Tuesday, June 7, 2011

101 North: Forestville, The Farmhouse Inn

The Farmhouse Inn 7871 River Rd., (800) 464-6642, (707) 887-3300. 18 units. Some wood-burning & gas fireplaces; some saunas & steam rooms. Heated pool (avail. May-Sept); full-service spa. Evening snack; full breakfast; restaurant; limited room service. No pets. The Victorian farmhouse that forms the center of this property dates back to 1872. The inn buildings are on a tamed 6-acre lot, with nearby vineyards stretching for miles. The name evokes patchwork quilts, but it isn’t that kind of farmhouse. It’s an upscale, modern version. After registering, guests get the pleasure of selecting and dishing up some bath salts and a sugar rub, and of slicing off a bar of their favorite soap. This is also where they borrow a DVD and pick up the makings for s’mores (including housemade marshmallows) to feast on later at the fire pit surrounded by Adirondack chairs. Throughout, the inn is stylish and contemporary, with interesting farm antiques displayed here and there. The color palette is subdued whites, greys, and black, and each room is slightly different and has some unusual feature, such as a top-hung sliding barn door to the bathroom or a sliding headboard that allows seeing through to an adjacent fireplace. Two rooms are up a steep staircase in the farmhouse, where alterations are restricted because it is a historical building. Their bathrooms feature an unusual custom-made, two-level, grey soapstone tub that fills from a faucet in the ceiling (!), a two-person steam shower, and a heated floor. Built in the early 1900s as farm-worker housing, the spacious cottages are equipped today with white-tile bathrooms featuring decorative tile and a jetted tub; some have a full-size dry sauna. The all-new barn rooms sit on the site of the property’s original barn. Rooms in the majestic two-story building have high ceilings, and large windows look out onto large private decks. Mixing lavish and humble, these rooms feature bold architecture accented with homey hand-woven fabrics and simple, elegant furnishings. All 18 units have sumptuous bedding, and everyone gets bottled water and turn-down cookies and milk.
Farmhouse, the restaurant, offers two dining rooms and a sophisticated seasonal menu. Diners have a choice of a three- or four-course dinner with optional wine pairings in a pleasing variety of glasses. Options are many, and usually include the popular Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit—featuring rabbit prepared three ways—as well as exceptional fresh fish and beef dishes. A smooth Valrhona chocolate souffle is also a menu mainstay. Breakfast is served here, and on a sunny day the patio is choice. Optionally, an in-room continental breakfast is also possible.

image c2011 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

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