We have just returned from a "beyond" fabulous time over looking the Russian River in California. EVERYBODY needs to put this place on their "Bucket List". Never in our wildest dreams did we think that it would be that magnificent!
The Village Inn Guest House/ Restaurant/Bar is nestled in along the banks of the Russian River in Monte Rio, California just 15 miles inland from the coast and about 70 miles north of San Francisco.
The Village Inn Guest House has been around since 1906 and was the location for the Bing Crosby / Fred Astaire movie, HOLIDAY INN which was made in 1942. We actually thought that when we woke up in the middle of the night that we heard Fred dancing and Bing crooning!
The Guest House features two main buildings and a total of 10 accommodations. Everything is done perfect here. The owner, Mark Belhumeur is the "perfect" host. Guests keep returning year after year and we can certainly understand why.
You sleep under the towering Redwoods and just a few feet away is the Russian River calmly going down stream. You sleep on the finest European-style organic mattresses and bedding. Most rooms have stunning panoramic river views with private balconies. All rooms have Wi-Fi, cable TV/refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker, iron, hair dryer and quality amenities. You will feel as thou you have died and gone to Heaven when staying here. THANKS Mark for being such a great host and owner as well as being so professional and friendly!
Besides the Guest House there is also a 5 star restaurant that serves dinner nightly. The restaurant has been voted the best romantic, the most scenic as well as the restaurant with the most ambiance in the greater San Francisco area. One can either dine inside in one of two dining areas or al fresco within a few feet of the Russian River. One dining room is filled with priceless art work.
Executive Chef William Oliver is the BEST! We have dined at restaurants all over the country and have never had a finer meal than when we dined here. He loves what he is doing and guests return all the time just to dine and sample his exquisite prepared dinners. Words cannot describe the flavor, texture and quality of dinners that he prepares.
We began with the Duck Confit Tostadas with Strawberry Mole, Catija Cheese and Confetti Slaw and followed by the Cedar Plank Bacon Crusted Salmon with Spaetzie, Pea leaves, Local Cauliflower and Chive Butter Sauce. For dessert the Creme Brulee and Sorbet. A finer dinner we have never had ! Thanks Chef William !
While we were dining we met a lovely and charming couple, Richard and Jennifer who had just returned from their Seabourn Luxury cruise around the world. He was dressed in his Burberry navy blue sport jacket and she looked ravishing wearing her Ferragamo shoes and carrying her Judith Leiber bag (not to be confused with a June Cleaver bag) ! As we recall, they were European Royalty but we cannot remember which country. Perhaps the Prince and Princess of Moldavia?
We simply cannot emphasize enough that you MUST stay at the Village Inn Guest House and dine in their restaurant. Diners from San Francisco drive all the way up there just to dine.
Their website is: http://www.villageinn-ca.com/ and their phone number is: 707-865-2304. Make your reservations for accommodations and for dining now as they book up very quickly.
While you are in the area, there are two very special places to check out.
Bodega Bay, California is just 15 miles west and located right on the coast. They have the most professional and friendliest Executive Director of the Sonoma Coast Visitor's Center that we have ever had the pleasure of meeting in our travels from coast to coast. Her name is Julie-Ann Hill. She loves her job and it shows. She will tell you all of the sights and things to do in the area.
Why can't all people who work at Convention and Visitor's Centers be as great as she is? To say that she is fabulous would be an understatement ! Email her at: [email protected] and she will send you lots of information of things to see and do while visiting the area, UNLIKE some other places who never send you anything.
Just about 5 miles to the East is the town of Bodega where Alfred Hitchcock filmed his famous movie, The Birds. You can visit the old church and school house that they used in the film. Be sure and visit the old Bodega Country Store which is located right downtown. It is filled with memorabilia from the movie. They also serve food and make the finest Crab and Mac & Cheese with Avocado that we have ever had in our entire lives! It is worth a trip to California just to eat that!
Michael is the owner and yes, you might just see Tippi Hedren coming into the store sometimes as she visits Bodega sometimes. Michael has done a remarkable job with the store as well as getting tourists coming to Bodega. Their website is www.bodegastore.com. And yes, we did purchase a black bird in the store.
THANKS Julie-Ann Hill and Michael for being so fabulously wonderful! After a fun afternoon of visiting the country side, then drive back to the wonderful Village Inn Guest House and Restaurant to enjoy a fine dinner and quiet evening.
Always remember to have fun when traveling, meet new people and talk to everyone!
TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD is written by Donald Pile and Ray Williams, Award-winning, Celebrity travel columnists who write for gay publications from coast to coast (And now legally married). Proud members of the IGLTA. You can email them at [email protected] and visit their website at http://gaytravelersataol.blogspot.com/