When my partner of 30+ years and I decided to take advantage of the "wedding window" in California, there was no question about where we'd do it: in the Russian River Valley, where we'd lived in a cabin on a redwood covered hillside for over 20 years. And there was no question about where we'd put up the guests who were traveling from the Midwest, Massachusetts, Maui, and scattered points in between: Creekside Inn & Resort in Guerneville. The time was early October.
We'd known and worked with owners Lynn Crescione and her son Mark since we'd had to find accommodations for visitors who started coming in almost as soon as we moved into our rustic cabin. Their property became our second and third bedrooms because the property had such a range of living options and because we knew our company would be treated like family.
It's been almost a decade since we left the river, a couple of years since we'd been back, and we knew that the resort had been undergoing some huge changes but we had faith that its essential character would be perfect for the crowd of extended family and friends– most of whom had only ever heard of each other– we were gathering. It couldn't have worked out better.
Creekside's range and variety of accommodations made it easy for us slot in an almost equally diverse range of guests - from the couple from Martinsburg (WV) with the 19 year old son, to the couple from Portland (OR) with a two year old terrier and the wife's parents in their late 70s, to the couple from San Mateo (CA) with a pair of sons aged 6 months and two years, to the almost-newlyweds from Boston (MA) with a baby on the way. With our two dogs in attendance (they were our attendants) we were singles, couples, families, and dogs... with plenty of room to join the party or go our own ways for however long we wanted to.
The clan gathered on Friday evening for a catered BBQ (Lynn was VERY helpful in working with a caterer we'd chosen over the net) on the greensward in front of the inn, introducing themselves . After dinner half the party went into the Bed & Breakfast lounge for an impromptu concert and sing-along, the other half retiring to their fireplaces or decks to enjoy the autumn evening.
Friday set the tone for the rest of the weekend. It was like a family reunion where everybody likes each other (pretty unheard of in my experience) and the location was a major enhancement of that feeling. People spent Saturday morning exploring Guerneville and the spectacular redwoods, or just getting to know each other better sipping coffee (and sometimes bubbly) at poolside.
Our wedding, which took place in early afternoon in the gorgeous garden of other friends' home a few miles down the road, was a glorious interruption which everybody really enjoyed but, in fact, nobody minded climbing on the bus or into their cars to get back to what had become a real reunion at Creekside. We dined on a kind of potluck constructed from leftovers from the BBQ and the wedding supplemented by fresh stuff from the nearby Safeway... which was all made easier by the abundance of kitches and fridges everybody brought food from and took it back to. By 8 PM the musical gathering in the B&B had started up again....
We all breakfasted irregularly Sunday morning on the grounds, in our cottages and suites, and in the B&B dining room. Then Greg and I watched as our friends and family said goodbye their old and new friends and family and went their merry ways bubbling with what fun they'd had.
We have, so far, received only a dozen or so outright requests that we do another reunion at Creekside on our first anniversary... but based on the hints I won't be surprised if they increase as October approaches.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Creekside Inn & Resort is a warm and welcoming Russian River Inn nestled among the redwoods in the Russian River Valley, famous for pinot noir and chardonnay in the heart of Sonoma County's Great Northwest. There is a 6 room bed & breakfast and 22 charming suites, sunny decks, a pool and hot tub, picnic areas, affordable rates. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Creekside Inn & Resort Guerneville, Sonoma County, CA