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!



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 mapmyride.com.

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.

Monday, February 29, 2016

March 12, 2016: Claypool Cellars Annual Sauerkraut Party

Celebrate everything Polish with Claypool Cellars this coming Saturday, March 12, 2016 from 7:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.  Their 5th Annual Sauerkraut Party is well worth the price of admission!

Owned by noted bass player Les Claypool (most notably of Primus, but his talents span multiple bands and solo efforts), Claypool Cellars is a producer of CC Pachyderm Pinot Noir from fruit grown in the Russian River Valley.  Since 2012 they have also hosted the once-a-joke, now-a-legend Sauerkraut party, celebrating all things Polish (especially the food).

Located in Sebastopol's Gravenstein Station (at 6761 Sebastopol Ave), the event offers Bigos (sauerkraut stew with meat) accompanied by the house wine, accordian music by Moldovan player Nikolai Prisicar, and a keepsake Claypool Cellars glass. Of course there is also plenty of socialization, camaraderie, impromptu dances, and perhaps a welcome from Mr. Claypool himself.

While Claypool Cellars is just one of numerous Sonoma County wineries you can visit during your bed and breakfast vacation here at Auberge on the Vineyard, they are the ONLY ones hosting this notable event.  Tickets for this intimate event are going fast, so reserve yours today by calling the Cellars at 707-861-9358!  Cost for the party is $45 per person.

Polish dress is encouraged, however you will not be turned away if you opt not to don a costume.

Please be a responsible attendee: choose a designated driver, or plan to spend some time in Sebastopol following the event before you return to the Inn.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Birding In and Around Cloverdale CA

So you've hit all the wineries and are looking for something new to do during your Cloverdale vacation? Bird-watching is just one of the many diversions available in the area.  If you have a love for our feathered friends, grab those binoculars, your notebook, camera and walking-shoes and discover our local winged friends!

California's Wine Country offers a large selection of birding sites. No matter what time of year you venture out into the countryside near Cloverdale, you are sure to see both native and visiting birds.  California is known to have nearly 600 species of birds in 54 families that either reside here, or visit our state during migration or as a wintering location.

If you're new to the activity or simply don't want to venture out, the porches at Auberge on the Vineyard are a great place to hunker down with your binoculars and birding notebook. Both the trees on our property and the adjacent vineyard draw many types of birds to our grounds.

East of the Redwood Highway off Crocker Road (just a mile from our inn) is Cloverdale River Park Trail: an ideal location to see waterfowl, shoreline birds, and even land-loving birds in any season. The 1-mile, paved walkway meanders along the Russian River and breaks into wooded areas.

Just southwest of town is one of the most popular birding areas around: Sonoma Lake. With a unique blend of small streams, open water, lakeside woods, barren camp areas and quiet inlets, birds of all kinds flock to this area.  Ducks, Dippers and woodpeckers are more common residents, however you might see wood ducks and other migrating birds during winter months. Choose one beautiful spot to sit and observe, or hike the area and see what you can hunt down! If you opt not to take a boat to secluded areas, the dam off Rockpile Road, walking areas near the amphitheater, the Lake Sonoma Resort Area off Marina Road, and areas off of Madrone Service Road are great spots to try your luck.

South of town near Healdsburg, Pine Flat Road offers grasslands, woods, scrub and rolling hills: perfect for a nearly endless variety of land-loving fowl.  Hawk, owl, woodpecker, nuthatch, sparrow, warbler, hummingbirds, flycatcher, swallow... the list goes on and on.  While many properties have "No Tresspassing" signs displayed, the road and areas along the road are (of course) public use.

These are just a few of the immediate area's options for spotting birds of all commonalities. We hope you find that rare species you've always wanted to see here in California!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Cloverdale Dining: Ruth McGowan's Brewpub

As a bed and breakfast, it is impossible for us to offer all meals to our guests, meaning you're on your own when it comes to lunch and dinner.  But boy, do we have a great local suggestion for you to try: Cloverdale Ale Company's Ruth McGowan's Brewpub offers American fare in a very casual dining atmosphere.

Located just over a mile from Auberge on the Vineyard, this local favorite is tucked into the town's southeast corner where East 1st Street and South Main Street meet. The small establishment offers an inviting facade, whimsically painted in scenes from the surrounding countryside, and a no-frills interior... and food that will fill you up and make you smile.

The brewpub offers an eclectic blend of traditional American eats mixed with bar-menu favorites. While most everything on the menu is very worth ordering, there are a few specific recommendations we'd like to offer:
  • Fried Brussels Sprouts: sure, you're being good! What better way to start a meal than with some not-so-innocent vegetables? These crispy beauties are paired with bacon and a tangy sauce.
  • Fish and Chips: Ruth McGowan's Brewpub makes a delicious version of this European favorite.
  • Burgers! Face it - nothing goes better with a delicious beer than a juicy hamburger! The brewpub offers this classic three ways: Great Western, All-American and Basic.

And the name "brewpub" isn't just a tease. To wash all this delicious food down, Ruth McGowan's offers rotating taps with their very own brews! And if you can't make a decision, find yourself a designated driver and try a tasting flight featuring a variety Ruth McGowan's best.

Weekends feature live music: the restaurant brings in a variety of regional acts to serenade and entertain.

While you'll certainly want to select something more upscale for that special dinner or classy lunch, Ruth McGowan's Brewpub is the perfect place to kick back, relax, and enjoy good food, good beer, and some great flavors.