You know what? Being a supermom is exhausting! For me, life is a whirlwind of shuttling kids around, packing and unpacking for weekend adventures, oh, and trying to work too. My annual girl’s weekend is the beacon of tranquility that gets me through when it all seems too hectic. A few moments reminising about my last trip away from the kids and husbands refreshes my step. My go to memory is recalling the scent of the pinot noir wafting up from my glass while we girlfriends relax in the gardens at Lynmar Estates. Our conversation drifts from venting about husbands to giggling like the kids we left at home with their dads. But the number one rule is that whenever the converstion turns back to the kids it is time for a refill or a new destination.
Moms gotta get out of town sometimes. We need to bond with our girlfriends, sleep in, and do grown-up stuff and build the memories to get us through the upcoming months. All that chasing kids and preschool tuition makes a nearby weekend getaway to the Russian River just the right thing. So you don’t have to spend that precious time planning, I created an itineary with some of our favorite destinations from previous girl’s weekend getaways. Summer is prime time on the river so I prefer fall and spring as the crowds are gone and everything is more mellow.
Day 1 Arrive and Relax
Vacation rentals are definitely the move on the Russian River; think docks and decks overlooking the water. Arrive at your house and go put on your comfy pants ASAP! Some of the better rentals like Lucky Bend Lookout, have arrangements with private chefs who do the shopping, come to the house to prepare a gourmet meal, and do the dishes before they go! Talk about a great way to get right into relaxing. We have a few favorite batch cocktails that we like to mix up for an aperitef on the deck. If you haven’t seen it yet, Wine Country on Netflix is a great way to end the day on a light note.
Day 2 Spa and Wine
Sleep in till 7:30 (hopefully); why can’t we sleep longer when the kids are not around?!?! Well the wineries don’t open until 11 so off to the Spa we go. Seriously, who decided no drinking before 11?
Option 1 Osmosis Day Spa
The upscale Osmosis Day Spa and Sanctuary in Occidental offers some unique spa experiences such as the Rejuvenation and the Transformation. Spa packages include tea overlooking their Japanese garden and their specialty Cedar Enzyme Bath. After your spa morning grab some lunch nearby at Hazel or Howard Station Cafe.
Option 2 Dyhana Center
If you want the spa experience but your budget is a little smaller, then the Dhyana Center self-care sanctuary in Sebastopol is a soothing experience. It has a self serve communal spa that offers a variety of saunas, a steam room, and private soaking tubs. It smells amazing in there, and the vibe is just so therapeutic. You can also book traditional spa treatments such as a massage or facial. If you are feeling mystical you can even sit for a numeric reading or astrology reading. When you’re done with your treatment you can enjoy a mocktail at their apothecary bar and then head out to lunch. For a quick bite you could walk across the street to Whole Foods or you can sit down for a late brunch at Gypsy Cafe which specializes in Modern Comfort Food.
Marimar Estate Vinyards
After a satisfying lunch you can pop in to a few nearby wineries before heading back to for a late afternoon nap. There are hundreds of wineries in the region so the options abound but one of our favorites is Marimar Estate Vineyards and Winery, a gem nearby in Graton. The winery has old world style and is in a gorgeous classic wine country setting with breathtaking views and lovely gardens. They offer a variety of wines including Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and a few others.
Horse & Plow
Sonoma originally rose to prominance as a cider region. Vineyards overtook the orchards but in recent years, cider has been experiencing a renasaince thanks to places like Horse & Plow. Specializing in both Russian River style wines they also bring that wine making skill to crafting excellent ciders. You can enjoy their wines and ciders inside their tasting barn and also on the patio. The atmosphere is fun and casual. Be sure to try my favorite cider called Hops & Honey!
Boon Eat & Drink
For dinner tonight, you can dine in style at Boon Eat & Drink in Guerneville. It’s a small restaurant, so reservations are recommended. They serve organic, seasonal California cuisine. And you must eat the flash fried brussels sprouts with chili and garlic because they will seriously spark joy in your mouth!! After dinner you can head back and spend the rest of the evening at the fire pit or play some Cards Against Humanity till you drop!
Day 3 Nature Day!
This one is so easy and rewarding. Enjoy a delicious casual breakfast at Big Bottom Market in downtown Guerneville. They specialize in a variety of biscuits and biscuit sandwiches with modern California style.
Armstrong Redwoods State Preserve
Once well fed and coffeed, make your way down Armstrong Woods Road in Guerneville to Armstrong Redwoods State Preserve. Stop just short of the gate and park in the free lot next to the visitors center or park on the road. For an easy stroll to walkoff any hangover, you can wander around the redwood grove and appreciate several old growth redwood trees.
But if you want to burn off some calories, see the old growth redwoods, and be rewarded with a great view, then take this moderate 5.3 mile hike. From the visitors center go up the East Ridge Trail. Then return to the visitor center via the Pool Ridge Trail.
You will finish these hike by mid-afternoon so make your way west on the Main Street. Some of my favorite spots in downtown Guerneville include the 5&10 store which has a great assortment of fun items. You could find some souvenirs here for your little ones at home. And if you really need some retail therapy you can check out Gypsy Sisters consignment shop. They have a thoughtfully curated selection of fun women’s clothing and some local handmade items. Across the street is River Queen Handmade & Collectibles, and River Queen Clothing.
Inizi and Equality Vines
For those that didn’t get enough wine yesterday, check out the two lovely tasting rooms in downtown Guerneville. Inizi Wines specialize in wine made from grapes that are hard to find, neglected and underrated. The rosé is the best local wine to enjoy in the warm weather! And just down the street is Equality Vines, a unique winery which hires a variety of wine makers to make specific wines the owners want. The names of the wines are always creative, with the newest addition called Rosé the Riveter. Equality Vines is a wine label dedicated to equality for all, and they donate to organizations fighting for equality with every bottle sold.
Day 4 Float the River
Lounge on the river or float down the river. If you are staying on the river at Lucky Bend Lookout, then walk out the back door and head down to the dock to bask in the sun and lounge on the inner tubes or give that standup paddle board a testdrive. You can get some serious vitamin D on this day and just enjoy the people you are with. If you are up for a little bit of adventure then you can float down the river. Call up Monte Rio Taxi/Russian River Tours & Transport for a ride up river to Johnsons Beach or Sunset Beach. Put on some sunscreen and grab your beverage before you hop in the water. The water is slow and warm so you can just lay back and enjoy the ride. Pro tip: bring flip flops for your feet but also use them as paddles!
Once you are back to your house, its time for a little BBQ and enjoy dining al fresco. I like to make this amazing pickle dip to accompany crinkle cut potato chips and is a delicious topping on a burger.
I have so many more ideas for awesome activities for Girls’ weekends! Here are few things that we are considering for our next outing.
- Garden Society Party–Have a rep come to you for about 45 minutes and learn about cannibis from Sonoma County experts who specialize in cannabis-infused confections and pre-rolls.
- Sonoma Wine Life Earring Party–Sheila Jane makes stylish wine country inspired earrings and will come to you! Talk about easy shopping for you and the people you love.
- Journey Way out West–Take a private tour of Joseph Jewell Wines, Marimar Estate, & Red Car Winery with food pairings and unique experiences at each location.
- Looking for a thrill? Go ziplining at Sonoma Canopy Tour
- Eat dinner in the vineyards at a Farm to Table event at Kendall Jackson Winery, Jordan Vineyard & Winery, Trione Winery, Beltane Ranch.
- Already hiked Armstrong Woods? Hike at the new Jenner Headlands Preserve.
- Take a Tour of the Halberg Butterfly Gardens Nature Preserve
- Go on a brewery tour at the new location for Russian River Brewing Company in Windsor
- Take a self guided walking tour through the vineyards at Matanzas Creek Winery, Balletto Vineyards, La Crema, Mauritson Wines, or Amista Vineyards. Call ahead to the winery to ask for information about how to take yourself on a self guided tour through the Sonoma County Vineyard Adventures program.
- Kick off your weekend spending the evening at the First Friday Art Walk in Guerneville. It happens on the first friday of the month!
So much fun stuff to do in Western Sonoma County! Got some good ideas to add? Please leave them in the comments below.