Friday, May 26, 2017


 We began our 3 PERFECT DAYS IN SONOMA COUNTY with our friend Irene Turner and her husband Ron Welsh at the wonderful Russian River Vineyards Restaurant in beautiful Forestville. Irene owns IT SONOMA STYLE, featuring interior design and real estate. We travel similar visual and spiritual paths. They brought an incredible Chenoweth Pinot Noir which we all loved!

 Ron and I enjoyed talking about music and our favorite guitar players. Ron owns Sonoma County Properties in nearby Graton. His family goes back over 7 generations in the Sonoma County and he really knows the area!

 Take a look at my heirloom beet salad topped with Nasturtiums.

We admired a colorful sunset and the fading light over the farm and vineyards. Thank you, Irene and Ron, for sharing part of your world with us. We loved our evening together and hope we can do it again soon!

 We stayed overnight in nearby Occidental. The town, founded in 1876, was a stop on the "North Pacific Railroad." By 1877 there were six lumber mills in the area and the train brought vacationers from San Francisco. The town has a funky vibe. When we first arrived it looked like it was filled with gray-ponytailed Deadheads.  

We explored early the next morning with hardly a soul in sight. We had a great breakfast at "Howard's Cafe." Love their pancakes! The "Occidental Community Church" in the background was built in 1876.

 When Marla and I dated, we used to have lunch at the historic Union Hotel with my parents, aunt & uncle, and my grandmother. Lunch on their outdoor patio is a treat especially when their roses are in bloom. They have a wood floored antique bar full of character. I remember having a drink there with my uncle many years ago. So many great memories here!

 Marla peeks in the windows of gift shops.

 Irene told us about the fabulous Wild Flower Bread in picturesque Freestone, just down the Bohemian Highway from Occidental, and we have stopped on every trip since. There was a huge line going outside the building waiting to buy their amazing bread and scones. They use Eucalyptus wood to fire their brick ovens. The bakery is only open Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, but is definitely worth a trip! We stocked up with a loaf of the Walnut Levain Whole Wheat Sourdough, a huge sticky bun, and a pear almond scone. I'm salivating as I write this!

 Their adjacent gardens are open to the public and we always love walking through them! 

 Our next stop was Bodega Bay on the coast. We love "Bodega Head" just out of town with great views. This is the perfect place to view the annual north-south gray whale migration during the winter months.

  We hiked up the hill to view the sea and the wonderful plants lining the hills. The air was so invigorating and the Negative Ions created by the pounding surf elevated our spirits. I am definitely in my happy place!

 We beachcombed (small rocks only) on a deserted beach just below our rental, 4 miles north of Bodega Bay. It was low tide so we explored tide pools filled with sea anemones.

 The beach was filled with colorful agates and jasper rocks. Marla wanted me to do a little beach interior design with this red stone.

Bliss is being next to the sea with someone you love, a great charcuterie tray, a local Sonoma County wine while watching seals offshore.
If you would like some advice on visiting fabulous Sonoma County email me at GENTRYCONNECTS@GMAIL.COM
Thank you, Irene and Ron, for spending time with us and sharing this very special slice of heaven!
 Sonoma County is a treasure of diverse scenery from Redwood forests, rustic seashore, tiny roads and historical building, fabulous wineries, and restaurants! 


  1. Looks like a wonderful trip Dick! I agree with you that the California coast and the pounding surf can elevate your spirits and is very invigorating! Thanks for sharing the places you love!