On the map, Occidental may look like a mere blip on your vacation screen – a place to pass through on your way to other destinations. But in reality those quirky, small town sensibilities create the perfect environment for artists, and art lovers, to thrive by owning shops and galleries. If you poke around the shops that line this historic main street, you’ll find an amazing array of artistry, from baskets woven of redwood shards to museum quality hand blown glass. Come take a virtual tour with our guide to shopping in Occidental:
Sit back and relax in a redwood forest within the heart of Wine Country at The Inn at Occidental.
At the intersection of art and fashion you’ll find designers whose craftsmanship and creative vision are so rich, innovative and sophisticated that you could be excused for calling their work “wearable art”. Healdsburg’s town square is home to some museum quality examples – including cool and classic looks to those with more eclectic, global vibes. Best of all, you could find yourself actually talking to the designer, gathering the background information on each garment - from the sources of materials to the sewing techniques and the inspiration behind the piece.
When was the last time that you felt you were in the right place… at exactly the right time? River’s End Restaurant and Inn offers you that opportunity, nightly, on the stunning Sonoma County coast.
Begin with a restaurant reservation for a romantic meal while watching a spectacular sunset over the ocean from your table. You’ll find the menu and wine list to be eclectic and global in inspiration, with fresh and locally sourced ingredients.
Feeling inspired by Sonoma County’s creative and world famous cuisine? Want to duplicate that experience when you return from your visit?
You can, of course, have your favorite foods shipped to your home. OR… you can make them yourself with a little help from some specialty shops that offer everything from tools and recipes to hands-on classes, learning the ropes alongside local experts in the field.
All snug in western Sonoma County, the Case Ranch Inn bed and breakfast in Forestville offers all the longed-for elements of a wistful “coming home” dream.
From the wraparound front porch and wicker furniture to the cozy bedrooms and bountiful breakfast, everything seems to reflect the sense of security, comfort and warmth that are the stuff of movies: Picture the late Victorian parlor of I Remember Mama or Aunt Em and Uncle Henry’s farm house from the Wizard of Oz.
Nestled between the redwoods is a classic russian river resort in the town of Guerneville known as the Woods Resort, a relaxed and rustic destination for generations of visitors seeking the perfect summer getaway. And its popularity has never waned – the river offers public beaches for sunning and swimming as well as kayaks, boats and canoes that invite fishing and exploration along the meandering waterways.
The Bay Area, and Sonoma County in particular, is home to a vibrant and growing contingent of creative entrepreneurs, artists and craftsmen who believe quality trumps quantity, personal touch is more interesting than rubber stamp production, and that “locally made” is a greener choice than imported. It’s a philosophy that spans the making of everything from food and wine to home furnishings and fashions at the Made Local Marketplace.
The Avalon Bed & Breakfast in Sebastopol has a storybook charm like no other. Imagine being fortunate enough to have friends who live in wine country – specifically in a charming English Tudor-style home nestled deep in a forest of towering redwoods, oak, madrone and fragrant bay. Now picture those friends inviting you to visit, then setting out to make sure you felt completely relaxed and delightfully pampered during your stay.
Did you know that Northern California is home to the biggest "Little Shop of Horrors" in America, better known as California Carnivores? I had to go check it out for myself recently, and discovered this remarkable carnivorous plant shop tucked away from the busy traffic of Highway 116, just outside of the city limits of Sebastopol.