Today I want to tell you all about how I spent my 50th birthday, celebrating at Farmhouse Inn and Restaurant in Russian River Valley, about a 30-minute drive from our home.
My original birthday plans included a 17-day trip to France with my husband. But the fires began three days before our flight to Paris was to leave. Needless to say, we canceled our trip. By the time my actual birthday arrived, the fires were out and we were able to return to our home.
We decided we would still celebrate my birthday but rather than get on a plane somewhere, we wanted to stay local for a couple of reasons. First, we didn’t want to be far from our home, friends and family. And second, we wanted to keep our travel dollars here in Sonoma County, supporting local businesses.
Farmhouse Inn & Restaurant
I have always dreamed of staying at Farmhouse Inn so when Bill suggested it, I was elated!
Farmhouse Inn & Restaurant is family-owned by siblings Joe and Catherine Bartolomei. Their family goes back five generations in Sonoma County! That is remarkable in itself. What is also remarkable is the number of prestigious awards Farmhouse Inn has earned including 2017 #1 Best Hotel in Northern California by Condé Nast Traveler. Their restaurant, located onsite, has been given a Michelin Star annually for the last 10 years.
We checked in at registration, greeted warmly by the welcoming and friendly staff. They gave us a quick run down of the property then we were shown to our gorgeous King Deluxe room.
The Property at Farmhouse Inn
Farmhouse Inn is tucked away on a secluded property surrounded by woods. Once you’re on site, you feel as though you’re miles away from everything yet you’re just a short distance from world-class wineries, restaurants, shopping and entertainment. Since we live in the area, we spent most of our time on the property but we did venture out, as you will read later, to visit some premier Russian River wineries.
I adore the architecture at Farmhouse Inn – it’s modern farmhouse style. An enticing pool is located in the center of the property, surrounded by a stone wall. The pool area has a few chic seating areas, fire pits and a hot tub.
Bill and I sat by the pool one afternoon and ordered some sandwiches to enjoy on our lounge chairs, then took a dip in the pool. It was so lovely and relaxing!
I could not get enough of the breathtaking roses, some as big as your head, dotted throughout the grounds. The roses were magnificent and the vibrant pinks shades were just gorgeous.
I rarely passed them without either leaning in for a sniff, taking another photo or both.
I grew up with lots of cats and always had kitties throughout my life. With 4 dogs, adding a new kitty to our family is not in the cards right now. Because I am feline deprived at home, I squeal with delight when I see a cat. And if that cat happens to be at an inn where I am staying, well forget it. I will go to great lengths to find and befriend that cat, or in the case of Farmhouse Inn – cats, plural!
Farmhouse Inn is home to three adorable kitty cats and I want to tell you a little about each one.
Charlotte, the black kitty, is the head cat at Farmhouse Inn. She is the oldest and loves to sleep in the guest rooms, usually on the bed snuggled up next to you. The three nights we were at Farmhouse Inn, Charlotte slept with us. Charlotte is a friendly cat but can be rather aloof. You get the feeling when you’re in her presence, that it’s her room and she’s just letting you sleep there.
Then there’s Fitz. We first met Fitz when checking in at the reception. He looks just like our last kitty who was also a Tuxedo cat. Fitz is also friendly, has a confident air about him and loves to curl up on the fluffy towels at the pool and take naps.
Finally, there is Giles – Goofy Giles, I call him. He is an orange and white tabby and loves belly rubs, baby talk and brief stays because he is always on the go. He acts like he wants to be in your room to hang out with you, sniffing around and checking things out, then quickly changes his mind and darts outside. Speaking of hanging out, Giles’s tongue is always hanging out, as in permanently. He is definitely the most animated of the three Farmhouse felines.
Our King Deluxe Guest Room
Our room was stunning and so spacious! I fell in love with the neutral tones, the light airiness, and the comfy bed and furniture. There is something so inviting and comfortable about the inn’s décor. It was luxurious and decadent but not stiff or stuffy. It was easy to relax and feel at home.
A few weeks ago, when Bill and I were talking about redecorating our home, he asked me to name a hotel we’ve stayed in that I would want to emulate. Without missing a beat, I said, “Farmhouse Inn, of course!”
My 50th Birthday!
My 50th birthday started out with a few of my favorite things: a bubble bath in the jetted tub accompanied by chilled French bubbly, then a mouthwatering breakfast in the dining room at Farmhouse Restaurant.
I opened gifts from my husband, wrapped with used fire maps, and was delighted to discover he bought me a Louis Vuitton Neverfull and a bottle of Dom Perignon, that I’ve stashed away for a future celebratory occasion.
Private Wine Tour
After breakfast, we returned to our room to get ready for a day of wine tasting with a personal guide. We booked a private wine tour through the inn with Randall of Randall’s Wine Tours.
Bill and I rarely go wine tasting unless it’s for a blog story so it was fun to wine taste without having to worry about documenting our experience. We also didn’t even need to pick out which wineries to visit or book the appointments. Randall handled it all! He did all the driving, of course, and kept us right on schedule. Plus, he knew the wineries we visited and the wines we tasted inside and out and the staff at all three wineries knew him by name.
Russian River Valley is known for its Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines. All three wineries we visited specialize in those varietals. They were all superb and we purchased a lot of wine to bring home with us. Much more than we anticipated – there were so many fantastic wines, it was hard not to bring them home.
Our first stop was the world-famous William Selyem. I can’t believe it’s taken us so long to experience this phenomenal winery!
Next, we went to a seated tasting at Lynmar Estate.
And lastly, we visited Freeman Winery.
Fall is such a gorgeous time of year in the Russian River. The leaves in the vineyards were shades of bright yellows, oranges and reds. And the flowers at Lynmar put on such a colorful show for visitors while we were there.
Our last night at the inn, we had dinner at Farmhouse Restaurant, the onsite Michelin Star restaurant. It was such a special birthday dinner! Every course and every morsel was culinary perfection. The plates were not only a delight to eat but pleasing to the eye as well. The romantic lighting made photos difficult but I really wanted to focus on the experience anyway. My birthday dinner at Farmhouse Restaurant ranks as one of the best dining experiences I’ve ever had, possibly the best.
I hope to return to Farmhouse Inn again and again. It is quintessential wine country luxury and so relaxing and peaceful. Plus, those kitties!
Farmhouse Inn & Restaurant, 7871 River Road in Forestville, California. Visit their website for more information or call 707-887-3300.
For private wine tours, contact Randall at Randall’s Wine Tours or call 707-888-1551
This post is not sponsored in any way. We had such a wonderful experience at Farmhouse Inn and with Randall on the wine tour that I wanted to share it all with readers. I enjoy supporting Bay Area businesses, especially when they are family-owned and offer superior products and/or services.