Sonoma County’s Bohemian Highway is one of the most scenic drives to be found anywhere in California. This special 10-mile roadway winds through towering redwoods, gorgeous pastures, rocky ravines, and three charming townships seemingly forgotten by time: Freestone, Occidental and Monte Rio.
Buffered from the extremes of the marine fog and inland heat, this corridor is a gem of benign climate and was one of the very first areas to be settled in the entire region. Today, a paradise for artists, and nature lovers, this special region has attracted a soulful community with a milieu all its own.
Here you will find organic farms and wineries, specialty nurseries, and all kinds of innovative shops and restaurants. It’s also a gateway to superb outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, zip lining with Sonoma Canopy Tours, and paddling.
Monte Rio joins the north end of the Bohemian Highway to the Russian River. Nestled amongst towering redwoods, the scenic Russian River, and within a 20-minute drive of the spectacular Sonoma Coast, Monte Rio is a perfect place to get away and enjoy Sonoma County country living.
The little town of Monte Rio boasts its own theater and movie theater, a golf course, tennis courts, fishing, a wide choice of dining, charming inns and hotels, a world-class wine and cheese boutique, and one of the Russian River’s largest public beaches where you can rent a kayak and enjoy river life. True to its historic sign, Monte Rio is a Vacation Wonderland.
Occidental is tucked in the redwoods between Freestone and Monte Rio. Originally the last stop west for the Pacific Railroad, Occidental now boasts a population of around 200 people living within the town boundaries.
Made up of new- and old-timers, Occidental is populated by a remarkable blend of people and hosts a variety of exceptional restaurants, unique shops, and a lively farm market on Fridays.
Occidental boasts excellent lodging in town near the shops and restaurants. The area is especially sought out by cyclist and car clubs for its central location and challenging routes between the coast and the redwoods.
Freestone is Sonoma County’s first historic district – home to a number of classic western-style buildings situated in an exquisitely scenic valley with supreme pastoral vistas and rolling hills.
Pomo Indians made their home here for centuries. Many artifacts of aboriginal people are found in mounds. Russians grew wheat in this valley in the early 1800s to support their northern settlements prior to the issuance of Spanish land grants.
The town was a center for harvesting and milling redwood and, in 1871, became a rail stop on the North Coast Pacific Railroad. Now with a population of 32, Freestone has a special charm all of its own with some delightful and unique attractions.
It’s home to Wild Flour Bread Bakery, which has been featured on CNN and is the delight to many area residents. Also, the Osmosis Day Spa is tucked into the countryside, offering the cedar enzyme bath – the only North American spa that offers this Japanese-style treatment.