Every now and then you come upon a cool little spot that makes you want to keep it all to yourself so that it does not get overrun. Unfortunatly the temptation to share is always too strong for me. I want others to enjoy the places I discover and Cafe Aquatica in Jenner is absolutely worthy a stop if you are craving a great cup of coffee or a light snack.
Only a few miles from Bodega Bay, Jenner is a tiny town with a population of around 136 people. Perched on a bluff above where the Russian River meets the sea, Jenner has beautiful views, amazing sunsets and world class birdwatching. Every spring the ocean waves and the rivers flow create a large sand spit at the mouth of the river Russian River Estuary home to pacific harbor seals, pelicans, ospreys and great blue herons. All of this is what you see while sitting and sipping your coffee at Cafe Aquatica.
Every Sunday morning for years I would be at the “No Name Flat” trailhead at 8 o’ clock sharp (…everyone who knows me knows this means 8:10, at least) to meet up with friends and dogs for the weekly hike around the “Half a Canoe” loop. The hike starts out at elevation with about a half mile approach until you reach the trail proper–at this point you are treated to a spectacular vista over the Warm Springs arm of Lake Sonoma and out West towards the ocean. Turn right here for a gentle 3 mile descent to the lakeside. If you have dogs under voice control there are a few good beachy spots where you can lob a tree limb out for them to fetch.
Now — after a couple hundred yards by the water — this is where the fun begins, a strenuous, steep 15-20 minute climb back up to the ridge. There are shaded picnic tables close to the top which make for a good point to regroup and wait for stragglers, and then it’s an undulating meander along the ridge with more great views and back to the approach.
Depending on how vigorously you bust it out, the hike usually comes out at just under two hours. Avoiding the heat of the day start at 8:00 AM and you might reap the benefit of a gentle marine layer fog, but if you go out in the evening to be back by dark you’ll likely catch a spectacular sunset over the Coastal Range. Call the Ranger Station at the foot of the dam (707) 431-4533 if you want to snag a walk-in or boat-in camp site, or try the Recreation.gov website (1-877-444-6777), for car camping or RV’s at Liberty Glen.
Another Perfect Day According To Me
A little side story… When I was young I contracted a very serious illness that stripped me from experiencing life as a normal teenager and left me not walking for years. I obviously felt miserable, limited, not free. Years later after many surgeries and feeling never the same, but a lot better, I promised myself a life full of adventures, travel, and as many perfect days as possible.
Well, this one goes down for the ages. It was a simple day involving me riding my vespa to Bodega Bay along the Pacific Coast Highway. The route spans miles of rugged beaches and sandy coves, some of the best in California.
Onward to the town of Marshall where the Hog Island Oyster Farm resides. It is here where I bought 2 dozen Sweet Water Oysters to go and found a peaceful, quiet cove where I built a tiny fire for an oyster barbecue. The rest is history and the pictures tell the best stories.
By: Tanya Gnida
Wine Country to the Rescue – July 16th
Join us as we celebrate Geyserville Fire who has been protecting Wine Country for over 100 years.
Wine Country to the Rescue will be a must attend event of 2016. Set in the beautiful Dry Creek Valley at the base of Lake Sonoma Damn. Starting at 5pm just as the Summer heat begins to fade, and the cool evening breeze comes across the lake and down Dry Creek Valley. This will be a picture perfect evening. Food will be prepared under the watchful eyes of Northern Sonoma County firefighters who at times are more well known for their cooking than anything else. Dinner will be served between 6pm and 8pm. Branded will start playing at 6pm and will play up until the end of our evening at 10pm. When you are not enjoying the amazing food, the multitude of wines from area wineries or mingling with friends both old and new make sure you come by the silent auction tent and find something you like before 8:45pm. Please don’t be in the silent auction tent at 8pm, you will want to be in your seats or near the stage where State Senator Mike McGuire will lead our live auction. This will be a memorable event you want to miss. Tickets are $45.00 each. Don’t wait to buy tickets. Last year’s event sold out. Sponsorship tables are available.
Riding Geyser Road and Rockpile
I just returned from my first cycling excursion to California, which tied in nicely with the Tour of California stage at Santa Rosa. I am a nubie on the cycling front, celebrating my first year in June of riding, but in this short time I have found hill riding the most enjoyable and rewarding for losing weight (which is why I fell into cycling initially), and getting above a place to see it anew. When I first arrived to meet up with my friends Tanya and Deb, I met up with T (Tanya) at Locals Tasting Room in Geyserville. I was directed for my first ride toward Geyser Road and the climb that bears the same name. I was fresh off driving from Ashland, Oregon that day and this was my wake up.
It was breathtaking on both getting vertical, and seeing the valley below as well!
The next day it was Rockpile with some cycling friends of Tanya’s led by Patty Phillips. The ride was again, very vertical, wonderful in vistas seen and my senses, smells, sounds, temperature all waking me up and challenging me to pay attention. It was something truly amazing to see and experience. Wonderful roads, better than home, being Seattle. The scent of wine, or the blossoms, filled my senses. It haunts me today, in a very positive, lovingly held memory. I next did a ride out to the coast thanks to Tanya suggesting a route from Occidental out on Coleman Valley Road to Hwy 1 and then back using Bohemian Hwy for my return. One word for the ride, breathtaking! You get it all on this route, shade, grand tree style with Redwoods, then some climbing, following some of the Santa Rosa stage of the Tour of California and then opening up to a view of the ocean and Hwy 1. Simply some of the most stunning riding I’ve ever had the pleasure of doing in this short span of mine.
Last Spring I took a little side trip with some friends to spend a few days in Anderson Valley. We drove about an hour north from Geyserville through beautiful scenery to get there. The region is most known for its Pinot Noirs and growing some of the best Pinot grapes around.
We checked into the Boonville Hotel, run by Johnny and Marcus, two very lovely gentlemen. The hotel has a charming, rustic feel and we got to stay in some of their super cool bungalows. I felt like I was away at a very expensive summer camp.
After checking in we went out to do a bit of wine tasting. Our first stop was Baxter Tasting Room. The owner Phil Baxter happened to be in that day and he is a friend of ours as well as a fantastic winemaker. We tasted through his pinots and of course purchased a few bottles.
Just up the road is another awesome winemaker, Toby Hill, who makes Phillips Hill Pinot Noirs. He has a very rustic and warm tasting room, run by another old friend Mark Fredrick. Mark is super knowledgeable about wine, and just about everything else. It’s always a treat to taste with Mark.
And last but not least, no trip to the Anderson Valley is complete without a visit to Roederer! A lovely tasting room with beautiful grounds and spectacular views. It’s a great place to end your tasting day with a bottle of bubbles!
So get to the Anderson Valley when you can, it’s worth the trip.
Who doesn’t want to fly a kite? Do you remember how fun it is? I do. There I am in the picture above with my Dad at Jones Beach in Long Island, NY. He is teaching me how to fly a kite for the first time. It was a seminal moment in my childhood where the real meaning of life exists. I felt the confluence of complete joy and freedom. Do yourself a favor and pack the car with family and friends and revive an emotional landscape from your childhood while giving birth to new experiences and memories.
Event: Castles and Kites
Place: Doran Beach Park, 201 Doran Beach Park in Bodega Bay
Date and Time: Saturday, May 7, 2016 11:00 am – 4:00pm
This event is FREE
Craft Beer in the North Bay
I recently returned from a great trip to Seattle to visit my son. I was amazed at the number of breweries there were there. Not being much of a beer drinker, breweries are not usually something I pay much attention to but my interest was piqued because of my son’s interest and knowledge about the different styles of beer. As with anything like this there was a lot to learn. I came back to Sonoma County slightly better educated about. I even learned that at one point Lagunitas was threatened with a lawsuit over their brewery’s trademarked “420” pale ale and they dropped the reference to 4/20.
If you are visiting Sonoma County there are many great breweries to explore. Its not just about the wine anymore. Close to us here in Geyserville is the Bear Republic Brewing Company. They are one of the originals on the North Bay craft beer scene. Most famous for Racer 5, my husband’s preferred beer, the Healdsburg location offers a surprisingly diverse selection of tasty beers. www.bearrepublic.com