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Walnut Creek Magazine

Great Small Town Getaways - Forestville, CA

Mar 26, 2016 11:40AM ● By Fran Miller

By Fran Miller and Pam Kessler

Population: 3,293

Distance from WC: 76 miles

What your money can buy? Median home price: $306,799. Average listing price: $1.4 million. 

Home prices have appreciated 80% over the last five years. 

Just south of Healdsburg in the Russian River Valley lies low-key Forestville, whose vineyard vibe, coastal effect, and beautiful wooded forests have given the town its motto: “Where the Redwoods meet the Vineyards.” Forestville is best known for its celebrated Farmhouse Inn and Restaurant, a romantic boutique hotel with luxury amenities and a Michelin-starred restaurant. (

The once Bohemian enclave of Forestville has long attracted writers, artists and counterculture activists. But more and more, residents are noticing changes in their quiet town. While tie-dye is still around, well-heeled tourists now roam the streets where an old-time hardware store and pharmacy reside amongst bakeries and wine-tasting rooms. “Things are still calm here, and not yet overrun,” says resident Carol Edgar. “We’re what Sebastopol used to be.” 

 The town’s architecture is eclectic, modest, and friendly – a built-over-time mix of quaint, free standing buildings, some dating back to the turn of the last century. Bicyclists and hikers love the many miles of trail, and kayakers and canoers flock to the river. But increasingly, it’s the food that’s a draw. In addition to the artisanal cuisine at Farmhouse, the town boasts other notables – Canneti Roadhouse Italiana ( with its rustic Italian food and Backyard, an unassuming spot with a menu focused on hyper-local and seasonal ingredients and California cooking. (

Noted for its highly regarded sparkling wines, nearby Iron Horse Vineyards ( produces twelve different cuvées, as well as award-winning pinot noirs and chardonnays. High on the hillside, the winery is situated among a cluster of rustic, redwood barn-style buildings at the end of a one-lane road. For lodging, Farmhouse is the way to go. Proprietors Catherine Bartolomei-Smith and her brother Joe grew up in Forestville and know the area well, providing guests with an unforgettable weekend experience.

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