Forestville’s unofficial motto is “The Good Life.” And it’s not hard to see why. A summer destination for bohemians, writers, artists and vacationers since the early 1900s, this tiny town has all the necessary ingredients for La Dolce Vita — majestic redwoods, fir-covered hills dotted by eccentric cabins, the Russian River meandering toward Pacific shores, a wide variety of artisanal food, a rural flavor and a laid-back style. Read more below for a few of our favorite things to do in Forestville.
Get your coffee fix at Sunshine Organic Coffee Roasters and Espresso Bar
This organic coffee shop on Front Street puts a twist on your regular cup of joe with their “Honey Bee Latte” and “Horchata Chai.” This is a good spot to boost your energy levels before a day on the river — don’t forget to sneak in something sweet at their bakery section. 6656 Front St, Forestville.
Pick up picnic provisions at Nightingale Breads
Locals line up for a taste of Nightingale’s homemade breads and pastries (favorites include the potato rosemary roll and chocolate chunk brioche). The bakery also sells cheese, jam, salami and other items for your picnic basket. Takeout-only. Open Thurs-Fri, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m., Sat-Sun, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. 6665 Front St, Forestville
For an exciting day on the river, head to Rubicon Adventures
Looking to pump up the adrenaline? At Rubicon Adventures, you can rent all the equipment you need for stand up paddle boarding and kayaking. Rubicon also offers stand up paddle boarding yoga (pictured) and guided tours. CA-116, Forestville, 707-887-2452.
For a relaxing day on the river, head to Mom’s Beach
If you’re looking for a peaceful day by the water, Mom’s Beach (also known as Forestville River Access) is a good place to enjoy a day in the sun. For more privacy, there are some hidden spots along the beach down the road from Burke’s Canoe Trips. Park your car alongside the road and walk to the opening in the small white wall; down the path you'll find several isolated beach spots.
Explore the West County Regional Trail
This 5.57-mile trail between Forestville and Sebastopol runs along an abandoned railroad line and meanders through agricultural ranches, farmlands, vineyards and woods. The trail, open from sunrise to sunset, is paved for walking, biking and roller skating — there's an unpaved equestrian trail to the side.
Stock up on some hoodoo supplies at Lucky Mojo Curio Co
Lucky Mojo is your one stop occult shop. Magic incenses, oils, candles, herbs, amulets and charms fill the shelves — and you can purchase special kits for magic spells. The staff will gladly hook you up with just the right person for a psychic reading. 6632 Covey Rd, Forestville, 707-887-1521.
Have lunch at Russian River Vineyards
One of the top outdoor dining spots in Sonoma County, Russian River Vineyards serves sandwiches, salads and specialty focaccia from a menu that changes seasonally to capture the very best of the vineyard’s on-site farm produce. It's always been a great spot to sit outside among grapevines and redwoods while sipping some wine. 5700 California N, 116, Forestville, 707-887-3344.
Taste wine like a celebrity at Ryme Cellars
Avenger star Elizabeth Olsen likes to sip wine at this small Forestville winery when she visits Wine Country. “Their tasting is this kind of backyard set-up, but with beautiful wines and great people," said Olsen in an interview with Condé Nast Traveller. Ryme Cellars is run by husband-and-wife duo Ryan and Meghan Glaab and was recently featured in Sonoma Magazine’s “8 Indie Wineries to Check Out in Sonoma.”
There are more wineries worth a visit in Forestville, including Joseph Jewell Wines (pictured), Hartford Family Winery and Enriquez Estate Wines. At Wine Guerrilla in downtown Forestville, sip Russian River Valley zinfandel in a chic tasting room. Its local art exhibits and shaded patio make this a popular spot.
Go foraging through the Forestville Farmers Market
Every Tuesday, June through September, the Forestville Farmer’s Market livens up the sleepy downtown with local produce, artisanal products, baked goods, arts, crafts, hot prepared foods, beer, wine and live music. It's a nice place to relax and recharge after a day on the river, sipping on a local brew under the oak trees. Tuesdays, 4-7 p.m.
For a local favorite, stroll over to Canneti Roadhouse Italiana
Canneti chef Francesco Torre grew up sampling his grandma Fina’s cooking in the Tuscan coastal town of Massa. Like Grandma Fina, Torres puts a lot of love into every plate he prepares; the locally sourced menu showcases food akin to the rustic variety that he enjoyed in his childhood. Named after Via de Canetti — a winding rural road in Torres' childhood Tuscany — the decor is roadhouse simple and the ambiance warm and welcoming. And the patio beckons for a relaxed meal beneath the trees. 6675 Front St, Forestville, 707-887-2232.
For some laid-back luxury, make reservations at Farmhouse Inn Restaurant
It is hard to imagine that the 1879 farmhouse that houses the Farmhouse Inn’s Michelin-starred restaurant was once a run-down B&B. Transformed by brother-and-sister team Joe and Catherine Bartolomei, the inn and the restaurant are now the epitome of wine country living — fine wine, artisanal food and natural beauty form the trinity of its attractions. The restaurant's ambiance is sophisticated yet cozy, the Cal-French cuisine delicious yet unpretentious, the decor chic and the service snappy. 7871 River Rd, Forestville, 707-887-3300.
By: Sonoma Magazine Staff