Why should you plan a visit to wine country? The answer is, why wouldn’t you? If you like sunshine, good food, amazing wines, friendly people and spectacular views wine country has a place for you. Sonoma and Napa are no longer reserved for those of a certain age, bank account status, or even for wine lovers only.
You can visit Sonoma and do and see plenty on any budget, even if you aren't a fan of the grape. Wine Country is great for an ultra-romantic honeymoon, a quick weekend trip, or even an exciting outdoor adventure. Sonoma County has it all and we’ll tell you how to do it right no matter the occasion or budget.
Russian River Valley,
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.