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.

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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”

Relive the Lazy Life Floating the Russian River with Kids, a Complete Guide

Remember those carefree days when you could spend a whole day lazily floating on the water with your friends, drinking beer, and debating the topics of the day. It seems like ages ago that our kids came along and ended that kind of carefee tranquility. But finally, at ages 5 and 7, we have regained some of that spirit (but in much shorter doses)! The Russian River near Guerneville is a perfect place to rekindle those relaxing tube floats on the river. Here is how to pull it off! Continue reading “Relive the Lazy Life Floating the Russian River with Kids, a Complete Guide”

Fishing with Kids on the Russian River

We recently took the kids on a coho salmon hike organized by the Salmon Protection And Watershed Network (SPAWN) at Samuel P Taylor State Park. Seeing those huge red and white fish in such a small creek got us that got us thinking about the steelhead run in the Russian River right now. Our vacation rental, Lucky Bend Lookout, is actually named after the famous fishing hole the “Lucky Bend” just west of Guerneville just down river from old Summer Crossing Road. Last week we were delighted to chat with several anglers in hip-waders casting through the light fog into the brisk waters right behind our house. One fellow had landed a 18″ steelhead. The kids were mesmerized and amazed that they spent the summers swimming in the same waters from which this huge fish had come.

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