Because it’s the major resort town for lovers of Russian River recreation, you’ll find a couple dozen B&Bs and cabin resorts in town. Many of these spots are gay-friendly, some with clothing-optional hot tubs and such.
The Sonoma Orchid Inn (12850 River Rd., 888/877-4466, www.sonomaorchidinn.com, $165–270, pets welcome) experience is made by its amazing owners. They’ve created beautiful guest rooms with elegant linens and furniture, plus just enough tchotchkes to keep things interesting.
The best (and spendiest) rooms have satellite TVs with TiVo as well as DVD players and VCRs, and microwaves and small refrigerators. On the economy end of the spectrum, rooms are tiny but cute, with private baths and pretty decorations. But best of all, the owners of the Orchid will offer to help you with absolutely everything you need.
They not only recommend restaurants and spas, they’ll make reservations for you. They’ve got opinions about the local wineries, hikes, river spots, and just about everything else in the region.
The Orchid makes a perfect inn for visitors who’ve never been to the area before—they’re dog friendly, clothing-mandatory, and welcoming to travelers of all persuasions.
On the gay resort end of the spectrum, there’s the Russian River Resort (16390 Fourth St., 707/869-0691, www.russianriverresort.com, $110–220, two-night minimum May–Oct.). This absolutely adults-only resort offers economical but comfortable accommodations, a popular pool, a hot tub, and a near-endless stream of entertainment and events on-site and in town.
An equal opportunity resort, both gay men and lesbians (and a few liberal straights) stay here regularly. Granted, many of the pool parties tend toward the masculine, but there’s plenty of fun for anybody’s who’s interested in finding it here.
The RRR isn’t clothing optional, because it’s got two restaurants and a bar on-site. It is dog-friendly, though it’s got a no-dogs-on-holiday-weekends policy.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition