Photography by John Troxell
Nestled in Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley, among gently rolling hills and stunning vistas, The Farmhouse Inn welcomes you to an inspired escape. Siblings Joe and Catherine Bartolomei discovered the Farmhouse over 21 years ago, and have poured their talents and passion into the exquisite renovation ever since. At The Farmhouse Inn, guests enjoy the very best in luxurious amenities, a world-class spa, and Michelin-Star dining! Owners Joe and Catherine are 5th generation Sonoma farmers who are deeply connected to the property and the surrounding community. The family connection to Sonoma County began when Catherine and Joe’s great grandfather, Dominic Giovanetti immigrated from Lombardy, Italy to Forestville, where he learned to successfully grow hops. His dream was like that of most immigrants—to one day own his own land and to live “the American dream.”
The Bartolomei’s goal is providing guests with enriching and memorable moments that will stay with them long after they leave. The Farmhouse has cultivated relationships with local artisans, including cheesemakers, patissiers, brewers, and wineries to offer guests the best of the region’s culinary and beverage offerings. Farmhouse Inn tailors each guest’s experience to their preferences, allowing them to create their own unique journey. Collaborating with winery partners affords access to exclusive wine-related experiences, including tastings, vineyard tours, and wine pairing dinners. Every stay at the Farmhouse Inn is designed to create treasured life-long memories.
The inn offers a range of room types, from spacious suites with vaulted ceilings and woodland views to charming, cozy spaces for a more intimate experience. This variety ensures that guests can find accommodations that suit their style and needs. Every room and suite at Farmhouse Inn has its own personality and laid-back warmth. One of the most comfortable rooms I’ve ever had the pleasure of staying in, it all comes down to the details like Heaven-sent feather beds with European linens and down comforters, exquisite private bathrooms with large jetted or sitting tubs and steam showers, oversized fireplaces, fresh seasonal flowers in every room, and complimentary non-alcoholic mini bar and an in-room curated wine fridge stocked with rotating selection of favorite local wineries. The staff at Farmhouse Inn is all about warmth, attentiveness, and personalized service. Guests enjoy complimentary on-property wine tasting every evening 4pm to 5pm where the inn’s winery partners host an educational tasting experience. Awaken your inner child and enjoy roasting your own complimentary nightly S’mores with homemade vanilla marshmallows, Valrhona chocolate, and graham crackers, and complimentary movie nights at the outdoor courtyard on Wednesday nights during the Summer.
The Wellness Barn at Farmhouse Inn is a serene and tranquil spa that offers guests a holistic approach to wellness, where one can be restored in a calming natural environment. The spa features a host of extraordinary treatments and experiences for guests to enjoy. I suggest trying Moon Milk Bath, which was created for new beginnings, relaxation, and is a practice deeply rooted in nature. Typically, a few herbs are used in a moon bath and the phases of the moon have been carefully observed while planting, harvesting, or collecting plants. Taking a moon bath can be beneficial for you whenever you need it but may serve a different purpose during a full or new moon. A new moon is when the moon is barely visible in the sky, and this time is perfect for cleansing and setting intentions. A full moon is when the moon is at its brightest and is a great time for inner healing and reflection on the intentions you set during the new moon. All you need is a space that offers silence and privacy. Another great option is the CBD Gemstone Bath, which uses gemstones that represent the elements of Earth, Fire, Water, and Air. Referred to as “Shinrin-Yoku” in Japan, forest bathing uses mindfulness and meditation techniques to open all five senses and connect with nature as a healing tool. Participants are guided on how to slow down, disconnect from technology, and take a break from life’s daily stressors. Forest bathing has been shown to relieve stress and anxiety, decrease depression, reduce blood pressure, improve sleep quality, and strengthen the immune system. Massages are tailored to meet each guest’s needs. There is even a “Mother Earth” massage designed for women who are pregnant. In addition, the spa offers facials and guests can arrange for private yoga sessions (1-4 people) which blend meditation, breathwork and Vinyasa style yoga.
Farmhouse Restaurant celebrates the rich agricultural heritage of the region. With ever-changing menus and a farm-to-table approach, the cuisine is driven by what’s fresh and in season in Sonoma County. Ingredients often come directly from the Bartolomei’s ranch or are discovered by the chef during daily farm visits. Farmhouse Inn’s wine program is designed to complement the dining experience with an extensive selection of wine, including many from Sonoma and Napa, and global selections. Chef Craig Wilmer and his team offer a chef’s tasting menu that consists of six carefully crafted courses, along with additional bites from the chef.
On our visit, we enjoyed Chef Wilmer’s Tasting Menu with a few added surprises. The food and wine pairings were stellar, as were the bottles of Domaine de la Riviere Chardonnay and Pinot Noir our friend Marla Bedrosian brought.
Chef Craig was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, and began his culinary journey flipping burgers at a local country club. He went on to attend the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. After graduating, he traveled and worked in France, Spain and Denmark. After returning to the United States, he worked at several notable restaurants including Petit Crenn by Chef Dominique Crenn and COI by Daniel Paterson. Over a decade later, Craig is putting forth his vision of haute cuisine. Leveraging his multi-cultural childhood and his extensive knowledge of technique, Craig utilizes all that he has learned, while pairing local wild and farmed ingredients with those of classic luxury. Our meal started with a selection of amuse, followed by Early Girl Tomato and Kaluga with a luscious Sake from Japan, then Local Squid in Consomme with Durst Riesling, Grilled White Asparagus with Tatomer, Meeresboden Gruner Veltliner (Santa Barbara County, 2020), Spring Peas with Rangpur Emulsion with Pierre Girardin “Eclat de Calcaire” Chardonnay (Burgundy, 2021), Hen Egg Tortellini with Peay Estate Chardonnay (Sonoma Coast, 2020), Amadai Black Cod with Sauce Choron with Vincent Jourdart Brut Selection, Ferebrianges Champagne, a supplemental course of Snake River Gold Strip Loin, and “Freak of Nature” Oolong Ice Cream with Chateau Raymond-Lafon, Sauternes (2005).
Farmhouse Restaurant prides itself on sustainability. All the waste from the kitchen goes to feed the flock of about 80 hens who lay all the eggs for Farmhouse. Joe’s family raises local pigs, lambs, and annual heritage turkeys for Thanksgiving, and harvests the local honey used in spa services and menus. Rosemary, lavender, edible flowers, and fresh veggies at the Farmstand, the Inn’s all-day dining option, are used in the breakfast and lunch menus. For the ultimate intimate escape to Sonoma, Farmhouse Inn is an excellent choice! ☐