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Touring through the Russian River Valley? If you’re looking for a slice of ancient solace, turn north off the main drag in Guerneville, follow the signs to Armstrong Grove, and head for the hills.  Within minutes after leaving quirky Guerneville, you’ll enter a majestic grove of old-growth redwoods.   This is the forest primeval, a living experience of the Russian River area before commerce and logging arrived in the 19th century.

Bring a picnic and a bottle of wine.  Let yourself slip into the cool arms of an era gone for almost 1,000 years.  That’s how old many of these trees are.  Notice that redwoods grow in families.  The tallest may protect the 200-year-old upstarts.  We don’t know the dynamics of their family life!  We do know the very oldest coastal redwoods are 2,000 years old and, towering over the others, may stand as high as 350 feet.

The redwood pockets of Sonoma County are temperate rainforests.  But, just up the hill and out of their realm, you may find yourself beneath a buttery, hot sun.  When you visit these loving giants, dress in layers and prepare to breathe. Their scent is the stuff of dreams. And, prepare to listen to the passing of time as it walks amid these venerable trees.

While you’re in the area, here are a few places to consider stopping …

Korbel Champagne Cellars:

13250 River Rd.  Guerneville,  CA
Open daily 9 – 5 (may – Sept.)  9 – 4:30 – Oct.- April
World famous champagnes, wines, and brandy.  Gorgeous grounds.  Complimentary tours and tasting.

Iron Horse Winery:

Open daily 10 – 3:30
Serves prestige sparkling and still wines, using their own grapes.  Wine tasting.  Group tastings by appointment.   Beautiful setting.

Martinelli Winery:

Open Daily, 10 – 5
This is a family winery and vineyards.  A unique tasting room and gift shop inside a historic hop barn.   Wine tasting and food tasting in a homey environment.

Hop Kiln Winery:

6050 Westside Road, Healdsburg, CA, 95448
Open daily, 10 – 5
Historic ranch and landmark winery producing Hop Kiln and HK Generation wines.  Tasting room, marketplace, and incredible views.

Sheldon Wines:

6761 Sebastopol Ave., Sebastopol, CA 95472
Open Wed- Sun (summer) 11 – 4, (winter) 11-6
Micro-winery crafted, basket pressed, unfiltered tasty wines inside a railroad caboose.

Burke’s Canoes

8600 River Road, Forestville
Burke’s provides canoes, paddles and life jackets as you float leisurely downstream through the heart of the redwoods.  Sunny beaches, mountains, redwoods, great blue heron, osprey, river otters…  Get on the river and enjoy it!

Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary

209 Bohemian Highway, Freestone
A sustainably managed green spa, featuring the cedar enzyme bath.  Nurture you body and your spirit in this one-of-a-kind spa.