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Sunday, May 13, 2012

My Wine Road Journey Through Sonoma County - Part 1

Welcome the world of the Wine Road aka "Heaven Condensed"
I was invited to join a group of eight other bloggers on a three day retreat to Northern Sonoma County and the operative word here is treat. Before during and after this trip I kept saying "Pinch me" because the wine country is like a dream to me. The world class wines are only the beginning for me. My affection for this area extends to the architecture, food and rustic rural lifestyle. I have done some blogging for a few clients of Wagstaff Worldwide and this time we were hosted on this retreat by their client called Wine Road. Wine Road is literally not a physical route but a collective of 150 wineries and 50 lodges in three major appellations (regions) called Alexander Valley, Dry Creek Valley and Russian River Valley that make up the Northern Sonoma County. This legendary wine country is about fifty miles north of San Francisco.

If you are a wine lover, then you must check out the substantial savings offered at Wine Road. The tasting fees at most wineries range from $5.00 to $15.00 and a three day Wine Road pass costing just $50.00 will waive these tasting fees at fifty of their participating wineries. If you are only tasting for a day, the pass is just $25.00 and either option also includes purchasing discounts of 10 to 20%. Wine Road's fifty lodging members also offer similar savings on accommodations. For details on these Wine Road discounts click here.

We arrived on Monday about noon and our first stop was at my room at the incredible Farm House Inn in the Russian River Valley enclave of Forestville. Judging a book by its title I was expecting rustic but was I ever surprised. The Farm House Inn is at the intersection of rustic and luxury. It is the brainchild of a brother-sister team of Joe and Catherine Bartolomei who are Sonoma natives from a long line of wine country farmers, winery and vineyard owners.

7871 River Road in Forestville, CA
The Farm House Inn also boasts a Michelin starred restaurant that sits right at their front entrance. I did not get a chance to try their dinner menu but definitely got a taste of their excellence both mornings at breakfast.

Farm House Inn Restaurant
Our first breakfast began with a freshly baked Banana Walnut Muffin with fresh pears, yogurt and granola. I chose the Huevos Rancheros for my entrée which featured perfectly poached farm-fresh eggs, black beans, chorizo, queso fresca, avocado, housemade salsa on a fried tortilla. These amazing breakfasts are complimentary for guests of the inn.

Freshly baked banana muffins fill both the restaurant air and your senses. 

Perfectly ripe in-season pears, yogurt and housemade granola
Huevos Rancheros and Farmhouse Potatoes

Also staying at the Farmhouse Inn was blogger, Amy Sherman. On day two Amy tried the Corn Waffles and I had the Farmhouse Frittata. Both were so delicious that I just had to give you a peak.

Corn Waffles with bananas, caramel sauce, candied pecans, chantilly and Chicken Apple Sausage

Eggs, asparagus, onions, mushrooms, gruyere served with cherrywood smoked bacon and potatoes.

Leave it to a foodie like me to start talking about the food even telling you about the amazing room I had. :) I was given a room in what they call the barn. It is a two story structure with a barn shaped roof in the back section of the property. The vibe here is rustic yet superbly clean and with every possible amenity you could desire.

When my foodie friend and blogger, Stacie Tamaki, first saw my spacious room she said, "It's like walking into a Restoration Hardware catalogue." Here are some photos I took with my iPhone camera and a fish eye lens.

Spacious living area with sofa and desk.
The bed, amenities and comfort are all KING SIZE.
 Fireplace serves bedroom and patio. Theatre with surround sound audio system
Huge bathroom with walk-in steam shower and whirlpool tub

The beautifully manicured grounds, spa, large swimming pool and even a fire pit are all part of the Farmhouse Inn experience. My stroll to breakfast each morning took me through this incredible property.

My take away from being a Farmhouse Inn guest is their acute attention to details. At check in they asked me if I'd like "turn down" service. When they explained that turn down service included nightly snacks in the form of cookies I quickly checked yes. Not only did great freshly baked cookies appear in my room but also some tasty mini cupcakes as well. Here are just a few scenes from what greeted me at the end of the day.

Cookie bucket and reminder of cold milk in the fridge.
Mini cupcakes under the Dome of Love
The famous Farmhouse Spoon even decorates the sweet treats
My only disappointment at the Farmhouse Inn was not being able to try their gourmet s'mores at the fire pit. Their handmade ingredients tempted me in the lobby and were complete with toasting skewers ready for the flames. However, every night I got back to my room too late and too full from the day long indulging. I will just have to fantasize about them with this photo from their website and plan more carefully on my next trip.

My parting shot is of me chilling out as I often did just being at this incredible property. If you have a hankering for pampering, the Farmhouse Inn is the real deal. Extraordinary is the norm here. Rush to the Russian River then be ready to relish in rest and relaxation.

Huge Thanks to the Wine Road and Farmhouse Inn!

Farm House Inn
7871 River Road
Forestville, CA 95436

1 comment:

  1. Those cupcakes were just too perfect! Your morning light picture did them justice. Was definitely worth the wait to eat them to get that shot under the cloche.

    I still can't get over what a gorgeous venue the Farmhouse Inn is. Lucky you to be able to enjoy their countless amenities :D