Sonoma County’s got it going on: pastoral scenery, amazing food & drink, and a striking coastline that just won’t quit.
Stay anywhere along the Sonoma Coast and you’ll swoon. But I especially love The Sea Ranch. Controversial in its original formation, it now seems such a demure development. Sleek timber-frame architecture dots the landscape. Weathered wood and unembellished lines reference barns through the lens of 70s modernism. A hazy sun shines, hawks screech and wind rustles sea grass. Plus if you listen carefully, you’ll hear a sweet Astrud Gilberto lullaby wafting gently in the background. Or so it would seem.
Yep, there’s a lodge where you can stay. But with over 2,000 lots (did I say demure?), I strongly recommend renting a house for the weekend. The architecture and exteriors are uniform; just mind those interiors! Individually-owned property can mean smart living spaces or peach leather sofas paired with bulbous 80s table lamps. I prefer the former. On a recent trip with family and friends, I found a stylish retreat through Sea Ranch Rentals and loved it.
Requisite black and white Sea Ranch shot.
What’s there to do? Not much. Which of course is plenty. The peace and austerity is immensely fulfilling. Unplugging is a considerable activity in and of itself. At night, you’ll stargaze and cozy up around the fireplace. During the day, you’ll blissfully veg out to azure waters pulsing back and forth in rocky coves. There’s rec centers for the overly ambitious; lazy hiking for the rest of us. Stroll down to one of the many beaches to explore tidepools and scramble over massive rock formations. Whales spout plumes of spray just off shore through the late winter and early spring. Deer, coyote and foxes are ubiquitous. The rest of your weekend will be comprised of cozy meals, board games and blanket-fueled sofatime. Get a place with a proper kitchen and eschew your Whole Foods for the local Surf Market in nearby Gualala.
Invite some friends or make it a personal retreat. Either way, I guarantee that Sunday will come way too fast.