Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Special Place

Anderson Valley, Northern California, San Francisco, redwoods, wine, Boonville
Anderson Valley is one of Northern California's very special places.  Drive 3 hours north of San Francisco on Highway 128 and you will find a slow-paced valley of beautiful rolling hills and redwood groves, quaint towns and amazing wines!  It's the perfect place to escape the crowds and the summer heat of Napa Valley.  You will find little towns with names like Boonville (They even had their own language, "Boontling", in the late 1800's.) and Philo.  Don't expect Michelin starred restaurants and fancy inns.  This is an isolated destination for a wonderful escape.

Sonoma, Napa Valley, fog, chardonnay
Fog creeps into the valley from the ocean, keeping it much cooler than most of Sonoma and Napa counties.  It’s the perfect combination of climate and soil for great Chardonnays, Gewurztraminers, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noirs.  
The valley produces some of California's finest sparkling wines.

winery, Boonville, Pacific Ocean, Navarro, greenwood Ridge, Handley
You will find superb wineries as you drive west from Boonville toward the Pacific. Navarro, Greenwood Ridge, Handley, Husch and Roederer Estate, are just a few of the great producers.

Boonville, wine
The hamlet of Boonville.

camping, redwoods, Philo, Gowan's Oak Tree, peaches
Years ago we camped under the redwoods near Philo. We discovered “Gowan’s Oak Tree” and bought marvelous fresh peaches and wonderful apples.  I’ll never forget it!

Babydoll sheep, grapes Navarro Vineyards, wines
Little Babydoll sheep, a breed too short to eat the grapes, graze in the fields of Navarro Vineyards, one of my very favorites in the valley. It is family owned and committed to sustainability. You will not find their wines in stores so get on their mailing list. It’s always like Christmas when a shipment of their wines arrives.

redwoods, Hendy Woods, Paul Dimmick, picnic
Redwood parks like Hendy Woods and Paul Dimmick are perfect for a picnic in a majestic setting.

Albion River Inn, cliffs, Mendocino coast
After driving through Anderson Valley, stay the night at the Albion River Inn on the cliffs near the ocean.  It’s a very romantic inn with scenic vistas of the Mendocino coast and a great restaurant featuring local fish and fine wines from the county.
We loved it, but the fog horn near Albion may keep you up at night. Bring some earplugs.

Image credits: Lianne Milton, Rita Crane, Judith Calson, Jeremiah Murphy.

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