My husband and I enjoy road trips! Aside from having an excuse to eat all the junk food we could, we get to spend quality time, bond by admiring the expansive and beautiful landscapes, sing our favorite songs and have meaningful and silly conversations. With our backpacks ready, we head on to Monte Rio – a city in California we shamefully have never heard of before.
Driving 2 hours west coming from Sacramento, we were taken through the windy road of the idyllic 10-mile stretch known as the Bohemian Highway. True to its name, the Bohemian Highway boasted an eclectic mix of changing landscapes from the towering redwoods to the many Sonoma vineyards to the deep ravines. Upon arriving, visitors are immediately welcomed with an arch that loudly says “Welcome to Monte Rio Vacation Wonderland”. The sign looks more like a remnant of better days but what do we know, it’s our first time after all.
Monte Rio is located west of Sonoma right by the Russian River. In the 1900’s, it was dubbed vacation wonderland because of the various activities tourists can enjoy. From hiking to music festivals to all sorts of water activities. Monte Rio is quintessentially an American small town! Quaint, charming and quiet. Even with the fog and rain, we were in awe of the sheer beauty of this place!
It was getting dark so we’ve decided to head straight to our accommodation for the night. Thanks to Groupon, we found this gem of a 14-room inn called Highland Dell Lodge. With direct access to the Russian River, Highland Dell Lodge is a popular location not only for intimate weddings but also for quick summer getaways.
Surrounded by century-old redwoods, the Highland Dell Lodge is also perfect for a quiet escape during winter. Inside is a certain kind of historic charm, this lodge was built in the early 1900’s afterall.
We booked a Garden Room with a slight view of the river and century-old redwoods. The receptionist informed us that there aren’t many restaurants open after 6 PM in Monte Rio so we opted to eat a light Safeway-bought meal back at the lodge. The rest of the night was quiet, a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
When you are woken up by the sounds of the birds chirping and the sight of tall redwoods, you’ll know that the day ahead of you will be wonderful. We went down to the bar to enjoy a complimentary breakfast with this stunning view in the background! If only all mornings are like this everyday!
If it weren’t raining, we would’ve loved to explore more of this “vacation wonderland”. It’s definitely on my summer list! Instead, we packed our backpacks and said goodbye to this cute lodge dog named Maggie and headed back east.
We took the scenic route Highway 1 through Bodega Bay on our way back and stopping a few times to take snaps of the gorgeous scenery.
While in Bodega Bay, we took a quick coffee and pastries stop at The Tides (as I’m always on the hunt for good pastries, but that’s for another blog post).
Having lived in Asia for a few months last year made me realize just how much of California (my home state) we haven’t explored! I look forward to seeing more small towns and beautiful terrains and take more road trips like this. Truly, its not the destination but the journey! And while I enjoyed spending time in Monte Rio, the drive through Bohemian Highway and Highway 1 were the highlights of our trip. Cheers!
Last year, my husband and I took a road trip up north to Seattle. Check out my blog, Sights and Sounds: Pacific Northwest.