Escape the Fog and Hide Out at Farmhouse
Summertime, and the living’s foggy. And cold. Or, as one of my SF-born friends likes to say in July, “It’s another beautiful day here in Warsaw.” Raincoats and scarves are fine for work days spent in an office, but the month ahead is the very time of year when the weekend escape becomes crucial to your peace of mind. There is just something primordially wrong with this kind of weather in midsummer, and your middle brain knows it, so before it starts to play all kinds of cruel tricks on you—inexorably forcing you to that fourth margarita, for instance, or urging you into Nordstrom for your third pair of shoes in a week—gas up the car and drive straight up 101 to Forestville.
There you’ll find Farmhouse Inn, a tidily modern, country-chic B&B that’s got virtually everything you could want for two days of romance, pampering and, most importantly, summer. You can choose from rooms in the main building or among a row of charming cottages, but the new suites in the “Barn” building are the most impressive, featuring huge marble bathrooms with Jacuzzi tubs, floor-to-ceiling windows, flatscreen TVs, iPod docs and double-sided gas fireplaces you can enjoy from either your bed or an Adirondack chair on your private deck.
Farmhouse is only a hop, skip and jump away from Healdsburg, where Charlie Palmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen and Cyrus—helmed by Douglas Keane, who took this year’s Best Pacific Chef title at the James Beard Awards—await. But even if you never leave the property, you’ll have everything necessary for an idyllic summer weekend. For exercise, there’s a sunny outdoor pool where you can swim. Remember swimming? It’s what people who live outside of San Francisco do. For pampering, there’s Farmhouse’s spa, whose director mixes concoctions made of local herbs and beeswax. If you don’t feel like getting in the car to visit any of the dozen wineries within a few miles of the B&B (like Joseph Swan and Iron Horse), there’s a hosted wine-tasting right in the cozy modern lobby each night, and the 18-page wine list at the onsite restaurant is replete with Russian River Chardonnays and Anderson Valley Pinots. Chef Steve Litke, who’s earned his own Michelin star, crafts super-fresh entrees from ingredients sourced from Sonoma ranches, gardens and orchards, including Farmhouse’s own Bartolomei Ranch. My recommendation: a trio of rabbit: loin wrapped in applewood smoked bacon, a rack roasted to smoky perfection and confit of leg with mustard sauce. The rack itself will be the best rabbit you’ve ever tasted, guaranteed.
But wait, it doesn’t end there. After dinner, pick up all the ingredients you need for homemade s’mores and take them back to your deck to roast them amid the croaking frogs and twinkling stars. It’s enough to render that blanket of clouds you encounter on the drive home bearable.