California Wine Country Cycling, Rediscovered (Part Two)

As I was leaving Healdsburg for the rustic and eclectic vibes of Guerneville and the coast, I took a moment to visit Twomey Cellars. Known for their deep and expressive Pinot Noir and being that I am from Oregon near the Willamette Valley wine region, I had to stop in. The Willamette Valley possesses the soil and climate to produce a highly rated Pinot, and I was curious. Not long ago, in September of 2017, Twomey announced they had purchased property in the Eola-Amity Hills in the Willamette Valley. There, in their first property acquisition outside of California, their tradition of creating deep, expressive wines would continue to grow. I was pleased to have taken the time to visit and will be looking forward to sampling their 2017 inaugural Oregon Pinot Noir.

Entering the Russian River Valley feels like stepping back in time. Luxurious hotels and boutique shops make way for meandering country roads and woodland views. The Fern Grove Cottages, a quaint B&B on the edge of Guerneville, provides for a relaxing overnight in either one of the craftsman-style cottages or lodge. Their saline pool, open May through September, is a fine way to relax under the evening skies.

Although known for its down to earth personality, what one might not expect heading into Guerneville is that it is also home to Armstrong Woods State Natural Reserve. This 805-acre reserve is filled with ancient coast Redwoods, the tallest living thing on our planet! Here you can simply… be. Biking options are limited, so I took a walk, felt inspired and relaxed, then headed into town for a bite. I chose Boon, a hip spot with organic cuisine.

The rural highway leading out of Guerneville passes through Duncans Mills, an historic roadside village that is easy to miss and one of my favorite stops for coffee. Gold Coast Coffee and Bakery serves up some great pastries before continuing towards Bodega Bay and the coast. If shopping is on the agenda, the antique shops and unique gift stores are sure to please.

Heading into the coastal hills en-route to Bodega Bay, baby sheep and calves were running awkwardly along the green slopes, and I found myself giggling at their antics. Turning a corner, windswept cliffs high above the ocean greeted me with a cooler, misty breeze. With plenty of turnouts along the way, this part of the California coastline is fun to shoot, if you have a propensity for photography.

On this night, I chose to stay at Inn at the Tides in Bodega Bay. Tired and content from the day, I decided to enjoy a seafood dinner along the bay at Lucas Wharf Restaurant before turning in for the night.

On my final day of work, I drove back to Healdsburg to enjoy a quiet night at Haydon Street Inn before returning home. Along the way I reflected on how the area had changed since my time here years before. There were new wineries that had popped up and a few places where I stopped had changed hands but, for the most part, this idyllic wine region remains, in many ways, how I remembered – a destination never fully discovered. Until next time…

Learn more and view sample itineraries for California cycling tours and vacations for Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley.

Teri Smith is our Head of Operations and Cheerleader in Chief. She keeps the LifeCycle office energized, and is dedicated to creating the perfect trips for our guests.