Is This the Most Romantic Hotel in Wine Country?

·Managing Editor

The most adorable little farmhouse in all of Sonoma County. (All Photos from Nick Aster on a Canon EOS 70D)

The Hotel: The Farmhouse Inn, 7871 River Road, Forestville, Calif.

Location: Located in Forestville (just 1 ½ hours north of San Francisco) in the heart of the Russian River Valley, the inn is literally minutes from hundreds of wineries. You can drive from San Francisco or fly into the local Santa Rosa airport.

The vibe: Wine country chic. The Farmhouse Inn is what happens when two fifth-generation Sonoma farmers and a Michelin-starred chef create a property together. This is the kind of place you could save for a special occasion — a birthday, an anniversary, or even a honeymoon. But it’s also the perfect spot to make the average weekend getaway feel much more exceptional. There is zero pretension here. Roll up in jeans or a cocktail dress and you will be treated exactly the same.

You feel at home from the second you step foot on the property. I immediately settled into one of the white Adirondack chairs on the front lawn and just gazed up at the yellow farmhouse, pretty certain I could happily spend the rest of my life there.

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A wine country twist on traditional biscuits and gravy. 

The food: Having Steve Litke, chef of the Michelin-starred restaurant, in the kitchen makes this a tough reservation to get, so make sure to book a table in advance even if you are staying at the hotel. Don’t miss out on Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit, a confit of rabbit leg, rabbit loin wrapped in applewood-smoked bacon, and roasted rack of rabbit with a whole-grain mustard sauce.

All the food served here is locally sourced from the owner’s ranch and other local artisan farmers, which means that the menu depends on what is in season. An affordable wine pairing allows visitors to taste some of the best wines the area has to offer. Reservations are required for dinner (starting at 5:30 Thursday through Monday), and a three-course breakfast is included in the room rates. Breakfast is best enjoyed on your private patio while wearing bathrobes.


Start your day with a strawberry bellini…..


Or an ooey gooey cinnamon roll. 

The rooms: The Inn offers 25 perfect rooms that look like they just popped off of the pages of a Restoration Hardware catalog. Each room comes equipped with a large jetted tub and sauna or steam shower.

You’ll never want to leave the fluffy feather bed with European linens and down comforters and you don’t have to because your fridge is stocked with enough local wines to make staying in sound like a great idea.


Helpful instructions.

What to do around here: This can easily be your starting point for a Napa and Sonoma wine-tasting adventure, but don’t worry if wine isn’t your thing. Take a hike through the Armstrong Redwoods, or meet with one of the inn’s six concierges to plan a customized excursion. Try its forage-table experience with a tour of Dry Creek Peach & Produce. During the tour, you’ll sip peach bellinis while wandering through the peach trees before heading into the Relish Culinary center for a chef-led instruction on making peach-basil jam.

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Don’t miss: S’mores! Guests can enjoy s’mores every night after dinner at the Farmhouse Inn’s fire pit. You’ll find gourmet Valrhona chocolate, house-made marshmallows, and delectable grahams at the check-in desk starting around 6 p.m. It’s a delightful adventure even when it happens to be raining (which it was when we were there).


Your very own s’mores bar. 


Wine by the fire pit…under an umbrella.

In the morning, ask if you can meet with breakfast chef Trevor to tour Farmhouse Inn’s chicken coops and collect fresh farm eggs before your three-course breakfast

How to relax: Is it a spa or a restaurant? Many of the treatments in the Spa at Farmhouse Inn by Francis & Alexander involve products harvested right on the property, from Spring Forest Honey to herbs grown in the garden. The newly renovated spa is located in the darling carriage house, and is so chic you might just want to spend the entire day there. Couples will definitely want to try the Roll in the Hay treatment, which begins with a couple’s spicy mocha scrub and an outdoor rinse. Next up, you cozy up alongside one another on a heated body pillow filled with aromatic herbs. The spa’s master of elixir (the greatest job title ever) has created a custom blend of aphrodisiac oils for your custom couple’s massage.


Go on, take a slice of lavender or avocado soap to take back to your room. 

You can even customize your in-room spa experience by visiting their Sonoma Bath Bar where you can fill up on seasonal scrubs, salts, milk bath and handmade olive oil bar soaps to take back to your private bath.

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What I loved: When I booked a room at the Farmhouse Inn, I had no idea I would be visiting there on the most romantic weekend of my life. I just thought we were escaping San Francisco for a night.

Then my boyfriend went and proposed to me on top of a mountain (Mount Tam) overlooking the ocean in a field of wildflowers. It sounds made up, but I promise it isn’t.


Spend a morning wandering lazily around the grounds. 

Soon after we enjoyed a picnic and headed to the Russian River Valley. As we were running late and I am unfailingly polite, I rang up the innkeeper to let her know we would be there just a little before dinner.

“I’m so sorry,” I said. “My boyfriend proposed. I didn’t know it was going to happen.”

She let out a wee shriek.

From then on, the hotel staff made certain that the night felt extra special. They crafted a special menu for us that read “Congratulations Jo & Nick,” and greeted us with bubbly pretty much everywhere we went.

Who you should know: Charlotte. She is the adorable black kitty who winds her way around like she owns the place. She’ll steal into your room and curl up on the bed (if you happen to sit on the floor and coax her).


This is Charlotte. She owns this place. 

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