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At Home Under the Oaks in Kenwood

Kenwood Oaks Guesthouse

It’s the classic vacation dilemma: Relax all day or get out there and be active? Spend an afternoon sitting on the porch with a glass of wine and a novel, or hike, bike, and paddle your way through local landscapes?

Fortunately, guests at the Kenwood Oaks Guesthouse don’t have to choose.

Tucked up on a hillside in the little vine-loving town of Kenwood, the Kenwood Oaks is equal parts secluded and central, relaxing and adventure friendly.

At any given time, said owner Joan Finkle, guests can be found hiking nearby trails at Jack London State Park, biking, bird watching around the property, gazing at the night sky from nearby Ferguson Observatory, or even “just sitting out in nature, reading a book and listening to sounds they’re not used to hearing wherever they’re from.”

Of course, it’s most often the famous local wine and food that draws visitors to Kenwood, and Finkle, who’s lived here for 20 years, has become an expert when it comes to recommendations.

“I’ve just had to preview so many restaurants and wine tours,” she said with a wry smile. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it.

When it comes to recommending winery visits, Finkle’s personal research really pays off.

“I’ve lived here for a long time, so I know the back roads people can take (between wineries) so they can see the sights as they go instead of just driving,” Finkle explained. “I ask them what kind of wineries they want to visit — if they want to meet the winemaker and learn about how grapes are grown and how wine is aged; if they want to visit 15 wineries in a day or take their time and visit three great ones.”

Not surprisingly, Finkle’s attention to detail is just as accommodating back at the lodge.

The solar-powered, certified-green guesthouse has been Finkle’s home for the last two decades, and anyone staying in one of the three rooms in the main house (or in the detached cottage around back) shouldn’t take too long to call it home, too.

Oak-shaded decks, patios, gardens, over-stuffed sofas and warm colors all make this the kind of place you can settle into deeply and quickly — whether after or instead of a long day out and about.

Kenwood Oaks Guesthouse, 854 Warm Springs Rd., Kenwood. Find more info on Things to Do, Restaurants, Wineries & Wine, and Lodging in Sonoma County.

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