Friday, June 10, 2016

Hamburger Ranch & Bar-B-Que: A Taste of Summer

There's nothing that says "summer" quite like a cloud of smoke over a grill and the rich scent of the smoker. One establishment in Cloverdale offers both: "World Famous" Hamburger Ranch & Bar-B-Que, located just north of town at 31195 North Cloverdale Boulevard (at the top of the hill).

Why "World Famous"?  The eatery is decked out with postcards from all over the world: just another charming feature of this classic roadside-Americana restaurant.

(Not the actual smoker)
Smoke-master Bob brings his Kansas City Roots to town with his mouth-watering, slow-cooked creations. The wood-fired smoker works its magic on chicken, baby back pork ribs, tri-tip beef roast, pork roast, brined meat and beef brisket to create delicious and satisfying smoked ribs, chicken, pulled pork, brisket, pastrami and tri-tip chunks. Try them as is to enjoy the delicate smoked flavor, or smother them in a thick and amazing Kansas-style BBQ sauce.

Bob can also be found alongside (or sometimes in place of) his lovely wife Joanne at the grill. Your mouth will water at the juicy burgers, steak, shrimp, chicken and hot dogs.

Burgers are served in a dozen different configurations - just pick the flavors you want to enjoy and dive into the creative result! And any of the burgers can be topped with in-house smoked bacon for a rich and delicious finish. Vegetarian options such as a grilled garden burger and grilled cheese, and lighter selections of turkey burgers and grilled chicken, are available for those wanting lighter fare.

A variety of sides are available including the to-die-for mac & cheese, tangy ranch fries (with dipping dressing or not), sweet potato fries, onion rings, baked beans, and more.

You can also find their delicious fare every Friday night through September at the Friday Night Live Farmers Market on the Cloverdale Plaza.

Some say that Hamburger Ranch & Bar-B-Que offers the best food from Oregon to San Francisco, but why not decide for yourself? The restaurant is just 2.3 miles from our bed and breakfast: a quick 6-minute drive... or if you want to help your digestion along, a 45-minute walk (each way), or an enjoyable 20-minute ride via bicycle (give or take).

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Colors of the 2016 Season: July Fireworks/Fun Near Cloverdale

There's something about American Pride and the feeling that surrounds Independence Day: the heat, the scents, and the dazzling night-time displays. Plan your bed and breakfast vacation over the Fourth of July weekend and enjoy an abundance of nearby activity for the 4th of July holiday, 2016.

Patriotism abounds throughout Sonoma County: you can essentially fill your Independence Day visit with fun and fireworks for several days straight, as festivities begin as early as July 2 and continue through the 4th:

July 2, 2016
Head to the Russian River Valley where Guerneville hosts their Independence Day Celebration.  Come early to visit the shops, restaurants (or partake of the Russian River Rotary's barbecue), and art galleries. Live music accompanies the fun. The evening end with fireworks over the river.

July 3, 2016
It's a little further away, but Windsor hosts the annual Windsor Kaboom event. Head down to Keiser Park at 4:00 p.m. for family/kid-friendly fun, ending with fireworks at dusk. Proceeds from this event benefit the Wounded Warrior Project.

July 4, 2016
Cloverdale waits until the actual holiday to celebrate with the Family BBQ and Bike Ride. The decorated bicycle parade begins at 11:00 a.m. at City Plaza and ends at the City Park where BBQ lunch is served between 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.

After bikes and BBQ in Cloverdale, head down to Healdsburg. Catch dinner at one of the many local restaurants before watching fireworks paint the sky over the Healdsburg High School Football Field at dusk.

There is plenty of small-town celebration in Cloverdale and the surrounding areas this Independence Day. Won't you join us?

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Healdsburg Jazz Festival: June 3-12, 2016

Since 2007 the Healdsburg Jazz Festival has brought musical entertainment and cultural appreciation to northern Sonoma County. Now in its 18th year, the festival is again primed to bring talented jazz musicians, both established performers and fresh, new talent.

This year, the Festival is paying homage to Billy Hart: Jazz drummer extraordinaire who has largely shaped the sound of jazz worldwide, and has played on thousands of recordings. Whether live or in a studio, Billy Hart has an uncanny ability to adapt to any group or sound, pulling the finished product into something close to nirvana. He has performed and recorded with such well-known names as Miles Davis, Shirley Horn, Herbie Hancock, Betty Carter, Stan Getz and Jimmy Smith (to name just a few). Billy Hart has also been a mainstay at tBilly Hart: A 40-year Retrospective tribute celebrates his talents and the music he has inspired throughout his life.
he Healdsburg Jazz Festival, performing here a total of 11 years during the life of the event, and will be with us again this year. The

A total of 14 different performances are available for attendees to enjoy in more than a dozen different locations, from a free evening in Healdsburg Plaza to a variety of local venues, theaters and vineyards. Some performances are free while others require tickets.  For the free performances, we suggest arriving at the venue earlier in the day to find parking, get to the venue, and find a seat/space.

A complete schedule, including location, times, admission & reservation requirements and price is found at the Jazz Festival Schedule Page.

And don't worry about feeding the beast when you're in Healdsburg: there are nearly two dozen places in town to find food, drink, and snacks.

Healdsville is just 18.7 miles from our bed and breakfast - an easy 20-25 minutes on the road; so once you get your fill of the music and the crowds, escape back to our quiet and welcoming inn for a great night's rest before the next day's adventures!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Discover Cloverdale: History Center and Gould-Shaw House

We might be a small town, but Cloverdale is full of history!  Learn all about it at the Cloverdale History Center and the Gould-Shaw House Museum.

As a main part of the Cloverdale Cultural Corridor, both these buildings and their contents teach about the town through exhibits, program and artifact/document storage and care.

Gould-Shaw House

The Gold-Shaw House is an example of some of the most charming architecture in all of Sonoma County.  As one of the oldest known homes in Cloverdale, the house boasts the seldom-seen Sonoma County Gothic Revival Cottage-style architecture with its gables, decorative running wood trim, box cornices, hand-forged square nails, and "King's Row" brick construction.

Built in 1862 for then Cloverdale Blacksmith Thomas J. Gould, the structure began as a humble 832 square-foot abode.  Just seven years later, the house was purchased by the first of the Shaw family, Thomas A. Shaw; from this moment forward, the home would stay in the Shaw family until 1938.  During this time, the house was expanded, wired for electric, and basically becomes a charming example of architecture in town.

During the next 50+ years, the house takes on multiple owners. The Cloverdale Historical Society buys the house in 1983 and a site for its large collection area artifacts and created its adjacent Victorian Garden, however by this time, the home is starting to show its age, and by the early 1990s the house was in danger of falling down if an earthquake struck.

After some discord and discussion, the home was finally saved by those who believed in it: our dedicated residents.  Once the home was reinforced and revamped, the museum reopened in 1999.

Cloverdale History Center

The relatively new history center was built in 2000 in conjunction with plans to create the downtown Cloverdale Cultural Corridor. At this point, most of the artifacts previously stored in the Gould-Shaw House were transferred to their new home. The new History center firmly took its place amidst those businesses that now make up this cultural district.  Here, a fraction of the center's artifacts are displayed to the public.

The Cloverdale History Center and Shaw House are found at 215 North Cloverdale Boulevard.  Current hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday - Saturday and 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Sonoma County CA Antiques Near Cloverdale

Visitors to the Cloverdale area not only have the option of wine, the outdoors and  great local events (not to mention a welcoming bed and breakfast experience), but lovers of things past also have plenty of treasures to find near the B&By in California's Sonoma County. Cloverdale and the surrounding areas are home to unique antique stores that are just full of nostalgic prizes.

Looking for a unique piece of Sonoma Wine Country History?  You might just find it here in the form of retro California Pottery pieces, items from the California Gold Rush, vintage maps and advertisements... to items you might have once seen at grandma's house.  There's just no telling what you might stumble onto during your hunt.

There are a number of antique stores in the nearby area, just waiting for you to step into another time and place. So if you have the notion, plan your antique-hunting vacation to our area stores!

UPDATE: The Healdsburg Museum & Historical Society is hosting the Antiques & Arts Fair in the downtown Healdsburg Plaza on June 12, 2016 and August 28, 2016 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Oat Valley Vintage, Cloverdale: located at 1215 S Cloverdale Blvd, our popular local store features a rotating iventory of quality items including antique mantles, paintings, dishes, utensils and so much more. Currently open 7 days a week.

Gin'gilli's Vintage Home, Geyserville: a short drive south of town brings you to 21079 Geyserville Avenue and Gin'gilli's Vintage Home. Whether you seek vintage items that belong indoors or outside, chances are Gin'gilli's has it. Currently open 7 days a week.

Country Porch Antiques, Hopland: just 10 miles north of Cloverdale at 13201 US-101, Country Porch Antiques offers every thing from furniture and lighting down to jewelry and smalls. Currently open 7 days a week.

Take a day-trip down to Healdsburg where four different Antique stores reside: from north to south, Healdsburg Vintage at 452 Healdsburg Avenue, Healdsburg Classic Antiques at 226 Healdsburg Avenue, Shoffeitt's Antique Collective at 208 Healdsburg Avenue, and Mill Street Antiques Plaza at 44 Mill street. Most are currently open 7 days a week.

Roberts Relics, Windsor: a bit further south still brings you to Robert's Relics. This cozy little store might seem cluttered at fiorst glance, but entering the store is like entering your grandmother's Victorian home. Owner Robert and his partner welcome patrons like old friends and is a popular antique stop for both locals and travellers.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Friday Night Live: Music and Locally Grown Fare

There's simply nothing like a community that comes together for enjoyment, entertainment, and to offer and sample the food and drink produced by area growers and makers. Cloverdale makes it a point to offer all these and more each summer when the Cloverdale Certified Farmer's Market, in cooperation with the Cloverdale Arts Alliance present Friday Night Live events.

The 2016 season kicks off on May 29 when the Cloverdale Plaza (on Cloverdale Boulevard between 1st and 2nd Streets) comes alive each Friday night through September 4 with the Farmer's Market starting at 5:30 p.m. (until dusk) and music launching at 7:00 p.m.

The Cloverdale Certified Farmer's Market offers a little bit of everything for guests of all ages: shopping (of course), tasting, face painting, demonstrations and more.  The "Certified" distinction means that all agricultural items are grown in California.  But produce isn't the only thing you'll find at the Market: the event welcomes food vendors, crafts and hand-made body products for your well-being and enjoyment.

The 2016 Friday Night Live Concert Lineup runs the gamut of musical styles: rock, soul, blues, country, gospel, R&B, swing, folk, funk, art pop and world music.  Depending on when you visit, you may enjoy a musical style that you already like, or you may find something new to appreciate!

A number of parking areas are located near the event, and additional parking is found just a little further away.  Downtown Cloverdale is just under three miles long and a mile across, so no matter where you park, it's an easy walk to the outdoor venue.

Our Friday nights are truly a celebration of the community, our residents and our guests, so arrive in time to join in the fun, festivities and celebration of all things Cloverdale!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Cycle Cloverdale and Sonoma County

Californians love to be outside. If we're not on the beach, we're surfing the waves, walking through one of our beautiful park lands, horseback riding along beautiful lakes and waterways, skiing the mountains in winter, soaking in hot springs, climbing sheer escarpments, white-water rafting our waters... or we may be taking to roads and trails on two wheels.

Yes, bicyclists are becoming more and more common in our state, and we're becoming a prime destination for bicyclists from near and far.

In 2015, California was ranked the 8th most Bicycle Friendly State by the League of American Bicyclists, rising one spot on the list since our 10-spot jump in 2014.  A mix of respectable Bicycle Legislation & Enforcement, Policies & Programs, Infrastructure & Funding, Education & Encouragement and Evaluation & Planning keeps us very competitive with other bicycle-friendly states.

How are we making things better for bicycles?  There are many methods in play, a few of which include:

  • The Sonoma County Transportation Authority heads up efforts to determine volume through their Bicycle and Pedestrian Count Program. This helps evaluate which areas would benefit from alternative pathways and additional non-motorized transportation amenities.
  • The Sonoma County Transportation Authority also spearheads programs such as the Transportation Fund for Clean Air and supports California's Active Transportation Program to encourage communities to grow their biking and pedestrian hospitality.
  • The California Bicycle Coalition also offers funding through the Active Transportation Program, and provides workshops to help interested parties better understand the program, its implementation, and the benefits.
  • California supports e-bike ownership and treats them like traditional bicycles in hoped of growing this additional mode of environmentally friendly transportation.
  • Many towns and communities throughout the state fully support bicycles as an active mode of transportation and offers incentives to riders.  In fact, Davis is known as the most bicycle-friendly town in America, boasting a whopping 22.1% of commuters who ride bicycles (2015 figure).

Here in Sonoma County, there is ample opportunity for bikers to both benefit from biking, both for exercise and for experiencing local flavor.

The Cloverdale website offers three bike loop options of 10, 25, and 50 miles, including specific sights and activities to enjoy along the way.

A number of cycling loops ranging in distance from 18-96 miles in the Cloverdale area (many originating from Cloverdale) are featured on

Matthew Ankeny put together ten great rides throughout Sonoma's wine country, as recommended by cyclist Levi Leipheimer.  The challenging "Ride the Geysers" loop is a 55.9 Cloverdale-Healdsburg ride (or, in his case the other way around).  If you start this loop here in Cloverdale, you can attack the challenging Geysers Road first and then enjoy the rest of this ride down through Heladsburg and then back north past Dry Creek Valley wineries.

So bring your bike when you come for your bed and breakfast vacation and see the beauty of Cloverdale and the surrounding areas with wind in your hair and sun on your shoulders.  If you don't want to hassle the transport of your beloved bicycle, Cloverdale Cyclery is happy to set you up with the perfect mode for your cycling needs during your in-season visit.