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The Advocate

  • October 10, 2007

Stress-free getaways before the holiday rush
Refresh yourself in the shade of the colossal California redwoods of the Russian River. This rustic retreat inspires repeat visits from nearby San Franciscans who soak up its country charm and re-energize at the many area spas. Simply slow down, relax and let "The River" take you away.

Stay and unwind
Splash into escapism at the completely renovated (and gay favorite) Russian River Resort (16440 Fourth St., Guerneville, 707-869-0691 or 800-417-3767, Find peace among a three-acre stand of redwoods at the Highlands Resort (14000 Woodland Drive, Guerneville, 707-869-0333, where phones and TVs are not a fact of life. Instead, soak in the hot tub, gaze into a fire, or enjoy an on-site massage. Tranquility abounds among the swaying trees at The Woods Resort (16484 Fourth St., Guerneville, 877-887-9218 or 707-887-9218,, a charming property tucked into a bend of Fife's Creek.

Delectable dining
Watch the Russian River flow into the Pacific while supping on fresh seafood at the River's End (11048 Highway 1, Jenner, 707-865-2484, Savor the tastes of Wine Country and fresh Italian cuisine at the Applewood Inn & Restaurant (13555 Highway 116, Guerneville, 707-869-9093, Romance and river views are on the menu along with classic American cuisine at the Village Inn (20822 River Blvd., Monte Rio, 707-865-2304,

Stress reduction
Serene music and a clean, woody fragrance greet you upon entering Osmosis Enzyme Bath & Massage (209 Bohemian Hwy., Freestone, 707-823-8231,, where your cares (and body toxins) will be stripped away in a Japanese tub filled with cedar flakes, rice bran hulls and 600 active enzymes generating warmth biologically through fermentation. Follow it up with a 75-minute Swedish/Esalen massage in an outdoor pavilion for utter bliss. Re-invigorate your skin with a wet salt massage at River Village Resort & Spa (14880 River Road, Guerneville; 707-869-8139 or 800-977-4120,, which is set among lush gardens.

Retail therapy
Amble through the Guerneville 5 & 10 (16252 Main St., 707-869-3404, for floats, flip-flops and other accessories tailor-made to a delightful river getaway.