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Secret’s Out at the Glen Ellen Inn

Glen Ellen Inn - Sonoma County

The husband-and-wife team, Karen and Chris Bertrand, took over the Glen Ellen Inn, a restaurant in the namesake hamlet, in 1993. What started off as an eight-table hideaway for oysters and beers has, over the years, grown to include several dining rooms, a garden, and a full bar specializing in martinis.

But that’s not the most surprising development in the Inn’s history.

“When we bought the place, it was already called the Glen Ellen Inn,” says Karen Bertrand. “You have to remember, this was in the days before the Internet. So because of the name, people would call us up all the time and ask if we had any rooms available.”

So the Bertrands told themselves that if they ever got the chance, they’d expand their operations to include accommodation. Eventually, a piece of property behind the restaurant became available, and the Glen Ellen Inn introduced its first two “secret cottages.”

Today, there are a total of seven cottages, clustered behind the restaurant like a tiny neighborhood. Each is the perfect size for two people and is kitted out with a Jacuzzi tub, a steam shower, and a fireplace; some boast little porches or views of the Sonoma Creek.

Inside, “they feel just like home,” said Karen.

And because the cottages are a group of freestanding structures, they offer guests the chance for as much privacy or socializing as they’d like.

The same could be said for Glen Ellen itself. In the heart of the Sonoma Valley, close to the town of Sonoma, this little village is perfect for a quiet, under-the-radar getaway.But because it’s so small, it’s also arguably the most convenient locale for anyone hoping to take advantage of Sonoma County’s famous vineyards ­— some of which you’ll see blanketing the hillsides just a few minutes’ walk from the Glen Ellen Inn.

“We’re surrounded by tasting rooms within walking distance, and the Lasseter Family and Benziger wineries are just a few minutes away,” Karen pointed out. Glen Ellen is also home to famous Jack London SHP.

Of course, if you’d rather take your bottle of vino back to your private cottage porch, no one could blame you.

Details: Glen Ellen Inn, 13670 Arnold Drive, Glen Ellen.

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