Play & Shop: The Russian River is hopping in August and Johnson’s Beach is the place to be. Decide your vehicle of pleasure and in minutes you can be tubing, kayaking or canoeing. Swimming and fishing are options, too. Claim your spot, spread out the blanket and have a good time.
If land sports are more your thing, then head north out of town about ten minutes to Armstrong Redwoods State Nature Reserve. Hike the trails, have a picnic and savor the serenity of the majestic Redwoods.
The cool climate of the Russian River AVA favors Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. In the early 1800s, Russian settlers from Ft. Ross ventured south and planted some of the first vines in Sonoma (hence the name of the river). Today find lush wines, including those at Korbel, minutes from Guerneville’s center.
Started by three brothers in 1882, Korbel now produces over a million cases annually. The time-honored tradition of méthode champenoise is the guiding principal of their California champagne production today. The grounds of the winery are spectacular – from the heavenly roses to the historic buildings made of handmade bricks and wood milled by the family. The property includes a railway stop that opened in 1876. There’s even a turret – a replica of a tower at a prison in Bohemia (now the Czech Republic) where one of the Korbel siblings was incarcerated.
In the bustling tasting room, there are a wide variety of delicious bubbles from which to choose. Be sure and try these California champagnes: Natural, Brut and the Blanc de Noirs.
Located minutes southwest of Guerneville in Monte Rio, the Northwood Golf Club is a 9-hole gem. Designed in 1928 by the legendary Alister MacKenzie, this one of a kind links unfolds along The River and under 150 ft. redwoods.
After a day playing in The River and tasting bubbles, unwind at the Applewood Spa. Melt during a Signature massage that eases muscle tension and soothes your body. For variety, add aromatherapy or warm river rocks.
There’s shopping at each of the Play spots and antiques and assorted collectibles in stores along Main Street. For fun, check out the Sonoma Nesting Company and the 5 & 10. There also is a very active artists' community in and around Guerneville. Enjoy Artwalk the first Friday of every month -- see the art and meet the artists!
OTHER ESSENTIALS: Special Events: Russian River Jazz & Blues Festival (September 20 and 21); Russian River Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center; Johnson’s Beach; The Russian River Valley Wine Growers Association; Sonoma County Tourism
PATTY BURNESS can be found on Twitter at @pattygb