Kayaking on the Russian River

Kayaking on the Russian River

By Eileen Ogintz

JENNER, CA (Day Three) — Hello little guy!

We’re kayaking in the mouth of the Russian River in Jenner, CA as one harbor seal after another pops up his head. We see Egrets, Great Blue Herons, Ospreys with fish in their mouths, going to their nests presumably.

Sonoma County, of course, is famous for its wine—more than 370 wineries in 15 distinct wine growing regions. But Sonoma County, the size of Rhode Island, is also famous for outdoor adventures. Getaway Adventures, which has arranged our kayak tour, also does sip and pedal tours to wineries and peddle and paddle tours that combine biking, wine and kayaking.

At the beach where the 66-mile Russian River meets the Pacific Ocean, we watch  a 100 or so harbor seals loll in the sun—from a respecfull distance of course.

We spent the night at The Jenner Inn overlooking the Russian River, where the new owners are developing a four-acre meadow to be a bird watcher’s paradise wildflowers, 10 feeders and an owl box (a Bald Eagle typically makes an appearance in the early morning!).  There are 300 species of birds here, explained Charlie Coyne, one of the new partners.

Dinner was at the River’s End on a bluff overlooking the river mouth, where we were kayaking this morning. Originally built as an inn for loggers and fisherman, today, the restaurant is a favorite among locals and tourists. We feasted on fresh oysters, crab cakes and pasta.

After kayaking, we forgo Bodega Bay with all of its charms—hiking trails, amazing views and the Spud Point Crab Company famous for smoked salmon, chowder and crab that they cook the crab you select so you can pick away at it at a picnic table outside overlooking the Bay. Instead, we head to the newly renovated, 46-room Timber Cove Resort that overlooks the ocean.

The Obelisk at Timber Cove Resort

The Obelisk at Timber Cove Resort

Originally built in 1963, the hotel reopened last summer after an extensive makeover. It’s rare to find a hotel so suited for romance and with such amazing views of the ocean! The comfy beds! The touches like old fashioned record players and classic vinyl records (we have The Beach Boys 15 Big Ones and Carole King Tapestry) an old fashioned fridge and deck where the ocean stretches on forever.

Kids will love the four-bed bunk rooms, the cabinet full of board games and the treasure hunt of the extensive property designed by 11-year-old  Sophia von Gierke, the daughter of one of the owners. Let’s not forget the “outdoor living room” with billiards, foosball and swinging chairs

Parents will love the to-die for views, the walks around the property and the relaxed vibe in the main lounge with its huge stone fireplace and the Coast Restaurant, though known for its farm and sea sophisticated cuisine has a kids’ menu.

There is a Hirsh tasting room—the huge table is made from one slab of Redwood! With popular tastings of the Hirsh famous Pinots and Chardonay—Hirsch was the first to plant Pinot Noir on the Sonoma Coast.

Perhaps its not surprising that presumably well-heeled Millennials are attracted to the resort and the tastings ($30 per person). “Our core demographic is 20-35,”  said Tyler Shatto, himself just 23, who conducts the tasting. “It’s about how fresh the food is and how local the wine is… and it’s about the story… each winery has an interesting story.”

“They want an experience to share it all over a bottle of wine,” adds Leif Goldfiel, the 28-yearold food and beverage director “It’s something different… the value is the experience, not just the wine….”