Nestled in a picturesque valley amid the scenic hills of western Sonoma County, the town of Freestone (pop. 32) is tiny but worth a stop. As Sonoma County's first historic district, its buildings offer an enchanting blend of western outpost and small-town charm, housing an array of shops and businesses.
As the southern end of the Bohemian Highway — a 10-mile, two-lane, scenic roadway that winds it way through Occidental to Monte Rio — Freestone is a common stop for cyclists tackling the west county roads and travelers headed out to the Sonoma Coast via Bodega Bay.
For a delightful bit of relaxation and pampering in Freestone, check into Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary (209 Bohemian Highway, Freestone, 707-823-8231). This retreat along the banks of Salmon Creek (yes, there are real salmon in there) is the only day spa in the United States that offers a Japanese-style cedar enzyme bath. Osmosis also offers a variety of massage therapies, organic facials, skin care, and other spa treatments, as well as an authentic meditation garden.
Across the street, Wild Flour Bread (140 Bohemian Highway, Freestone, 707-874-2938) attracts customers from miles around to taste its beautiful hard-crust breads, baked in a wood-fired brick oven. Other treats at this destination bakery include scones, biscotti, sticky buns, cheese fougasse, and coffee drinks. A garden out back supplies the fruit, herbs, and vegetables that go into the scones and breads. The garden also makes a great place to sit and nibble on shared sourdough cinnamon rolls or ginger-pear scones.
Next to the bakery you'll find Enduring Comforts (142 Bohemian Highway, Freestone, 707-874-1111), a cozy boutique. Want a hat? Enduring Comforts offers lots of them: sunhats, bowlers, lacy hats, and gardening hats. You can also browse through knick-knacks, antiques, jewelry, and gift items.
Just up the street, Freestone Artisan Cheese (380 Bohemian Highway, Freestone, 707-874-1030) offers a tantalizing selection of hand-crafted artisan cheeses, hot roasted California nuts, olive oils grown and pressed locally, crepes, and tea.
For those looking for picnic supplies, the Freestone Country Store (500 Bohemian Highway, Freestone, 707-874-1417) stocks local products and wine, and there is even a small grove of redwoods out front with a bench. A flock of resident chickens has been known to invite themselves to al fresco lunches. (Note: Built in 1872, the store is a historic landmark.)