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NOTE: This is an archive article. For an updated and expanded Russian River article click DailyXtraTravel
Scenic and rugged, the Sonoma Coast of the Russian River traces California's famous Napa Valley and the Valley of the Moon. Vineyards give way to majestic redwood groves
and magnificent resorts in the township of Guerneville. This enchanted getaway is about 70 miles north of SF. And what's in store? Hiking in the redwoods, horseback riding, canoeing, hot
air balloon rides, dining, dancing, live entertainment, wine tasting, romantic nights in front of a fire....
Located two blocks off Main Street in Downtown Guerneville,
Russian River Resort (16390 Fourth Street; 800-41-RESORT) offers 24 deluxe guest rooms, a large pool deck,
and two bars (the Promenade Pool Bar & BBQ and The Piano Bar). A varied roster of entertainment specials throughout the week makes this a true resort.
Perched above a mountain, Highlands Resort (14000 Woodland Drive; 707-869-0333) is a retreat on three wooded acres, a short walk from the action. Camping is permitted
for a modest fee.
Wine-country accommodations do not come any more relaxed or romantic than those at
Applewood Estate Inn (13555 Highway 116; 707-869-9093). This gay-friendly
retreat is a piss-elegant indulgence with a restaurant, pool, spa, solarium, and a spectacular garden.
If flush with cash, try the Boon Hotel+Spa (14711 Armstrong Woods Road, 707-869-2706) opened by two women and named for their dog in the renovated former Retreat Resort location.
Fern Grove (16650 Highway 16; 888-243-2674) has cottages with spa tubs, fireplaces and skylights, a heated pool, a short drive from ocean beaches and vineyard tours.
The Woods (16484 4th St; 877-887-9218) in downtown Guerneville amidst the redwoods not far from the river. They have cottages, cabins and full-amenity suites, plus one of the largest pools around.
Bars & clubs
Rainbow Cattle Company (16220 Main Street) is a spunky, rustic bar that extends a rainbow welcome to all from 6am "come hell or highwater!" This legendary daddy of
bars offers quart jars of Long Island Ice Tea, Rainbow Root Beer floats, and such. A new drink called Mad Cow is on the agenda at this "queer steer." A pool table
and outdoor patio are among the attractions.
Bar at Russian River Resort(16390 4th St) has the River's favorite poolside bar. At night there are drag shows and occasional comedy.
Coffee Bazaar (14045 Armstrong Woods) is a refreshing alternative to the Starbucks that are insidiously metastasizing the globe. Here you'll find indoor and outdoor seating
with offerings that include more than just coffee. Sandwiches, wraps, and light fare can be found as this community-oriented hangout.
Flavors Unlimited (16450 Main St) has coffee, tea, ice cream and frozen yogurt.