Sonoma Trip Report Day 1: Timber Cove Inn

This trip came about because of what I mentioned in the previous post – after a long, hot, dry Las Vegas summer with outings only to Disneyland and the beach, we were craving something a little more rustic. And we got it at Timber Cove Inn on the Sonoma Coast.

It had been 12 years since our last visit to this rustic hideaway on the ocean. Since then we had lived in Oregon twice, Ohio for a year, Florida for four years, and Las Vegas now for two and a half. What would it feel like to return to Sonoma?

We were happy to learn we could fly directly to Santa Rosa from Las Vegas, avoiding the big 3 airports in the San Francisco Bay Area. From Santa Rosa the drive to Timber Cove was about 1-1/2 hours but the last few miles are on narrow, curving, winding roads.

As it turned out, we found out our flight would be 2 hours late – only after we were already at the airport. This was not happy news because we’d planned on arriving before dark and hoped to pick up some picnic fixings and some wine along the way to enjoy an evening meal in our room. This delay put us driving in the dark on a very foggy evening and it was quite a tense drive. At that time of night, cows are known to come down from the hills and hang out on the side of the road – and they took us by surprise when we saw the first one inches from the car.

But we arrived safely and after checking in at the front desk (you used to check in at the bar – this would be the first of a few changes that took place after the remodel just 2 years ago), we made a reservation for dinner in the waterfront dining room.

The dining room seemed more rustic this time – plain tables with no tablecloths like we remembered – and the menu had changed. Instead of entrees such as seafood pasta, the entrees were all protein-based such as salmon, halibut, steak, chicken, lamb, and risotto. Rich ordered the steak and I ordered the risotto and we shared. Both were absolutely delicious and the serving size was not too large, which we were concerned about with eating so late at night. By the time we finished dinner, it was close to 9:30-10:00 pm. (The next night we shared the Halibut and the Salmon after hearing rave reviews at the firepit.)

Friday night is locals night and there was a Latin band/singer in the lounge and grey-haired Bay Area ex-hippie types were dancing – especially one group of women. I chuckled because it was so Northern California. As a brief note, Rich and I met while living in the San Francisco area – he lived there for 18 years and it was 22 years for me for an average of 20 years. 🙂

Our room was at the far end of the main building. All rooms at Timber Cove Inn are funky, to say the least. We had the room with the strange jacuzzi so deep you’d have to have a ladder to climb out of it, and a sauna of all things. So 1970s. But the fireplace was wonderful (gas – not wood like before). When we went out to sit by the firepit after dinner, we discussed the individual weirdnesses of our rooms.

Unfortunately, one Bay Area woman (I knew it before she even said where she was from. In fact, I blurted out, “What part of the Bay Area are you from?”) was dominating the conversation, and you could tell the rest of us wanted to throw her off the cliff. lol! This was not my idea of a good time – especially on my vacation. But I suspect she’d had a little too much wine to drink so I’ll have to overlook her obnoxious behavior. But the romantic, private setting we’d enjoyed before was starting to feel like group camp out by the firepit. You never know who you’re going to be sharing it with, but the San Rafael dentist sitting closest to us did play a little trick on her.

Here’s how the firepit conversation went. When you arrived, the obnoxious woman from Alameda would say, “New person, new person, you have to tell us where you’re from” and when you did, she’d say, “I’m sorry.” Ha, ha, ha! She didn’t like my answer when I said I was from all over. She didn’t like it when I said I’d been having adventures. She especially didn’t like it when I said I was now living in Vegas.

So what did the dentist say when she made a point of saying, “There’s a child here” as if that was a terrible thing? When asked where he was from, he said he was the poor white trash living in the trailer park down the road. That shut her up – for a moment. Actually, he made a point of telling all of us he was paying $400 a month each for 3 slips for his little vacation on the ocean.

Finally, her little group left and the rest of us (most from Orange County in Southern California) had a fun, normal chat around the firepit. We left that group close to midnight. How ironic it took a little firepit on the ocean to keep us up that late when we live in a town that stays open 24/7.

I’ll post some pictures taken of the coast in the next post.