After a long day of riding the twists and turns of the Russian River Valley in Sonoma Valley north of San Francisco, I longed for a plush place to hang up my gear for the night. As if by magic, a charming cluster of cottages appeared among the ferns, redwoods and wildflowers growing wild among the cottages sitting perched on the hillside. The appropriately-named Fern Grove Cottages are in the perfect setting along River Road in Guerneville.
I was greeted by the owner, Margaret, the local “gal in the know.” Margaret and her husband, Mike, bought this property in hopes of retiring. Fortunately for their guests, they enjoy their job too much to leave. With a glass of sherry in one hand and helmet in the other, I proceeded to Cabin 5, opened the door and was immediately hit with the feeling of home. With a small kitchen, cozy living room and quiet bedroom in the back, I was ready to settle in.
After unloading the bike, I headed back to the office to ask Margaret a few questions about the grounds and the area. I made sure to take my time, as the grounds are truly a work of art. Mike and Margaret have done a fabulous job in creating a bounty of flora, making their guests feel as if they’re in some sort of wonderland. It was spring so the timing was perfect for me to appreciate the stunning display of color.
I grabbed another glass of sherry in the lobby and continued my conversation with Margaret. Everything in Guerneville is within walking distance, so she was able to point me in the right direction for food, drinks, or whatever I desired. Off I went to explore the town, but not without one last trek around the grounds. Not only does Fern Grove Cottages offer a feast for the eyes, but you may also use their outdoor barbecue area to create your own culinary feast. But, if you want to use it, don’t forget to put your name on the list as it is quite a popular spot. There is also a pool that is open during the summer months, the perfect place to cool the body after a sizzling summer ride.
With dinner and a leisurely stroll around town behind me, the day’s ride soon got the best of me, begging me to head back to the comfort of my cottage. As I wandered back onto the property, the strings of lights overhead helped guide my way as the flowers tucked themselves back in for the night, waiting to be greeted once again by the morning light. I did take one more opportunity to sit outside on my little patio, watching the other Fern Grove guests walk on by, all of us waving “hi” to one another. There was a sense of calm among all who stayed here. I can’t pinpoint why, but I believe a culmination of good vibes, good people and a lovely landscape may have had something to do with it.
The morning brought the usual packing of the bike, but it also brought the guests of Fern Grove together in the lobby for a breakfast of granola, fruit, freshly brewed coffee and a variety of other eats. A large table held all of us as we swapped stories and shared life experiences. I helped some travelers from Florida plan their stay in the area and they swapped tips for the best places to visit on the east coast. There was no need to be shy as everyone jumped in on into the conversation. This is what I love about solo travel.
With the bike packed and a final farewell to Margaret, I set off on my day’s journey well rested, well fed and ready to take on more great Sonoma County backroads. When you journey out west to stay at Fern Grove Cottages, let Margaret know that Sandy from MotoSFO sent you. She may just have a little something extra to share with you.
Studio cottages start at $89 per night and Spa Studios are as much as $169. A two-bedroom home is also available for $269 in high season. Visit their website to find out about free upgrades, Lazy Day Sundays, and perks. Dogs are welcome by prior arrangement. They also arrange tours of the redwoods, canoe and kayak rentals, and even zipline canopy tours. Enjoy.