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Fall/Winter 2009

Farm-Fresh Elegance

The Russian River Valley's rustic Farmhouse Inn has become a destination that will make you want to stay.

By Martha Ross

The artfully prepared dinners at the Farmhouse Inn and Restaurant have always been reason enough to visit. But, these days, you might want to book a room for the night. The inn, nestled amid redwoods in the Russian River Valley, has added eight rustically elegant, light-filled rooms and suites in its new “Barn.” The new rooms feature private decks, fireplaces, and luxurious baths.
The Barn follows in the tradition of the inn by paying tribute to the property’s agricultural past. The main house, a yellow 1873 structure, was originally home to a family that worked the land. The inn’s current owners, brother and sister Joe and Catherine Bartolomei, descend from another Russian River family that raised cattle, fruit trees, and wine grapes.
That agricultural influence is one of the reasons why, in the 21st century, the Farmhouse Inn and Restaurant has become a revered Wine Country destination. The inn has been listed among the most romantic destinations in the country, while the ingredients chef Steve Litke uses in his meals are, well, fresh off the farm. The produce and herbs come from the kitchen garden or Catherine Bartolomei’s nearby farm; the dessert cheeses from Sonoma County artisan purveyors. And, yes, the wine list emphasizes bottles produced by wine-making neighbors, including the Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays for which the Russian River Valley has become renowned.
By staying overnight in the Barn, you can enjoy a leisurely meal and wine, knowing you don’t have to navigate a winding rural road back to town or Highway 101. After dinner, stroll past the kitchen garden back to your room, like a guest at a friend’s country home.
Farmhouse Inn and Restaurant, 7871 River Rd., Forestville, (707) 887-3300,

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