Wood and water
GETAWAYS • Sonoma
Last summer, the historic Sea Ranch Lodge completed a multi-year renovation, offering travelers another reason to visit the idyllic Sonoma coast community it anchors.
Incorporated in the 1960s with the notion of “living lightly on the land,” Sea Ranch comprises 10 miles of rugged coastline, redwood forest, and hundreds of distinctive timber-framed homes designed to meld with its surroundings. The oasis for nature, design, and architecture heads is remote — an hour and 45 minutes’ drive from Sonoma County Airport and a solid three hours from SFO — but the trip’s well worth it.
Rooms at the revamped lodge are decked in red cedar, oak, and fir, with plush furniture and big windows looking out onto the Pacific. In place of TVs, a fireplace, a set of binoculars, and a pair of walking sticks. Outside, the coastal bluff trail winds past tide pools, windswept flora, and clusters of private homes.
The Lodge is also home to a bar, lounge, restaurant, and café, the only food and drinking establishments in Sea Ranch proper. If one tires of the middle-of-the-road fare, there’s a trusty seafood shack in Gualala, one town north, in addition to a weekend barbecue stand outside Surf Market.
With its cozy, convivial atmosphere (the bar is a popular haunt for locals), the Lodge is a fitting shelter for first-time visitors. For return visitors, a Sea Ranch home rental to fully immerse in the pleasures of this tranquilizing community might better do the trick. –Emily Wilson
→ The Sea Ranch Lodge (Sea Ranch, CA) • 60 Sea Walk Dr.