Take calming cedar baths and canoe down the Russian River with this gentle guide to drinking in the best of northern California‘s vineyard-trailed hinterland.
For sure, the northern part of California, just up from San Francisco and the Bay Area, is synonymous with wine – Napa Valley alone has 400 wineries and counting. But take a leisurely drive, walk or cycle through the area and you’ll also be met with dramatic coastlines, salty ocean air, ancient forests, snaking river bends, giant redwood forests and wilderness parks aplenty, making it a great place to reconnect with nature, too. After all that mindful exploration, what better way to power down than with a glass of the area’s finest?
Timber Cove Resort is quintessential Sonoma: dramatic views from bluffs overlooking the Pacific, 55mi (90km) of switchback coastline to explore and towering redwoods, as well as good food and comfy rooms back at base. Indeed, the lodge was specifically built in 1963 as a place of meditation and tranquility by architect and original owner Richard Clements Jr., and later visited by artsy friends, including sculptor Beniamino Bufano and photographer Ansel Adams, who came to capture the natural beauty here. Today, you too can get out and explore via hotel-organized rafting, hiking and kayaking trips, along the Russian River and Goat Rock State Beach.
Of course, you could test your mettle in a solo kayak by paddling up the Russian River. Who doesn’t like a challenge? Then again, you could simply rent a kayak or canoe from Burke’s Canoes and do a DIY float downriver – with the current behind you – towards the ocean, where you can be picked up by a prearranged car shuttle. No paddling back up against the current afterward, so a perfectly hassle-free outing.
The Osmosis Spa’s cedar-bath treatment starts with you being immersed in a wooden tub filled with a warm, fragrant blend of finely ground evergreens and rice bran, a combination that is said to improve circulation, relieve joint and muscle pain, and deliver all-around health benefits. Team it with a 75-minute massage to rid yourself of any residual stress.
The spa at this former estate turned elegant Sonoma resort offers a selection of massage, body and facial treatments that use flowers, herbs and other plants plucked from the gardens at MacArthur Place. You get access to seven indoor treatment rooms, a relaxation lounge, steam room and fitness studio equipped with Peloton bikes, and can also sign up for vinyasa yoga classes and late-night stargazing.
Looking for the full package? You can now travel with Culture Trip through the Golden State, ticking off Yosemite hikes, Napa Valley wine tasting and boutique retreats with eco spas and outdoor pools.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.