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 reminiscing 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 conversation 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 aperitif 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 & Mariamr Estate Vineyards
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.
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 close to Osmosis Spa. 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.
Option 2 Boon Hotel & Spa & Porter Creek Vineyards
Boon Spa is located in downtown Guerneville. They offer a wide menu of massage services and also have a pool and hot tub with self serve honor bar that you are welcome to use for up to 2 hours either before or after your spa service. If you visit with a group of 4 people for a spa day they will provide a free bottle of champagne. To make your appointment call (707) 869-2721 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. After your morning of pampering head out for a nice lunch at The Farmhand Deli. The location is spectacular with a deck overlooking the Russian River with Redwood covered hills in the background.
After lunch continue to the east for a short while until you reach Westside Road where you will find the small and friendly Porter Creek Vineyards. The charming little indoor tasting room is in a building that looks like it could have been a farm shed. If you want to sit down and relax rather than standing at the bar, they have plenty of tables outside where you can linger as long as you like. The staff a super chill and extremely nice! Since this winery is in the heart of the Russian River Valley, they specialize in more red wines than white. However we did enjoy a lovely Chardonnay last time we were there.
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. You can dine inside at their cozy dining room, or if the weather is right, you can enjoy their charming back garden. They serve organic, seasonal California cuisine. 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. For an easy stroll to walk off 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. As of summer 2022, part of this hike includes trails that are closed due to fire damage. Check with the ranger before you head out!
You will finish the 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. Across the street is River Queen Handmade & Collectibles, and River Queen Clothing where you can get something for yourself!
For those that didn’t get enough wine yesterday, check out a tasting room in downtown Guerneville. Equality Vines is a unique winery which hires a variety of wine makers to make specific wines the owners dream of. The names of the wines are always creative with artistic labels. 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 test drive. 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 R2T2 for a ride up river to Johnsons Beach or Sunset Beach. Put on some sunscreen and grab a 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.
- If you want to do an all day wine tasting event, get in touch with Windsor Wine Tours and they can take you around for the whole day.
- 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.
- 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, or Beltane Ranch.
- Already hiked Armstrong Woods? Go to 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.