My recent trip to Sonoma was a nice mix. Our base camp was Occidental, a charming little township founded in 1876 on the Bohemian Highway. This road travels through 10 miles of eye-popping scenery, including giant redwoods, sun-drenched pastures, historic apple groves, and three lovely towns — Freestone and Monte Rio on the ends, and Occidental in the middle.
Occidental was an ideal staging area, just 60 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge and convenient to the Russian River wineries and the rugged Sonoma Coast.
We stayed at The Inn at Occidental, a first-rate 16-room Victorian bed and breakfast in the heart of town. Each room has its own theme and is decorated with original folk art and antiques. The owners and hosts were super friendly and helpful when planning where to eat and spend you time wine tasting or sight seeing the incredible countryside.
Our bedroom suite was spacious, with a sitting room, and beautifully appointed with comfy robes, a fireplace and a spa tub for two. The inn also provides a wonderful gourmet breakfast and an evening wine and cheese offering to its guests.
From the inn you can stroll the tiny town, browsing several art and craft stores as well as other quaint shops selling all kinds of weird, wacky and wonderful stuff. (One shop turns all sorts of discards into lamp bases.)Throughout the year, the town is home to entertainment events , including concerts featuring locals and world-famous jazz, folk and classical artists.
The handful of fine dining and family-style restaurants are within a stone’s throw of each other, as are a handful of motels and B&Bs that dot the perimeter. There are several restaurants in the area where fine dining and casual meet the road.
We had an excellent culinary experience at the Bistro des Copains, a casual dining gem just a half a block from our inn. See my review.
We had a wonderful experience at the Inn and would join the many regulars who return year after year.