Nature Lover’s Tour

Day 1:

pic_pacificThe Coast and the Redwoods

  • Grab an Armstrong Redwoods trail map before you leave the Inn — and don’t forget your camera!
  • Drive Coleman Valley Road from the Inn to the coast. One of the most beautiful drives you’ll ever take, this 25-minute jaunt takes you through forests, pastoral valleys, and finally, to the rugged coastline. Hop out and take in the stunning views of the beaches and the waves crashing on the cliffs.
  • Diverge a mile south to Salmon Creek Beach and kick up a little sand. Then drive north up Highway 1 to the small village of Jenner. Follow the signs to Goat Rock Beach, a local favorite. Take the lovely curving drive down to sea level.
  • Enjoy both Russian River and ocean views at River’s End restaurant, also in Jenner. Stay for lunch and sample something off the wonderful wine list.
  • A coastal sunset from River’s End restaurant is a must see.
  • Head east on Highway 116 along the Russian River to the town of Guerneville. Turn left onto Armstrong Woods Road and drive for about three miles. Park at the Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve visitor center.
  • pic_itinerary_riversendTake out your trail map and choose the trail that suits your fancy. The map describes a number of walks and hikes of varying lengths and difficulty. Take time to experience the magic these 1,400-year-old trees share with you. The silence, the quiet, and the beauty are simply breathtaking.
  • Stroll up to Bull Frog Pond and enjoy the view all around you.
  • Head back to Occidental on the Bohemian Highway and return to the Inn for wine hour.
  • Relax with a glass of wine until it’s time for your dinner reservation.

Day 2:

The Nurseries & Whale Watching

  • Grab a picnic lunch from the Inn and head south on Bohemian Highway. Turn left on Highway 12 and head toward Sebastopol. Take a right on Highway 116 (East Gravenstein Highway) out of Sebastopol.
  • Travel three miles to Hessel Road. Take a right then another right on McFarlane.
  • Sonoma Horticultural Nursery features flowers of every variety.
  • pic_itinerary_sonomahortGo about a mile to the top of the rise and turn right and follow the signs to the Sonoma Horticultural Nursery. Take your time strolling the grounds at this seven-acre wonderland of flora and fauna. The wooden bridges, fountains, gazebos, and miles of pathways take you by flowers of every variety. This a great place to purchase azaleas, rhododendrens, and hard-to-find flowering trees. Have an early lunch by the pond.
  • Get back on Highway 116 to Highway 12 and drive all the way west into Bodega Bay for your 1 p.m. whale-watching tour.
  • Pull into Wil’s Fishing Adventures and get ready for an amazing experience. January through April is the prime time to spot migrating gray whales.
  • Head back to the Inn and enjoy the wine hour.
  • After such a busy day, your best bet for dinner is a short drive to the Willow Wood Market Cafe in Graton.

Day 3:

  • Canoeing and the Scenic Vineyards Head down for breakfast right at 8 a.m. so you can get an early start on the day.
  • Take Graton Road to Highway 116 west. In the town of Forestville turn right on Mirabel Road, which dead ends into River Road. You can’t miss the Burke’s Canoe Trips banner hanging in the trees across the street. It takes approximately four hours to paddle the gorgeous 10-mile trip through the redwoods, or chose to float the day away and enjoy a picnic lunch along the way.
  • The wildlife on the Russian River is spectacular. You’ll most likely spy blue heron, osprey, egrets, river otters, turtles, and hawks.
  • Arrive in Guerneville just in time for lunch. Stroll into town and stop at Sparks for wonderful vegetarian food. Return to the Burke’s pick-up spot for your ride back to your car.
  • Drive back out onto River Road going left and then take another left on Wohler Road, which becomes Westside Road.
  • pic_itin_2Westside Road winds through some of Sonoma’s prettiest vineyard countryside. Spend the rest of the afternoon enjoying the natural beauty and the wineries along this classic Sonoma landscape, including our favorites, Moshin, Hop Kiln, Rochioli, and Gary Farrell.
  • When the wineries close at 5 p.m., head back to the Inn for wine hour.
  • Relax until it’s time for your dinner reservation at K&L Bistro in Sebastopol
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