Month: April 2018

Guerneville School garden debuts Sunday

Guerneville School’s annual spring garden celebration this Sunday will include a ribbon-cutting ceremony and public tour of the school’s new outdoor teaching garden.

Chef Crista Luedtke of Boon Eat & Drink will offer a cooking demonstration at the April 29 event starting at noon at the school on Armstrong Woods Road. Festivities include a tour of the new main campus teaching garden followed by a visit to the original Guerneville School community garden, adjacent to the campus, that will soon host classes, demos and events, said Guerneville School District Superintendent Dana Pedersen.

The new garden classroom was in part the work of Avalow of Santa Rosa, a garden consulting company, as well as local agency supporters such as Daily Acts, North Bay Conservation Corps, First 5 Sonoma County, the Sonoma County Water Agency and the Russian River Rotary Club, said Pedersen.

Avalow ( was tapped to help design, build and install the new outdoor classroom that includes 20 handcrafted raised beds made of corrugated aluminum and reclaimed Douglas Fir and outfitted with Avalow’s proprietary sub-irrigation reservoir.

The classroom has areas for lectures, seed planting, composting, rain catchment and trellised vegetables. An addition to the new classroom is the school’s lustrous historical garden started a dozen years ago on a piece of adjacent property. This original 5-acre garden area location has been maintained with the combined efforts of school staff, community volunteers and employees from the neighboring Boon Resort and Spa.

 “The school’s entire Education Outdoor Program is based on a certified, standards-based curriculum that has been developed and refined over the last 13 years by the Guerneville School staff and community partners,” said Pedersen.

The original historical garden will continue to be used for after-school activities, community events and school field trips. It may also be available for future private rental events, with proceeds going to the maintenance of both the new and existing garden areas.

The Luther Burbank School Orchard (an extension of the original garden) will continue to be maintained as well.

A la carte: Wine, cheese and flowers at these spring events

SONOMA: Bubbles & Blooms

Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards welcomes spring from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 22, with the annual Bubbles & Blooms Festival, a celebration of flowers.

The afternoon includes lectures on caring for roses, planting a cut-flower garden and containers as garden art. Guests can also attend workshops on making a spring wreath, spring flower arranging and how to make a succulent terrarium.

An array of sparkling and still wines, tasty bites from Chef Beth Sogaard and lots of pairings round out the afternoon.

Tickets are $90 and include food, wine tokens, lectures and workshops. To reserve, go to 23555 Highway 121.


ROHNERT PARK: Chefs of Tomorrow

Give young chefs a helping hand by attending the annual Wine Country Chefs of Tomorrow benefit at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 24, at the Doubletree Hotel in Rohnert Park.

The evening partners culinary students from six local high schools with local chefs to compete in a tasty appetizer competition. There is a reception, followed by a French-inspired dinner.

Tickets are $85. Advance purchase required at One Doubletree Drive.


SONOMA: Recipe repertoire

Jessica Battilana, San Francisco Chronicle columnist and author of “Repertoire: All the Recipes You Need,” will serve as the Hacienda Chef-in-Residence at Scribe Winery from April 26 to 30.

Reservations may be made from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each day by calling 707-939-1858. Cost is $60. 2100 Denmark St.


GUERNEVILLE: School garden fun

Guerneville School invites the public to a special tour of its new Main Campus Teaching Garden at noon April 29 as part of its Spring “Preview” Garden Celebration.

The new raised-bed Teaching Garden was built and installed by Avalow of Santa Rosa and consists of 20 raised beds made of corrugated aluminum and reclaimed Douglas fir.

At 1 p.m., guests will stroll over to the Guerneville School Historic Community Garden and enjoy a cooking demonstration by Chef Crista Luedtke. 14630 Armstrong Woods Road.


CALISTOGA: The big cheese

Sterling Vineyards will hold an Artisanal Cheese Celebration from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, April 22, at the winery’s Diamond Mountain Terrace.

The event includes more than a dozen cheeses, plus charcuterie and limited production Sterling wines.

Tickest are $45. To reserve: 1111 Dunaweal Lane.


HEALDSBURG: Raw milk cheese

Cheese expert Janet Fletcher will lead a tasting of some awesome American cheeses made with unpasteurized milk at 1 p.m. Saturday, April 21, which happens to be Raw-Milk Cheese Appreciation Day.

Although regulatory pressures are making raw-milk cheeses increasingly rare, many cheesemakers continue to fight for their rights to make these cheeses.

Tickets are $65. To reserve: 25 North St.

Staff Writer Diane Peterson can be reached at 707-521-5287 or On Twitter @dianepete56.

Newly listed Guerneville home is a one-of-a-kind score



exterior.jpg (Photo: Sequoia Properties)

When most buyers are in the market for a new home they may be looking for something special – even if it’s something that may not be particularly out of the ordinary, like a wine cellar or swimming pool.

But this newly listed house in Guerneville takes the idea of unique and goes one step further … it’s home to a miniature golf course.

Well known in the area as the Pee Wee Golf & Arcade, this single family home gives the homebuyer the chance to run a small business that’s already well known in the area, or choose to do something completely different with it.

This could be the chance for a homeowner to not only have a built-in business (if that’s what they’re looking for), a homebuyer who’s not interested in the business aspect may be interested in this house due to the fact that the yard is always ready for an epic party.

Personally, I’d love to own this house just for the excuse to throw parties. For a family with young kids – or even teenagers – this house provides a permanent birthday party destination. No need to worry about asking for a mulligan; with a yard like this your parties would consistently score a birdie. Putt around to see if this house is a hole-in-one … 

16155 Drake Rd, Guerneville – $695,000 – 4 beds 2 baths 1,954 square feet.Year built: 1948/1997.



Home exterior. (Photo: Sequoia Properties)

From this angle the business signs and arcade room are clearly visible. While they add an element of fun, a homeowner who doesn’t plan on running the business may want to take them down to avoid random visitors.



Upper deck. (Photo: Sequoia Properties)

Heading up to the main house, you can see an expansive view of the forest beyond.



Living room. (Photo: Sequoia Properties)

Going into the house, the living room is remarkably staid for a home that has a mini-golf course out back.



Kitchen. (Photo: Sequoia Properties)

The kitchen has been recently updated, with new cupboards and granite countertops.



Master bedroom. (Photo: Sequoia Properties)

This master bedroom is roomy and comfortable looking. But this isn’t the reason anyone wants to come here … let’s check out the mini-golf …



Backyard. (Photo: Sequoia Properties)

Here’s an overview of the mini-golf course.



Backyard. (Photo: Sequoia Properties)

When it comes to custom gates, it’s doubtful you’ll find anyone who can beat this twisted oak tree.



 Backyard. (Photo: Sequoia Properties)

Going out into the course, you’ll find enormous coiled snakes, a giant kangaroo, and a rocket ship … just for starters.



Backyard. (Photo: Sequoia Properties)

My favorite, bar none, is this purple dinosaur hiding under some very prehistoric looking trees.



Backyard. (Photo: Sequoia Properties)

Of course, while this mini-golf set up has, so far, been par for the course (excuse the pun) we can’t have an example of artistry without at least one home that showcases some of the artistry we expect to find in Guerneville. I’m not entirely certain, but it would seem to be a carnival barker doing yoga while supporting the sun with his feet.



Arcade/snack bar. (Photo: Sequoia Properties)

Almost overlooked is this arcade room, which for a private homeowner would make a wonderful media room or even a second living room/lounge area.    

3 Days On California's Russian River and Sonoma Coast

San Francisco hills may be a workout to navigate, but at the top? Those views. Ever wonder what you’re really looking at? To the north are beaches, valleys, winelands, and the promise of towering redwoods—you can get it all in one weekend, on a road trip out of SF that’s not nearly as iconic as that Highway 1 ride but is no less beautiful.

Day One: A Scenic Drive, Canoeing, and Dining Along the Russian River

Start your trip by crossing the Golden Gate Bridge—the gateway will bookend your drive through the Russian River Valley all the way to the untamed Pacific coast—with Guerneville, less than two hours away, plugged into Google Maps.

If you’ve gotten an early start (like, you’re off before 9 a.m.), make a quick detour in bayside Sausalito for breakfast at the Lighthouse Cafe. Though Sausalito has been long overrun by tourists, it’s as picturesque as ever, and the views it offers of San Francisco are a nice dose of perspective as you ditch the city for the weekend. If you slept too late, don’t worry—you’ll get the same effect by simply driving through Sausalito, past tony Marin, a stretch of eye-candy broken only by some highway driving before you enter the winding valley itself. After an hour and a half, you should arrive at Boon Hotel + Spa, your base for the day and night.

Start with a quick dip in Boon’s heated saline pool; a bike ride through the town of Guerneville (Boon has cruisers they’ll lend you); or lounge on one of the many nearby beaches (Johnson’s Beach is a popular choice, though tiny Monte Rio is a great escape from summer crowds). Of course, the quintessential way to pass the day is by floating down the river itself. Head to Burke’s Canoe Trips for canoe rentals. The full route from Burke’s down to Guerneville takes about three hours, and you can make stops along the way. If you plan to stay out that long, grab water and snacks at Big Bottom Market to bring along (and make sure to pick up local cult beer Pliny the Elder while there—it’s hard to find, but this market stocks it). If you’re visiting in the height of summer, you can also rent a tube (Johnson’s Beach and Monte Rio have them) or grab a paddleboard at Steelhead Beach.

When you’re ready for something to eat, head to Seaside Metal Oyster Bar, the perfect lunch spot, with fresh seafood dishes that feels surprisingly chic for the small town. Dinner is best enjoyed at El Barrio, with its great Mexican dishes, flights of mezcal, and an eclectically cool crowd that comes out as the sun sets. End your evening back home in Boon’s outdoor hot tub with a staggering view of the star-smattered night sky.

Day Two: From the Redwoods to the Pacific

Though a journey farther north would lead you to mammoth forests, the Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve—with Boon at its foot—is a compact sampler of the centuries-old trees right in Guerneville. Today’s itinerary will take you deep into the remarkable cathedral of trees in the Russian River Valley before spitting you out at the mouth of the Pacific Ocean on Highway 1.

Boon’s offer to bring you breakfast in bed makes it easy to get an early yet leisurely start, but don’t linger too long. Throw on a pair of hiking boots and head a few steps up the street to the Armstrong trailhead. Hikes vary in difficulty, with everything from barely-break-a-sweat walks to a few loops with steep ascents—grab a trail map at the visitor center and give yourself until midday to tramp beneath the behemoth trees.

Throw your bags in the car post-hike and head west on Highway 116 toward the Pacific. The road snakes and weaves in tandem with the river for a 20-minute stretch until, finally, the trees fade away and you find yourself face-to-face with the Pacific. Dainty clusters of cottages and unassuming shops along the cliffs make up the town of Jenner, California, a favorite hideaway that has (miraculously) remained unspoiled by tourists. Treat yourself to lunch with a view at River’s End Restaurant (and keep an eye out for sunbathing seals on Goat Rock Beach just below), before embarking on the next leg of your road trip.

Drive south along Pacific Coast Highway—maybe detouring through the headlands of Sonoma Coast State Park—and take in the boundless ocean views until you reach Bodega Bay, a 30-minute jaunt from Jenner. Yet another highlight of the PCH route north of San Francisco, Bodega Bay draws significantly more visitors than Jenner: It’s home to a handful of beloved restaurants, including Michelin-starred Terrapin Creek Cafe & Restaurant, and sits right on the migratory path for gray whales. Park at the start of the trail at Bodega Head and follow the mile-long path atop the cliffs. Gray whales make their appearance closest to shore from March through June, and pass again in October and November—during these periods, volunteers along the trail help visitors spot whales, and answer questions. The rest of the year, the trails are still worth a stop for the views alone.

If timing lines up, grab dinner at Terrapin. If you find yourself leaving Bodega Bay on the earlier side, don’t worry—you won’t go hungry. Drive 30 minutes to Nick’s Cove, where you’ll stay tonight. The accommodations are made up of Instagrammable stilted cottages that sit on the pristine Tomales Bay, and sunset from your private porch or soaking tub will easily be a highlight of the trip. Nick’s Cove has a restaurant just steps away, and most items on the menu are fresh catches plucked straight out of the water.

From the river to the sea: driving north of San Francisco.


Day Three: Kayaking, Oysters, and Mead & Cheese

Get a head start on the day and kayak out onto the still morning water in front of your cottage. Blue Water Kayaking offers rentals and guided tours; spend your first half of the day with them (arrangements can be made through Nick’s the evening before). There are more than 2,000 wildlife species along Point Reyes National Seashore, and the hawk-eyed guides will help you spot dozens of them. After you’ve worked up an appetite, pack your bags and follow Highway 1 south to Hog Island Oyster Co. for lunch. This simple outdoor setup has a full-service Boat Oyster Bar where you can dine on freshly shucked oysters, local cheeses, and fresh salads; or you can hunker down in the Shuck-Your-Own picnic area and put yourself to work. Book in advance and you can also take a one-hour tour of the oyster farm itself. When Hog Island gives you the boot (they have a hour-and-a-half time limit on tables), continue down the road to the hamlet of Point Reyes Station. This small speck on the map is the connecting hub for Marin county’s outer farmlands, and has quickly become a mini gourmand mecca.

First stop here: Heidrun Meadery, one of several mead-brewers (yes, mead) coming onto the scene in a revival of this medieval bev. Derived from fermented honey (they have their own hives on-site), Heidrun’s champagne-style mead is delicate in flavor. If you’re the one manning the wheel on this road trip, grab a bottle to take home or sip a glass of their lower-BAV mead; others should take advantage of a tasting and explore they range they offer. Finally, make your last indulgent stop at Cowgirl Creamery’s original creamery and cheese shop, located in a restored barn in the center of town. Take the cheesemongers’ advice on which to sample, and see why San Franciscans delight when spotting Cowgirl on a menu. On Fridays, Cowgirl offers official tastings for just $5, but you can sample a few and buy snackable slices any day of the week.

Oysters, mead, and cheese under your belt, follow Highway 1 back to San Francisco—even if Waze tries to guide you on a quicker route. As you sail down the hills of Marin, taking hairpin turns back toward the Golden Gate Bridge, the lights of San Francisco will slowly twinkle into sight, welcoming you back.