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Walnut Creek Magazine

Great Small Town Getaways: Geyserville & Forestville

Mar 24, 2023 09:37AM ● By Walnut Creek Magazine Team
Whether you're planning a quick day trip or a weekend adventure, spring is the perfect time to visit when the vines are starting to come alive and peak season crowds haven’t taken over yet.


Just 75 miles from Walnut Creek in the Russian River Valley lies picturesque Geyserville. Since the mid 1800’s this tiny town has attracted tourists for its geothermal hot springs. Today it’s a magnet for gourmet food, wine, art, and an abundance of outdoor activities.


Original brick buildings line the stoplight-free main drag filled with Bonanza-style storefronts from another era. Inside, you'll find wine-tasting rooms and delicious Italian cuisine at Catelli’s. First opened in 1936, this family-run trattoria is a Sonoma County institution for hand-made ravioli and lasagna. Steps down the street, Diavola’s wood-fired pizzas range from simple buffalo mozzarella to Ligurian clam.  For lunch, there are salads and panini, along with house cured salumi. 



For an upscale adventure, book a European-style cabin at Francis Ford Coppola Winery and luxuriate on chaise lounges at two large swimming pools. The property also boasts a movie gallery, bocce courts, “The Godfather” museum, and plenty of wine. Overnight accomodations in Geyserville include inns, vacation rentals, and campgrounds. 




 Tucked-away in the heart of Sonoma wine country lies low-key Forestville. Its vineyard vibe, coastal effect, lush vineyards, wooded forests earned this small town the motto: “where the river meets the redwoods.” This bohemian enclave has long attracted artists and counterculture activists for its laid-back style, but more and more, Forestville is attracting tourists for weekend getaways. 


Bicyclists and hikers love the many miles of trail, and kayakers and canoers flock to the river. And chefs are taking note of the quaint burg, setting up exciting new restaurants next to classic favorites. Proprietors Catherine Bartolomei-Smith and her brother Joe put Forestville on the travel map with unforgettable weekend experiences at Farmhouse Inn—a romantic boutique hotel with luxury amenities and a Michelin-starred restaurant. 


With its rustic Italian food and welcoming patio, Canneti Roadhouse is a popular spot for fresh pastas; fill your picnic basket at Nightingale’s with breads, cheese, and jam or grab focaccia sandwiches at Russian River Vineyards. 

Book a tasting appointment at Iron Horse Vineyards where top quality cuvées and award-winning pinot noirs are a hallmark. The Jackson Family Wines estate is also a special place to visit for views of their historic vineyards that produce acclaimed chardonnay. Home to more than 425 wineries, the wine tasting possibilities in Sonoma County are practically endless. 

Photos: Sonoma County Tourism

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