Privilege Blog

Four Nights Near Guerneville; All The Blues And Greens, Or, Saturday Morning at 10:25am

Somewhere between cabañas with a beloved husband and the backyard with fountain lies a house stay on the Russian River. Less cryptically, I just got back from four nights with my two adult children. And I mean adult. 31 and going on 34.

We stayed at an Airbnb in the trees above Guerneville. Here’s the little outside deck. There was also a grill, so one night we cooked and ate dinner right here.

Seen from the living/dining/kitchen area, ever present forest. At night ravens cronked furiously but I didn’t mind.

The house was nicely decorated. Two bedrooms, so I shared a king bed with my daughter, and two bathrooms.

But mostly, it was about the trees.

Cathedral. I will not be contradicted.

Anyway, the first day we went for a hike at a park called Pomo Canyon. We started in the redwoods, who gathered in circles around the stumps of logged first growth. They commemorate their ancestors.

The hike taxed my aging self. It was steep! I had to stop and rest a lot! The kids were good about it! We emerged into the full glory of a summer’s day in Northern California hills. (BTW, take the direction to Red Hill.)

And then retreated to the shade where wildflowers agreed with our thinking.

When done, we drove over to Jenner, a small town on the coast. I was right about the map. Make of that what you will.

The Russian River rushes into the Pacific. Even in a year of excruciating drought. I mean, dearest ocean, why we want to do you so wrong? Oh, the breeze was perfect perfect perfect.

The second day we went kayaking up river. We started at Johnson’s Beach in Guerneville, having rented our gear from King’s on Main Street. One thing I need to say is that everyone working in this area is so incredibly happy to be up and running again it made the whole experience even more joyful.

The water is low. The ecosystem is stressed. And yet.

My daughter. Two-person kayak where your kids taking turns paddling with you, recommended.

The third and final full day we had meant to to go Johnson’s beach for swimming, as the temperature was due to rise over 100℉. However, my daughter the redhead got a sun rash on her ankles and so no more sun for us. Our cancellation was graciously and humanely accepted. As I said, everyone’s so glad to be out again. I can’t quite explain how wonderful the interactions felt. Maybe like coming upon an unexpected field of tulips in the middle of rain? But how would I know that? California poppies in a spring storm?

Anyway, we went back to the coast. As happens in Northern California, a furnace-like inland day is perfect by the water. But first we stopped at the Korbel winery to eat at their deli. Yum.

Then we drove to Fort Ross. It’s a national park, with a tiny museum/visitors center that tells the story of a Russian outpost from the 19th century. In brief, the Russians hunting and trading furs in Alaska were hungry so they, and a group of Aleutians, set up a fort in Northern California on the border of the Mexican dominion to take supplies in an accessible port. I leave it to you to read the history here. Complex and unknowable from displays is my assessment.

The buildings, mostly restored and rebuilt replicas, one original, evoke all kinds of emotion. Fill in the blanks.

From the block house, which is furnished with cannons to keep away intruders who would have been the Native Pomo Tribe, or perhaps a battalion up from Mexico, you can see the harbor.

You can walk down to that harbor.

Where your son may want to pick up rocks and shells. Oh wait, I mean my son.

History–natural, political, or personal–is complicated. This is not a brilliant insight, more of a reminder to question one’s assumptions and be prepared to study anew.

The Russian River so far is still here; visit recommended. My children are gone back to their separate lives; I miss them but I will see them again soon. I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

20 Responses

  1. How wonderful! The best holidays are a family celebration! Glad that everyone in the family is safe and healthy. My husband and I stayed in a lovely inn (Applewood Inn) just outside of Guerneville a few years ago, with a lovely enclosed fruit tree garden and herb/vegetable culinary garden. No wonder the food was so good!

    1. Thank you.We were right nearby. But Applewood has changed management, is changing name, and not yet reopened. I will be so curious to see how it’s changed!

  2. What a perfect reunion! It’s wonderful that we can all get together with family and friends again and not feel stressed. That looks like a beautiful spot to relax. Ah, nature!

  3. How I loved reading this post, Lisa! That area is my old stomping grounds and now I live 300 miles south. I’m having a painful day today (post-oral surgery) but this put a big nostalgic smile on my face. Thank you!

    1. Sorry for your oral surgery woes. Ugh. And my pleasure to bring back good memories. It must have been lovely to spent a lot of time there.

  4. Love Healdsburg and Guerneville and Jenner, and that powerful spot where the Russian River flows to the sea at Goat Rock Beach. Last time I was there, September 2019 (the Before Times), I was wading while videoing my feet in the lapping waves. One video is a hilarious capture of my flailing arms as I worked to stay upright when surprised by a large wave with accompanying undertow. So glad you got to see your children in such a beautiful setting. I’d love to know the Airbnb you found. It looks enticing, inside and out. I know what you mean about the joy. This morning I worked with a moving crew to change units, and consolidate my possessions *still* in my former 1920’s theatre storage building in downtown Oakland—the Tribune Tower looms above. After we finished, a friend and I joined the Juneteenth revelers in Old Oakland at The Cook & Her Farmer. Buckwheat waffles, one order sweet with strawberries, and one savory with cornmeal oysters, with a glass of rosé sparkling wine was our meal. There was a lovely mixture of Black, and Asian, and White folks honoring the day. You could feel the buzzy joy at being set free. Happy Saturday.

    1. Yes, yes, yes, a buzzy joy! Had I written this post, and thus read your comment, before I left for the trip, I would have raised my cup of mint in a toast to you at Goat Rock.

  5. How wonderful! What a beautiful place to spend time with the family. It’s so great that you can get out and about after so much time in captivity.

  6. So great that you three were able to spend time together in such a beautiful spot. And you’ll get no argument from me on air + light + trees as cathedrals.. . (Interesting that despite the difference between our climates, your photos show some of the connections/similarities that make Cascadia a bioregion. At least, there’s something in many of the photos that feels like home to me. . .

    1. It was so needed. The area does look much more like your ecosystem than mine in the Bay Area. In fact that area is just on the border of the two systems, sometimes one side of the road is deciduous and the other evergreen. The evergreens are stressed, though, and I feel they are losing ground.

  7. Sounds perfect. Very happy you could have time I. Such a beautiful place with your children. Freedom to be outdoors with loved ones is wonderful.

  8. It looks so beautiful, I would love to plan a trip there. So glad you and your kids had a great time. I’m so like your son…..I always have to stop and look for rock (certain shapes) and shells. I could do it all day.

Comments are closed.