August 20, 2014

Duncans Mills: Shops; things to do


101 North 

DUNCANS MILLS  On Hwy. 116, 8 mi. W of Guerneville, 4 mi. E of ocean, (707) 865-2024.

cattle graze on the grassy hill behind the shops complex in Duncans Mills, California
cattle graze on the grassy hill behind the shops complex in Duncans Mills, California

Established as a Victorian sawmill village in 1874, this tiny rustic town—population 85 in 2006--is now home to a collection of eclectic shops, a general store with a deli, a restaurant, and a riverside campground with private beach.  Cattle graze on the peaceful adjacent hillside, and benches invite relaxing for a stretch, especially on a sunny day.  The scenic drive that gets you here from Guerneville rolls along the Russian River and through dark redwood forests.

Shops complex:
On the north side of Highway 116/River Road (more shops are found directly across the highway on the south side).
Each specialty shop operates inside a restored historic building.

exterior of Pigs Alley in shops complex in Duncans Mills, California
exterior of Pigs Alley in shops complex in Duncans Mills, California



Antiquarian and Florabunda Fine Flowers  (707) 865-9897.  W-M 11am-5pm.

display at Antiquarian and Florabunda Fine Flowers in shops complex in Duncans Mills, California
display at Antiquarian and Florabunda Fine Flowers in shops complex in Duncans Mills, California

This rustic log cabin greets your nose with a delicious aroma emanating from its house blend of potpourri.  Enjoy it while you browse the unusual antiques and curios, including some jewelry, that are incorporated into creative seasonal displays found throughout the shop.  Fresh flowers are available to go and are especially nice when arranged in a vintage vessel, and locally-grown living plants, blooming flowers, and plenty of succulents that are also for sale vie for your attention in the front garden.

front garden at Antiquarian and Florabunda Fine Flowers in Duncans Mills, California
front garden at Antiquarian and Florabunda Fine Flowers in Duncans Mills, California



Cetonia Bath & Body  (707) 243-8647.
All the fragrant soaps and lotions here are hand made on site.

interior of Cetonia Bath & Body in Duncans Mills, California
interior of Cetonia Bath & Body in Duncans Mills, California



Christopher Queen Galleries  (707) 865-1318.  W-M 11-5.
This gallery was one of the first to specialize in early and contemporary California art.  Most of the works are museum quality.  The first floor shows contemporary works, while the second floor displays Early California paintings dating from the 1860s to the 1940s.

display at Christopher Queen Galleries in Duncans Mills, California
display at Christopher Queen Galleries in Duncans Mills, California


interior of Christopher Queen Galleries in Duncans Mills, California
interior of Christopher Queen Galleries in Duncans Mills, California

Thistledown Antiques purveys the unusual in fine china, jewelry, and furnishings.

merchandise at Thistledown Antiques in Duncans Mills, California
merchandise at Thistledown Antiques in Duncans Mills, California



Duncans Mills General Store  25200 Hwy. 116/River Road, (707) 865-9564.  Daily 8am-8pm.

exterior of Duncans Mills General Store in Duncans Mills, California
exterior of Duncans Mills General Store in Duncans Mills, California

The creaky old wood floors in this old-fashioned general store make me feel like I’ve stepped back in time.  Though it is truly a “general” store--you can buy groceries and dry goods here--the main reason to stop in is to secure a big deli sandwich (my favorite is pastrami on sourdough).  Note that the pastrami, beef jerky, and smoked salmon are all house made and particularly tasty.  The beer selection is extensive, and they always have the locals favorite--Pliney.

board menu at Duncans Mills General Store in Duncans Mills, California
board menu at Duncans Mills General Store in Duncans Mills, California


salmon smoking at Duncans Mills General Store in Duncans Mills, California
salmon smoking at Duncans Mills General Store in Duncans Mills, California



Duncans Mills Tea Shop  (707) 865-9041.  M-Sat 10-6, Sun 11-5.
Claiming to have the largest selection of vintage and new teapots in California, this tea-oriented shop nestled in a repurposed vintage cottage also has a plethora of accoutrements and sells a vast variety of tea in bulk.  It is such a disappointment that they don’t serve afternoon tea.  Some kitchen utensils are also purveyed.

interior of Duncans Mills Tea Shop in Duncans Mills, California
interior of Duncans Mills Tea Shop in Duncans Mills, California


nuns shopping for tea at Duncans Mills Tea Shop in Duncans Mills, California
nuns shopping for tea at Duncans Mills Tea Shop in Duncans Mills, California



Jim and Willie’s Antiques and Collectibles  (707) 865-9672.  Thur-M 11am-5pm. 
This teeny, tiny antique shop provides a great browse.

interior of Jim and Willie's Antiques and Collectibles in Duncans Mills, California
interior of Jim and Willie's Antiques and Collectibles in Duncans Mills, California



Pig Alley  (707) 865-2698. 
This small red-clapboard structure houses handcrafted artisan wares, clothing, and novelties for the home and garden.

busy shoppers at Duncans Mills shops in Duncans Mills, California
busy shoppers at Duncans Mills shops in Duncans Mills, California



Sophie’s Cellars  25179 Main St./Hwy 116.  Daily in summer 11am-5pm; shorter hours rest of year; happy hour F 4-7pm, $5/glass of wine+$5 hors d’oeuvres.
Stop into this sweet little cottage for a tasting paired with local cheeses and freshly baked breads.  Happy hour includes an hors d’oeuvres buffet.

exterior of Sophie's Cellars in Duncans Mills, California
exterior of Sophie's Cellars in Duncans Mills, California



Worldly Goods  (707) 865-3025.  Items found here include hammocks, folk art, sarongs, clothing, rustic furniture, and “whimsies” imported from around the world.

colorful hammocks at Worldly Goods in Duncans Mills, California
colorful hammocks at Worldly Goods in Duncans Mills, California



Restaurant:
Cape Fear Cafe  (707) 865-9246.  B-L-D, Sat-SunBr.  California cuisine is prepared here with a southern flair.  The large menu includes a good burger, Cajun items, and at Sunday brunch seven kinds of Benedict and a Hangtown fry.  Local beers and wines are served.

exterior of Cape Fear Cafe in Duncans Mills, California
exterior of Cape Fear Cafe in Duncans Mills, California


More things to do in nearby Guerneville.

More ideas for exploring Northern California.

images ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers
updated 7-9-19

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