California’s Russian River

Russian River

As you all know by now, summer in San Francisco is full of cold winds, fog, and many sun-less days. Most residents, Chris and I included, spend their weekends getting out of the city to warmer areas. The two most common driving destinations are Tahoe and Russian River. Although I have been to Tahoe many times now, until Jason and Fallon’s wedding I had never been to Russian River. The towns around the river are small, adorable, and full of friendly people. The river itself is refreshing, murky, and (surprisingly) reminds me of summer’s at home – splashing around Hood’s Pond or canoeing down the Ipswich River.

On Saturday, after the early rehearsal dinner, Chris and I discovered that there was a park on the river pretty close to our hotel. We quickly switched from our fancy outfits to our swimming gear and walked over. We quickly discovered that Healdsburg’s surround areas aren’t exactly walker friendly, so most of our trip was spent hugging the side of the road and enjoying sidewalks when we found them.

Walking on the bridge above the river.

Healdsburg Veterans Memorial Beach Park

The Healdsburg Veterans Memorial Beach Park reminded me a lot of Hood’s Pond. It has a few picnic tables, bathrooms, a spicket to clean yourself off, and the designated swimming area is marked off and the bottom cleaned (no weird plants under your feet). The water clarity was close to 0%, which bothered Chris – but not me! I guess that’s fair, he grew up with swimming pools and I grew up with iron-filled pond/river water. Chris let the others know where we are and soon Amanda, Chris, and Mike showed up still in their rehearsal dinner gear. The heat was oppressive that day and minutes after arriving Amanda was in the river in her rehearsal dress, quickly followed by Chris in his pants.

After swimming around for awhile – dress completely soaked.

It was close to the parks closing time when Tim, Willa, and Sean arrived. Similar to Amanda, Chris, and Mike they were still in their fancy clothes as well. Tim, desperate to get away from the heat, stripped down into his undies and precariously ran into the lake.

On the lookout for lifeguards and/or children.

The rest of us watching in amusement.

Sooner after we left the beach park, got some food, and head back into downtown Healdsburg to meet up with Jason and Fallon for drinks.

Our second trip to the lake was on Monday after the morning-after-wedding brunch. Will Joost, one of Chris’s good friends, invited everyone over to his parents cabin to go swimming in the river. (Jason and Fallon visit the Joost cabin every year for their summer vacation. They love the area so much that they decided to get married in Healdsburg instead of Arizona.) After finishing breakfast and checking out of our hotel, Chris and I head over. His parents cabin is beautiful! There’s a huge redwood that comes through the back deck, can’t get more connected with nature than that.

The redwood coming through the deck.

We grabbed a bunch of floats and headed down to their dock to relax.

Chris, Sean, and Mike with mini-floats!

The dock.

The closest I got to riding the dinosaur. Unless you’re a child, the thing just flips over and is impossible to ride on.

Chris hanging out in the tiny tube.

Will relaxing with Mike in the big tube in the background.

Chris and I left around 3 to head back to the city. We definitely plan on heading out there again, more frequently, next summer. Being only an hour away – it’s too close not to! I absolutely love it up there, and unlike Tahoe, the water is on the refreshing side of cold (not super freezing). If you would like to see more Russian River photos, please check out my flickr set!