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A Retreat For Your 5 Senses: The Gables Wine Country Inn

Stay at the gorgeous Gables Wine Country Inn in Santa Rosa, in central Sonoma County.

A truly luxurious retreat should engage and pamper all your 5 senses, and The Gables Wine Country Inn does exactly that in Santa Rosa, in central Sonoma County.

At The Gables, every detail is organized to create an atmosphere of gracious hospitality, with permission to drift into an almost timeless sense of quiet indulgence. It’s all part of the Gables experience, from the carefully curated appointments in each room to a world-class breakfast the next morning.

A little background: this 1870s High Victorian Gothic Revival farmhouse has been preserved in near pristine conditions — you’ll find the original marble fireplace surrounds that were carved and shipped from Italy to Sonoma County specifically for the building of this house. The ceilings are 12 to 14 feet tall with beautifully carved moldings around ceilings, floors, doors and windows. The famous gables, 15 of them, are atop tall, keyhole windows that look in every direction across hayfields and preserved wildlife space.

Actually, you could spend the better part of an afternoon just perusing the elements of grace and grandeur of the house and the quirky character of the outbuildings. As to those outbuildings, the redwood barn is one of the oldest in Sonoma County. Built in the 1850s, the barn still includes milking stalls that carry the names of each diary cow painted above, an enormous loft, and two stately barn owls that call the place home. Also included: a charming 1850s cottage and three-seater outhouse. All of it is situated on more than three acres of vegetable gardens, quiet deck and patio spots, a seasonal stream, and towering oak, redwood, and black walnut trees.

As to the rooms, you can choose from seven guest rooms that could rival a Downton Abby set for their elegant furnishings and luxurious amenities. Each guest room features a full-size claw foot tub with shower, cloud-soft goose down comforters for chilly nights, and silent central air conditioning for warmer evenings. The guest house offers a full kitchen, spa style whirlpool bathtub for 2, cozy loft bedroom, wood burning fireplace and space for a second couple to sleep downstairs.

Where this B&B excels is not only in the fabulously appointed furnishings but also in the attention to those sensual details that make a stay so memorable. This isn’t by accident. The owners, Larry and Pam Willis, have no interest in cutting corners when it comes to amenities.

The bath products, for example, are made in Sonoma from locally grown lavender — the scent is fresh and vibrant, not cloying like some artificially scented products. The soft, micro-fiber sheets come from a specialty bed linen company in Seattle. The produce is 90 percent local and as organic as possible. And the coffee … deeply rich and fragrant coffee … is shipped in regularly from the famous Community Coffee company in New Orleans.

Which brings us to breakfast. Larry and Pam should, in my opinion, open a restaurant. They are breakfast geniuses. Three course breakfasts begin with a bread, in my case a warm cherry and white chocolate scone slightly crispy on the outside with a melt-in-your-mouth buttery interior.

Next up: roasted fresh peaches with blackberries gathered the day before from the property. And the piece de resistance was a breakfast BLT. Of course this was not your typical BLT.

Larry topped ciabatta from Healdsburg’s Costeaux French Bakery with Zazu’s famous, thick-sliced Black Pig bacon, layered with arugula, balsamic roasted tomato, avocado aioli, and one perfectly poached egg — all topped with crimson threads of Korean chili flowers. To gild the proverbial lily, homemade peach and plum jam sat ready on the side for extra slices of toast.

And, of course, coffee. Really, really good coffee.

Like many local innkeepers, the hosts are more than happy to accommodate your dietary needs. They also offer five-course dinner and wine pairing specials in the off season with a two-night stay. Given the creative mastery of breakfast, I can only imagine what an amazing culinary adventure that would be. All this might explain the outstanding reviews and “Certificate of Excellence” given by Trip Advisor. 

One of the nice facets of visiting Sonoma County is the range of activities. The Gables is perfectly positioned to take advantage of all of them, being almost exactly in the center of Sonoma County. So you are within an easy drive of the ocean, small town boutique shopping, spa treatments, historic sites (including Jack London’s home in Glen Ellen), redwood forests, and over 250 wineries. And the inn is only a half mile away from the Taylor Mountain trailhead for those who want to bike or hike without a long drive.

Dinner options are abundant in the Santa Rosa area. Check out Ca’Bianca, a multi-region Italian restaurant located in a historic, beautifully restored Victorian. Or if you are in the mood for a casual and elegant French cuisine, try Bistro 29 for authentic Brenton fare. The innkeepers can steer you in any direction — literally — to find excellent dining from the coast to the vineyards of Sonoma!

The Gables Wine Country Inn, 4257 Petaluma Road, Santa Rosa, call 707-585-7777. 

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