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Family Business

Dreams really do come true at a Wine Country resort in Forestville.


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By Jay Graham

The dining room at the charming Farmhouse Inn is in the original farmhouse, built in 1873. And the mural that decorates one wall represents five generations of Bartolomeis—the family that owns this Russian River Valley resort—working and playing in Wine Country.

“Our great-great grandfather actually worked on this property when it was a hops farm. He emigrated from Italy in search of the American dream,” says Catherine Bartolomei. “It’s taken a long time, but we are living out his dream.”

By Jay Graham

Catherine and her brother, Joe, grew up nearby, spending their weekends and summers on the family’s ranch. The Bartolomeis acquired the property in 2001 and opened their version of the Farmhouse Inn early that year. The restaurant has since become a Wine Country legend—receiving its first Michelin star in 2007 and a star every year thereafter.

“We have always felt that the restaurant is the destination both for Wine Country residents who love good food and for out of towners who want a truly memorable experience,” says Joe.

By Jay Graham

For visitors, the Bartolomeis have spent the past decade and a half transforming their property into a first-class, full-service resort. The inn has expanded from eight cottages to 25 luxurious rooms, 17 of which have private patios and indoor and outdoor fireplaces.

By Jay Graham

Earlier this year, Farmhouse Inn added a spa. In keeping with the theme, the spa is built in a faux horse stable, and there’s even a farm-to-table approach to the products and treatments: Guests lay on hay packs (heated body pillows filled with detoxifying alfalfa and herbs) and enjoy massages with local, organic oils and lotions.

Couples can even enjoy a Roll In the Hay treatment that involves lathering each other with a spicy mocha scrub, followed by a side-by-side massage with “aphrodisiac” elixirs and sensual oils prepared by the spa’s aromatherapists.

7871 River Rd., Forestville, (707) 887-3300, www.farmhouseinn.com.

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