Wine Events at the Heart of Russian River Winters

Before we were blessed with children, we identified as wineauxs. Our domestic and international travel generally revolved around tasting wine in some exciting new wine region. Then kids. Over the years we have developed a few strategies keep the children entertained while we wine taste and we have found some great kid-friendly wineries. But alas, the kids just tolerate our wine tasting adventures and we are generally limited to one or two tasting rooms depending on the kids mood. So one of our favorite things to do is pack the kids off to the grandparents and spend the weekend wine tasting at Winter Wineland!

The Wine Road Podcast yesterday reminded me that Winter Wineland is coming in only one week and inspired me to get a post up highlighting all the great fall and winter wine events in the Russian River area. Most of these wine events are adults only but at the end of the post I highlight a few great kid-friendly holiday wine events that we discovered this year.

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Six Best Winter Activities Along the Russian River with Kids

The Russian River area can be enjoyed by kids and adults all year round, even in the wintertime. You just have to know what to look for and that is why we decided to come up with a list of the six best kid friendly winter activities along the Russian River.

The winter around here is generally mild and it doesn’t snow but it rains a fair amount and has a tendency to be soggy at times. But if you are prepared with some hiking boots or rain boots and some warm layers then you are good to go! However sometimes folks just don’t want to venture out into the muck so I have also included some unique indoor activities you and your family can also enjoy.

Continue reading “Six Best Winter Activities Along the Russian River with Kids”

Russian River Girls Getaway Weekend

You know what? Being a supermom is exhausting! For me, life is a whirlwind of shuttling kids around, packing and unpacking for weekend adventures, oh, and trying to work too. My annual girl’s weekend is the beacon of tranquility that gets me through when it all seems too hectic. A few moments reminising about my last trip away from the kids and husbands refreshes my step. My go to memory is recalling the scent of the pinot noir wafting up from my glass while we girlfriends relax in the gardens at Lynmar Estates. Our conversation drifts from venting about husbands to giggling like the kids we left at home with their dads. But the number one rule is that whenever the converstion turns back to the kids it is time for a refill or a new destination.

Moms gotta get out of town sometimes. We need to bond with our girlfriends, sleep in, and do grown-up stuff and build the memories to get us through the upcoming months. All that chasing kids and preschool tuition makes a nearby weekend getaway to the Russian River just the right thing.  So you don’t have to spend that precious time planning, I created an itineary with some of our favorite destinations from previous girl’s weekend getaways. Summer is prime time on the river so I prefer fall and spring as the crowds are gone and everything is more mellow.

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Fresh Dungeness Crab in Bodega, A Holiday Meal to Remember

Turkey, ham, and prime rib may be the meal that comes to mind around the holidays but San Franciscan’s and Northern California chefs know that the easiest way to have an amazingly memorable holiday feast is with dungeness crabs fresh off the boat. Dungeness crab season varies each year but generally runs from  November to June; just in time for Thanksgiving! While I have been scheming for a few years to get a crab pot and try my luck at kayak crab fishing, it just hasn’t worked out. That however, is to my kids benefit because our family traditon has evolved to making a family excursion out to the crab boats where the kids can pick out the fiestiest crabs right from the fishermen.

This year we turned our annual crab feast into a local food holiday get together. We headed up to Guerneville and invited the extended family to stay with us at the Lucky Bend Lookout vacation rental overlooking the Russian River. Between the Russian River Valley wineries, the western Sonoma bakeries, and Bodega commercial fishery we had fresh everything at our table. Read on for our guide on where to get every thing you need including our recipe for reliable steaming. Continue reading “Fresh Dungeness Crab in Bodega, A Holiday Meal to Remember”

Russian River Valley Wine Tasting by Bike Path, Take the Kids too!

Before kids, our favorite wine tasting adventure was to rent a tandem bike at Spoke Folk Cyclery (201 Center St, Healdsburg) in Healdsburg and ride out on West Dry Creek Road and return by East Dry Creek Road. We always started with the west side because the narrow road with no shoulder didn’t leave much room for our fellow wine tasters to drive their cars in the afternoon after a few wineries.

Wine tasting by bicycle is great but wine tasting by bike-path without worrying about fellow winetasters behind the wheel of cars is fantastic. This itinerary makes for a perfect family winetasting trip so bring the kids. Continue reading “Russian River Valley Wine Tasting by Bike Path, Take the Kids too!”

Gravenstein Apple Picking Adventure for the Whole Family

What if you could enjoy all the apple goodness of Apple Hill without all the people, traffic, and that drive up I-80? Only an hour from San Francisco and 20 minutes from Guerneville and the Russian River Resort Region lies the Gravenstein Apple region. Well before western Somoma County was a wine region of international repute, it was one of the world’s premier cider apple regions. The Gravenstein apple, an edible cider apple from Denmark, is the premier apple in the region for which highway 116 is named. Famed horticulturist, Luther Burbank praised the apple saying,

“It has often been said that if the Gravenstein could be had throughout the year, no other apple need be grown.”

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Jenner Headlands Preserve Kids Loop

Thanks to very active nonprofits like The Wildlands Conservancy and the Sonoma Land Trust, Sonoma County is constantly opening new public open space with robust trail systems and fantastic recreational opportunities. The newest park in the county can also lay claim to the best views. Overlooking the Rusaian River estuary and the rugged Sonoma Coast seastacks, Jenner Headlands Preserve just opened providing a range of trails suitable for the little ones all the way up to trail runners headed to the top of adjoining Pole Mountain Preserve. Dean, 5 years old, and Raylah, 7 years old, had a great time hiking thanks to a wide variety of activities that kept them entertained while mom and dad reveled in the panoramic views. Continue reading “Jenner Headlands Preserve Kids Loop”