Situated on the Russian River and surrounded by distant mountains, Geyserville (pop. 862) will surprise you. Downtown is only one block long. As you meander along its wooden sidewalks past 19th-century false-front buildings, you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped back in time. But, as you’ll quickly see, this tiny spot is jam-packed with delectable eateries, winery tasting rooms, and diverting galleries and shops.
In Geyserville’s surrounding countryside you’ll also find many award-winning wineries, excellent B&Bs and inns, opportunities for outdoor adventure, and a modern casino.
Here are 5 fun ways to spend your time in Geyserville:
Go Swimming at Francis Ford Coppola Winery
Film director Coppola wasn’t exaggerating when he described his Geyserville winery as a “wine wonderland.” With a design influenced by Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens amusement park and awesome views guaranteed to take your breath away, family-friendly Francis Ford Coppola Winery (300 Via Archimedes, Geyserville, 707-857-1471) is all about having fun. Aside from the various wine-tasting venues, you’ll find two connected swimming pools bordered by European-style cabins with showers, a sunbathing terrace, a movie gallery, a performing arts pavilion, and a park with game tables and bocce courts.
The winery also serves as a museum, since Coppola’s movie memorabilia is housed here—including his Oscars, Marlon Brando’s desk from The Godfather, and the 1948 Tucker Sedan used in the movie Tucker: The Man and His Dream. Go swimming (the pool is open April to October), enjoy a tasting, take a tour, roll bocce, buy an exquisite gift in the shop, dine on something delicious. And if you hit it right, you just might catch a glimpse of Coppola himself.
Try Your Luck at River Rock Casino
This attractive, 62,000-square-foot gaming facility, open 24 hours a day, offers spectacular views of the Alexander Valley, live entertainment, and four dining venues, from full-scale buffet to quick snacks. River Rock Casino (3250 Highway 128, Geyserville, 707-857-2777) is home to more than 1,100 slot machines and 20 gaming tables, as well as a high-limit room and a penny slot lounge. A free Club Card earns player reward points, and frequent promotions and giveaways add to the fun. To learn more, read our feature article about River Rock Casino.
Celebrate the Outdoors at Lake Sonoma
Nestled into a valley overlooked by mountains and bordered by 50 miles of shoreline, Lake Sonoma was created in 1983 during the construction of Warm Springs Dam. It’s managed by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Lake Sonoma offers a diversity of recreational activities for public use. You’ll find secluded coves for boating, fishing in the stocked lake, areas for water-skiing and jet skis, boat and canoe rentals, an archery field, camping (both drive-in and boat-in), a public boat ramp, the full-service Lake Sonoma Marina (100 Marina Drive, Geyserville, 707-433-2200), more than 40 miles of trails (for hikers, cyclists and equestrians), swimming, a state-of-the-art fish hatchery, and picnic areas. Mill Brandt Visitor Center (3288 Skaggs Springs Road, Geyserville, 707-431-4533) contains cultural and natural history exhibits about the Dry Creek Valley, and offers tours of the fish hatchery and ranger-led programs.
Check out the Western Downtown
It’s only a few blocks or so long, but “downtown” Geyserville has plenty going on. At Bosworth & Son General Merchandise (21060 Geyserville Ave., Geyserville, 707-857-3463) you can buy everything from a hammer and nails to a really snazzy pair of western boots at this former buggy shop that has been a thriving general store since 1911. Or, find the perfect vintage piece to haul back home at Gin’Gilli’s Vintage Home.
Want to taste wines? Try family-owned Meeker Vineyard winery (21035 Geyserville Ave., Geyserville, 707-431-2148) and Ramazzotti Wines (21015 Geyserville Ave., Geyserville, 707-814-0016); sample wines from five surrounding viticultural areas at Route 128 Winery (21079 Geyserville Ave., #2, Geyserville, 707-696-0004); or delve into Bordeaux-Style blends at Mercury Geyserville (21015 Geyeserville Ave., Geyserville, 707-857-9870). At Locals Tasting Room (21023 Geyserville Ave., Geyserville, 707-857-4900), you can sample and compare wines from many local boutique producers.
Hungry? Try amazing Italian dishes at Catelli's (21047 Geyserville Ave., Geyserville, 707-857-3471); Neapolitan-style pizza and handmade pasta at Diavola Pizzeria & Salumeria; and bar bites with classic cocktails at Geyserville Gun Club Bar & Lounge.
Visit Isis Oasis
For a one-of-a-kind, only-in-Geyserville experience, take a tour of exotic birds and cats — against a backdrop of ancient Egypt — at the 10-acre Isis Oasis Retreat Center & Animal Sanctuary (20889 Geyserville Ave., Geyserville, 707-857-4747). The sanctuary was established in 1978 by artist Loreon Vigne, who has transformed it over the years into an Egyptian-themed retreat center. Step into the Temple of Isis, which is usually open for meditation; visit the collection of exotic birds and animals (some species here are threatened in the wild); and marvel over creative structures like the Hobbit Hut, Cob Sphinx, and Isis Sun Bench.
Workshops are held at Isis Oasis; onsite camping is available; and you can rent accommodations (which allows access to the main pool, sauna, and hot tub). The small Isis chapel is always open. For other facilities, drop-ins are welcome at certain Sunday public events and services, or call for an appointment.
Find more info about restaurants, hotels, and things to do in Geyserville.
Written by Sonoma Insider Suzie Rodgriguez