GUERNEVILLEDine: Applewood Inn
A Michelin-star restaurant in a cozy French barn setting. applewoodinn.com.
Dream: Dawn Ranch Lodge
Luxury cottages, cabins, and chalets on the banks of the Russian River. dawnranch.com.
A day spa in a ? ve-acre sanctuary devoted to healing. osmosis.com.
More a settlement on the Russian River than a town, Guerneville, population 2,500, has more redwoods than residents and a 25-to-1 ratio of humans to wineries. Here you'll find more granola than gourmet.
The river draws many San Francisco weekenders in the summer, when it's dammed to create Johnson Beach, just a short walk from town, giving the area an old time resort feel.
Runners love Guerneville for 800-acre Armstrong Redwoods State Park Preserve, two miles north of town. A living reminder of the majestic primeval redwood forests that covered this area before logging began in the 19th century, Armstrong's well-marked dirt trails weave beneath ancient giants. The stillness, the silence and the thick fragrance of these trees, which grow over 100 feet tall, make for an incomparable running experience.
Get there by running up the bike path from town. There is no need to plan your route, as you can choose from a handful of trails at the park entrance, ranging from one to nine miles in length, across valleys or up in the hills, and so well-marked it's nearly impossible to get lost.
For an only-in-Guerneville tasting experience, drive or run along River Road to Korbel Champagne Cellars (korbel.com), located two miles east of town. Founded by Czech immigrants, Korbel vineyards have operated in Guerneville for 130 years, producing an inviting selection of award-winning bubbly.
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Jayme Otto, award-winning freelance journalist, writes about the people, places, ideas and events that are changing the way we think about our world. Find her at jaymeotto.com.