Coronavirus Note: Blog posts made during the sheltering-in-place period of the coronavirus crisis are meant as a virtual escape. As things reopen, some posts will incorporated the new situation in places being written about. However, you are advised to check each destination's website for the most current information. Hopefully, all information posted here will be of use to you when it is safe to travel again.

May 24, 2019

Introduction to Russian River Region

101 North


Once upon a time, in 1809, a party of Russians and Aleuts from the Russian-American Fur Company in Sitka, Alaska, landed at the mouth of what is now the Russian River.  They named it “Slavianka,” or “little beauty.”  In recognition of the Russian influence in the area, it became referred to as the “Russian” River.

scenic of the Russian River Region of Northern California
scenic of the Russian River Region of Northern California

Originally used as a summer camp by the native Pomo Indians, in the '20s and '30s the area became a summer resort favored by wealthy San Franciscans who traveled here by ferry and train to see the ancient redwood forests.  A little later they flocked here to dance halls where live entertainment included Ozzie Nelson and Bennie Goodman.  Then the area faded in popularity and became a pleasant and uncrowded retreat.  Today, slowly recovering from a state of decay, it is regaining some of its former popularity and is known nationally for its resorts catering to gays.  It is also home to many fine wineries.  The atmosphere is easygoing, and it is acceptable to dine anywhere in casual clothing.

Guerneville, the hub of the Russian River resort area, is surrounded by many smaller towns.  The area is nestled in towering redwoods and has numerous public beaches, even more privately-owned ones, and also some unofficial nude beaches.  Inquire in town about how to find, or avoid, them.  The town also has a delightful selection of one-of-a-kind shops.

The area has recovered from the winter floods in 2019 and is ready again to welcome visitors.

Things to do in Guerneville.

Things to do in Forestville.

Things to do in Sebastopol.

More ideas for exploring Northern California.

image ©2019 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

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