouse Inn.  This time of year brings the excitement of the grape harvest and those gorgeous days of Indian Summer and cool nights hanging around the firepit with the other guests. As a concierge here at Farmhouse part of my job is to get a sense of how people want to spend their time in the Wine Country. We create custom itineraries based on a guests' preference of activities - it is not always just about the food and wine. 

Sonoma County has been getting quite a name for itself in the cycling world.  This year the beginning and end of the first stage of the Amgen Tour of California was in Santa Rosa, Levi's GranFondo was just last weekend with over 7,000 bikers participating, and the Vineman Triathalon events in July brought the athletes out in droves. With our rolling landscapes (one guest said it was like a picture postcard around every turn) two-wheeled wine country adventures can really help burn off some of those extra calories you might consume from wine tasting and dining at our amazing restaurants. (I promise you Chef Steve does not pay attention to calories when he cooks for you.)  Biking along the Russian River throughout Sonoma County is an incredible way to enjoy the wine country.

Our friend Dave, over at Adventures in Cycling , has created custom tours (something for all levels of cycling expertise) for the guests of Farmhouse Inn interested in cycling the county. Here are a few examples and some pictures of some of our guests (and new friends) enjoying the wine country.

  • The Pinot Cycling Tour....We start our ride from The Farmhouse Inn, riding up Westside road through the Russian River Valley visiting our winery partners that specialize in Pinot Noir; Arista, Porter Creek, VML Wineries, for example. The distance we ride is up to the guest, I've had guests ride 12 miles up and 12 miles back. Other guests want to taste more so we ride 6 miles up and 6 miles back. All the tours include a wonderful picnic lunch at a winery, that includes meats, cheeses, salad, and dessert, stops along the way to admire scenery and the vineyards. Tour time 10:00 am to 3:30.

  • The Zin/Cab Biking Tour.... We drive up to the Dry Creek Valley (a 15 minute drive) to start our ride. We visit some of our winery partners, Dry Creek Vineyards, barrel tasting at Zichichi Winery, or Lambert Bridge who specialize in Zinfandel and Cabernet. Again the riding distance and number of wine stops is up to you. Riding 15 to 20 miles though Sonoma County we will have time for 3 to 4 tastings. Picnic lunch at one of of our partner wineries. Tour time 9:30 to 3:30.

  •  The Serious Cyclist Tour.....whether you bring your own bike or want to rent a road bike, we can take you out to ride King's Ridge, Coleman Valley Road to the ocean, or set up a 50 mile flat loop- all part of Levi's famous GranFondo. A great day / ride is to ride from the Farmhouse Inn over to Occidental, across Coleman Valley Road to the Sonoma Coast, then north up HWY 1 to the Russian River, turn inland along the Russian River ending our ride at Armstrong Redwoods for a BBQ lunch.

  •  Easy Bike Ride  Guests depart the Farmhouse Inn and we drive over to Graton to the Joe Rodota Trail, part of the West County Trail ,we ride for an hour or so, stop at Taft Street Winery or a couple of the West Sonoma County wineries (optional), when we finish riding we load back in the van and go on to Iron Horse Winery or Armstrong Redwoods for a picnic lunch.  This is the perfect ride for the not so aggressive rider that doesn't feel comfortable biking our back roads.  Most of the trail is an old railroad bed that has been paved and is completely removed from traffic. You can actually pick up the trail right behind Farmhouse Inn in Forestville and bike all the way to Santa Rosa (about 18 miles) and it is just slightly hilly in a couple of spots.

    So next time you are headed for the wine country...give me a call and let's see if we can't include one of Dave's custom tours in your itinerary.  Of course,  the perfect finish for the day is a glass of wine out by the pool or how about a spa treatment at the Farmhouse Spa to finish off the day!

One more photo op...up at Hop Kiln Winery on that Westside Road tour- probably the most photographed winery in the county.

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Topics: wine country, Russian River, biking, Farmhouse Inn, Amgen Tour, cycling, Vineman, Granfondo


By Meilani Naranjo on May 21, 2015

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.)

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Topics: wine country, Russian River, Sonoma County, biking, Farmhouse Inn, Healdsburg, events, Summer events, Amgen Tour, Granfondo


By Meilani N on May 21, 2015

May 13th- mark it on your Calendar- The biggest and baddest cycling event- first stage starts and ends in Santa Rosa (our backyard here at Farmhouse Inn).

The Amgen Tour of California  (this is the seventh consecutive year for the race) has definitely put California on the world biking map.  Here in Sonoma Wine Country there have always been the avid cyclers - you see them on all our backroads and bike trails every weekend but this event features elite professional teams and athletes from around the world.  With the scenery of California as a backdrop this race from it's inception in 2006 is bound to soon rival the Tour de France.

The first day of the race starts and finishes in Santa Rosa, the city that helped establish the race and home to three time race champion Levi Leipheimer (our local hero).  His GranFondo event in September is a well known charity event and is also known as "the greatest day out on two wheels".  The GranFondo event in 2011 raised more than $250,000 to support various charities  including Sonoma County Elementary Schools,  Sonoma County Emergency Responders, and the LIVESTRONG foundation.  Three amazing routes for different levels of expertise-  I will see you at the Piccolo Route...32 miles for recreational and beginner cyclists. no big hills for me...just keep me in the flat valleys through the gorgeous redwoods and vineyards.  (No way on that 103 mile Gran route no matter how beautiful.)

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Topics: wine country, Russian River, Sonoma County, biking, Levi Leipheimer, Farmhouse Inn, Amgen Tour, cycling, Granfondo, California

Sonoma County and Fall's arrival...

By Meilani N on May 21, 2015

Summer is winding down with a crash!  Misty, foggy, almost drizzling morning- had to use my windshield wipers.  Have you ever wondered what we do in the fall here in the wine country?  This weekend is a perfect example of a couple of the wonderful things we have to keep us busy.

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Topics: Sonoma, wine country, Russian River, Sonoma County, Harvest Fair, Pumpkin Patch, Farmhouse Inn, Granfondo, wine tasting

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