Relax and Renew at the Historic Raford Inn
Relax and Renew in Wine Country with a stay at the quaint and historic Raford Inn in the Northern Sonoma County town of Healdsburg. The Raford Inn embodies a casual elegance that is one of the enduring hallmarks of Sonoma County hospitality.
It feels as if an enormous amount of thought, research and effort was dedicated to offering the most luxurious experience, but without the expectation that you, as a guest, need to “dress for the occasion.” Come as you are, enjoy all the delights of the area, then return to this sanctuary of excellent food, wine, and amenities for the night.
I arrived at the Raford Inn a bit frazzled after a hectic day, and was promptly handed a chilled glass of local viognier with a handsome spread of crackers, nuts, fruit and cheeses to nibble on. I then found a comfy seat on the verandah and watched the sun set over an expansive valley of vineyards and forests. That was all it took to turn the entire day around.
Within minutes I felt relaxed, happy and totally pampered. Later that night, tempted by the spicy aroma coming from the kitchen, I helped myself to one or two (or maybe three) fresh-from-the-oven ginger cookies and a cup of tea, and retired to my room with a good book.
My room was equipped with a cozy wood-burning fireplace, but due to the heat of the previous day, I simply opened the large front windows and welcomed cool breezes to come in through the lace curtains.
I noticed that some of the other rooms offered a private patio area with potted plants and wicker furniture overlooking the gardens; or a private, quiet and shady spot centered with an Italianate stone fountain that added a touch of old world charm. Each room is different in design, but beautifully appointed with period antiques and decorated with an artist’s eye.
Breakfast the next morning was offered at the dining room’s farmhouse table. We began the meal with fresh fruit and orange juice followed by a light, crust-less quiche of garden veggies and gruyere cheese, a generous serving of chicken, mushroom, Swiss cheese sausage and homemade ‘morning glorious’ muffin with their own zinfandel jam.
Have dietary restrictions? Just mention it to Rita Wells, co-owner of the inn and kitchen maven – she is more than happy to accommodate you. In addition, locally roasted Bella Rosa coffee is always available, as are assorted teas, for those who like to retire to the veranda to plan their day or simply daydream.
It’s worth noting that this historic inn, which was built in 1880, now features the garden handiwork of a devoted horticulturist. Co-owner Dane Pitcher was, among other professions, the rose docent and sole resident caretaker for the famous Luther Burbank Home in Santa Rosa.
So it’s not surprising that you will find over 100 heritage and antique roses, as well as four acres of herbs, vegetables, berries, fruit trees, and olive trees that invite visitors to wander and investigate. In fact, much of what is edible from the garden will be present in the breakfast offerings, along with organic produce from the top ranked, Santa Rose Junior College Shone Farm.
When you are ready to leave the premises for a day of Sonoma County discovery, the innkeepers are well informed and will graciously help you plan your trip. Some suggestions: Forestville’s delightful Backyard (6566 Front St., Forestville, 707-820-8445) and Canneti Roadhouse Italiana (6675 Front St., Forestville, 707-887-2232) restaurants are just a five-minute drive away.
Among many day trip suggestions are shopping Healdsburg’s celebrated town square stores, hiking in Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Preserve (17000 Armstrong Woods Road, Guerneville, 707-869-215) through a stunning forest of ancient first-growth redwoods, or wine tasting in the Russian River Valley Appellation. Want to keep it simple? Just walk a half mile across Wohler Bridge to access at the Russian River for a day at a quiet, semi-private beach.
Details: Raford Inn, 10630 Wohler Road, Healdsburg, 800-887-9503 or 707-887-9573