Tuesday, July 12, 2016

BobDog Wines: Local Vintner Goodness

Forget the pretentiousness that is so often associated with California's Wine Country: BobDog Wines is a local, grower-based winery that hasn't forgotten that wine is simply a form of food... one that should be enjoyed with food, family and friends.

Located just 4.4 miles from our bed and breakfast at 2000 feet above the valley on the Pine Mountain-Cloverdale Peak Appellation (boasting the title of the highest winery in Sonoma County), this winery is both easy to access and fun to visit.

BobDog Wines is run by Tim and Kandy Ward, two once-unhappy Silicon Valley residents who figured out that wine-making, and especially wine-making in Sonoma County, would make them blissfully happy. What started from a big idea in a tiny hunter's shack became Sky Pine Vineyards. And Bob the Dog came into their lives shortly afterward to assist with the new vineyard's growth. This dedicated pup deserved to have something dedicated to him, so BobDog Wines came into being with the first viable harvest.

Like the name, the Wards take their wines seriously enough to produce some amazing varietals, but lightly enough to not look down their nose at their consumers. They've left their attitudes back in the Silicone Valley and concentrate instead on creating real wines for real fun and enjoyment, not snobbery.

Following this belief, the pair (trio? as there is a new canine mascot, Cabby, who replaced Bob after he passed) produce red grape varieties that are hearty enough to stand up to their extreme altitude, producing a variety of Cabernet, Merlot, Malbec, and other Bordeaux and Bordeaux blends.

Want to taste the wines for yourself?  Well there is good news and bad news related to wine tastings.

The bad news is: BobDog Wines does NOT have a tasting room for visitors to come and go as they please to taste.

The good news is: BobDog Wines invites you to schedule a private tour/tasting experience unlike any other! Guests come to the vineyards to mingle with the plants, meet the growers, and learn about the grapes/wines produced. They may be greeted by a four-legged friend, they may be driven to the top of the vineyard to view entire hillsides, or they may be taken into the processing rooms to see how the final result is created. They may experience ALL of the above; it simply depends on the day and the guest.  The experience is culminated by a wine sampling on the back deck.

Those who have visited BobDog wines agree: this tour/tasting experience is unlike any other. Tim and Kandy love showing guests around, and love creating the best tasting experience possible. Bring yourself, yourself and a loved one, or even a small group - all are welcome with their reservation!

So why not take part of a day during your bed and breakfast vacation to meander up the mountain and experience the most unique wine-tasting you'll find in Sonoma County, if not the entire state?

BobDog Wines is found at 31955 Pine Mountain Road here in Cloverdale.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Wine and Music: Wilson Artisan Wineries' Summer Concerts

From Hopland in the north to Kenwood in the south, the nine boutique producers that make up the Wilson Artisan Wineries group offers award-winning wines using sustainable farming methods and the love & passion necessary to produce these wonderful flavors.

But wines aren't the only thing on the agenda at these beautiful vineyards.

Each summer, the duo sets up a series of live concerts at the various wineries and vineyards. Rock, Americana, Latin, Soul/R&B Blues, Soul and more... there is a concert to satisfy just about any musical preference. Concerts are offered at DeLorimer Winery in Geyserville, St. Anne's Crossing in Kenwood, and Jaxon Keys Winery & Distillery in Hopland. Concert events are held on various Fridays from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. Lawn seating is offered on a first come, first served bases, so don't be afraid to arrive early and enjoy some wine while you wait!

Each concert also features food-for-purchase, offered by local eateries (including the recently featured Hamburger Ranch & BBQ).

Do you prefer table seating to lawn seating? Then unfortunately there *is* a slight catch: while open lawn seating is available to anyone, table reservations are only offered to Wilson Wine Club members. But before you scoff, know this: there is NO FEE to join the club, just a commitment to purchase a limited number of wines each year. In return, members receive invitations to reserve tables the Wilson Artisan Wineries Summer Concert Series for just $5 per event, invitations to other members-only events, discounts on both wine and non-wine purchases, access to club-only wines, discounts to many member wineries, complimentary tastings and more.

Each Wilson Artisan Wineries location has their own club - joining one is all you need for the official invite to these exclusive events. So come to town for a bed and breakfast escape, visit one winery and join their club, and receive amazing wines and exclusive invites to events and activities whenever you're in town.  As if you needed a reason other than unparalleled lodging to visit the area (we say with a smile)...

While the series is nearly a month old, there are still nearly three months of concerts to enjoy.  So check out the calendar and plan to take in some great music and great wine during your Cloverdale B&B getaway.

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.