A Warm Welcome Into the Kelley & Young Wine Garden Inn
Between Sonoma County’s gorgeous coastline and its magnificent inland wineries is the historic Wine Country town of Cloverdale — and the warm and welcoming Kelley & Young Wine Garden Inn.
Cloverdale makes the perfect place to land when you want to go wine tasting in the acclaimed Alexander, Dry Creek, and Russian River Valley wine regions. You might also go hot air ballooning, or take advantage of biking and hiking trails in the hills surrounding the town … or you may simply be on your way to the old growth redwoods on the northern coast.
And whether you use it as a stopover or a destination, Kelley & Young Wine Garden Inn is the perfect antidote to the sometimes rushed and frequently schedule-bound vacation plans.
The inn was built in 1901 as a family home for Prussian immigrants who set up shop in downtown Cloverdale to serve the then-booming redwood lumber industry of the north coast. The building became a birthing hospital in 1921, then transformed back into a private residence from 1942 to 1980. That’s when it evolved into the charming bed and breakfast you see today.
With multiple tower rooms that offer space for reading, deep claw foot bathtubs for soaking, and a lovely old wood paneled dining room for your breakfast, the building seems designed to be a place of relaxation and rejuvenation.
The amenities speak for themselves: 1,000 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets, freshly baked cookies in the afternoon, a library of beloved books in the second floor sitting area, and a sunlit coffee/tea room with fridge, microwave, and a table with chairs situated by a window — ample space to spread out your travel itinerary or check your emails.
You might consider ending your afternoon with a glass of wine from the owners’ award winning winery. You can purchase a glass or a bottle of Kelley & Young Wines Sauvignon Blanc, Rose, and Zinfandel … then relax into the plush cushions of a chaise lounge on the private and shady wraparound porch.
Got a group? Choose the intimate space of the garden pavilion, or gather a larger crowd around a fire pit for chilly fall evening celebrations.
Breakfast, as you might expect, is amazing. This is a family-run operation, with the daughter as resident chef. Cooking and baking is clearly her passion. While I was there, they served a frosty shot of mango/pineapple smoothie and fresh fruit poached in wine, topped with yogurt. That was followed by a crispy, hot-from-the-oven blueberry and cheese turnover.
At this point, we thought we had had a delightful and elegant breakfast. But there was more. Following the turnover we were served eggs Florentine, stacked with fresh tomato (from the garden), organic spinach and ham topped with perfectly poached eggs (courtesy of their backyard chickens).
Speaking of the garden, if you are an amateur horticulturist, you would do well to wander the grounds. You’ll find garden beds with asparagus, melons, squash, and tomatoes as well as a nursery catalog of fruit trees including: pomelo; two kinds of lemons; Saville, blood, and Mandarin oranges; finger limes; four kinds of figs; plus cherries, peaches, apricots, nectarines … the list goes on. You’ll also walk by trellises supporting a demonstration vineyard on the way to the front door.
Okay, maybe your home isn’t quite as elaborate as this. But the feeling of hospitality and natural goodwill that abides at this inn will definitely feel welcoming.
From the resident cat who feels duty bound to welcome you into the gardens, to the visits of the next door neighbor who tends the gardens and trees, to the singing from the kitchen and laughter in the stairways, you’ll recognize a sense of community and… for lack of a better word… a feeling of home. Hard to find all that PLUS a 5 Star Trip Advisor rating, but there it is. Home Sweet Home in Cloverdale.
Finally, if you are interested in getting a group together, whether for a wedding, a family reunion, or a club, consider renting the entire Wine Garden Inn. You’ll have the run of the house, and the Kelley & Young families will create a wine paring event or a memorable, multi-course Sonoma County dinner for your group.
Kelley & Young Wine Garden Inn, 302 N. Main St., Cloverdale, 707-894-4535