Perched along Austin Creek in a small valley in the coastal mountains of west Sonoma County, Cazadero is famous for the redwoods that stand sentinel over this small town (pop. 354), as well as for the bakery that draws a steady pilgrimage of travelers-in-the-know.
A family-owned lumber mill, Berry's Sawmill (23640 Highway 116, Cazadero, 707-865-2365), still cuts sustainably managed timber, keeping alive the town's lumbering traditions. And you can step back in time on the beautifully worn wooden floors of the 100-year-old Cazadero General Store (6125 Cazadero Highway, Cazadero, 707-632-5287), which stocks an array of everyday and luxury items.
Cazadero also boasts two churches, a post office, a fire department, and a shop that specializes in restoring old Jeeps. Several summer camps dot the surrounding hills, and just outside of town you'll find the CazSonoma Inn (1000 Kidd Creek Road, Cazadero, 707-632-5255), a sequestered bed and breakfast offering four uniquely appointed guestrooms and two cottages, with formal gardens nestled among the redwoods.
But the center of this small hamlet is Raymond's Bakery and Elim Grove Cottages (5400 Cazadero Highway, Cazadero, 707-632-5335), owned and operated by Mark Weiss. Named for his father, Raymond, the bakery draws afficionados who make the pilgrimage to Caz (as it's known to locals) to taste Raymond's focaccia, artisan breads, cakes, tarts, scones, and other baked delights. And on Friday nights you can enjoy wood-fired pizzas, drinks, and live music.
The cottages are named after the Biblical area of Elim, where the Israelites found refuge by springs of water in the wilderness. The name is apropos, as the site offers access to cool swimming holes along Austin Creek, perfect for a dip on a warm summer day.
So why head to Cazadero?
Maybe it’s to get away from the twittering crowds, with a relatively short drive to get there. Cell phone reception in Cazadero can be spotty – a perfect tonic to the hyper-connected world in which we live.
Here the tweets you should concentrate on are coming from the birds perched high above the forest floor, and you can facebook by cracking open a new tome and read it in the dappled sun next to a redwood tree.