Wine country can be something of a scene these days, with enthusiasts trying fit in as many wineries as possible, swirling, spitting, purchasing -- realizing they've bought too many bottles to fit in their suitcase, frantically figuring out how to ship wine home, which sometimes requires an alcohol-soaked brain to figure out complicated interstate wine shipment regulations....
Really, it can cause more of a headache than a hangover.
One remedy for all of this is Applewood Inn in Guerneville, California -- which is in the midst of its first season under new ownership.
When you look at Sonoma County, Guerneville isn't really in the middle of it all. This chic-shabby town lies to the west of the where most of the county's wine action is, heading out towards Sonoma's (largely unappreciated) Pacific coast. Applewood is set among young redwood trees, and its award-winning restaurant and its 19 guest rooms are mostly arranged around a peaceful courtyard, complete with a fountain that trickles merrily.
Room décor is also not striving to be in the middle of anything like a current design trend, although there are flat-screen TVs, fireplaces, and so on. Think cozy country motifs, cabbage rose bed spreads, Tuscan stripe upholstered chairs, gleaming wood throughout. Indeed, new owners Carlos Pippa and Sylvia Ranyak envision something of a Tuscan theme for the property.
You'll get to know Carlos and Sylvia as they're gracious on-site managers as well as owners. Running an inn and a restaurant turns out to be their idea of retirement -- Carlos owned a business in Texas that sold parts related to industrial painting. Upon retiring, he and Sylvia loaded up their RV with motorcycles and went on a multiple-month adventure from Mexico to Rio de Janeiro. It was in the rural portions of this journey that they realized they wanted to be in a more bucolic environment than Plano. The Applewood Inn is their next act. Be sure to ask them about their South American sojourn if you go.