It’s another four day weekend and we are anxious to get away from home yet again. The office is closed down so nothing to worry about for the entire time!

It had been a while since we journeyed up to Northern California above San Francisco, so that was the plan for this trip.

From friends posting photos on Facebook, I become aware of some unknown hidden jewels  along the northern coast . So the first stop would be a little coastal area called Jenner Beach, then Bodega Bay, and, possibly Fort Bragg.

Not wanting to grind the first days , we decided to stay in Kettleman City just off from the Interstate 5.  It was strictly a half way point and only for sleeping. 

The next day we set out for Guerneville. Yes ,Guerneville…a place, I have never heard about but is actually pretty popular with visitors from San Francisco.  This peaceful little village would be our home base for a few days while we spent each day visiting those aforementioned coastal cities.  We choose Guerneville because it is next to the Russian River and along with our mostly planned beach activities, just maybe we could try some river fishing


A few miles from the 101 Freeway, Guerneville  (pronounced without the second ‘e’ )  is home to about 4,500 residents. This small and quirky town is situated in the Russian River Valley part of Sonoma County. 

The central area is a vibrant mix of unique shops and restaurants with colorful facades.

In parts,  we felt like we were in small town USA with old Rexall signs and theaters that looked like they were from the 60’s.  It was an eclectic mix of retro and now.  They even had a 5 & 10 market, one that you rarely see these days.

For wine lovers and beachcombers, more than 50 wineries are within a 20-minute drive while the coast is only about a half hour away.

On our first day in Guerneville, we set out down the road to a small sandy beach next to the Russian River to try our hand at fishing.  The slow moving river weaves around town under the watchful eye of the tall and majestic redwoods. Redwoods and an occasional tree changing color, makes for a stunning back drop.

The beautiful scenery made up for the lack of luck on the fishing line, not a nibble or a bite. However, river fishing isn’t our forte so we weren’t expecting much.   The locals told us that salmon and steelhead are what you catch mostly in these parts. It was still worth the time when you are out in nature  and in such an amazing setting.

On one of our days, we ventured up to Fort Bragg from Guerneville where our car’s GPS took us off the beaten path and through freshly blooming vineyards. The rows and rows of grapes were ablaze in color, while a newly launched hot air balloon was giving its passengers a thrill of a lifetime.

When you drive the other way, towards the coast, it is only 14 miles but it takes longer because of the zig-zagging roads, making for a slower pace.  Meandering through the two-lane road, you will pass by tiny communities and more of the towering redwoods.

The winter days in California are much shorter so we decided we had enough time and daylight hours left to head to the coast!   Now it was off to Jenner Beach!

See the Jenner story here:

Story and Photos by: Debbie Colwell

Parting Shots: Nearby Guerneville, an old theater still stand.


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