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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Monte Rio - Vacation Wonderland

So Much Happening in Monte Rio!
By Dawn Bell

Monte Rio has long been known as the “quiet” river community. Quiet in the way of a smaller population and fewer businesses than other river communities perhaps, but not quiet in the number of activities and events. Four miles west of Guerneville, Monte Rio beach offers a stunning setting and an active community that offers visitors and residents alike a vast variety or things to do, places to stay and food to eat. But if you are beach oriented only, Monte Rio has much to attract you. Canoe and kayak rentals are incredibly inexpensive here. In fact, you can even rent one at a 50% “sunset” special rate Monday through Friday. The beach concession serves up juicy burgers and other favorites and some pretty incredible garlic French fries too! You’ll get 20% off your food purchase when you rent a canoe or kayak! You really can’t lose on this deal.

Residents and visitors are fond of walking to restaurants and stores and taking the opportunity to observe the water fowl and other wildlife that thrives in this area. If you’re lucky, you’ll have the unique experience of watching one of the nesting Osprey fish for dinner. This time of year you will also see bramble after bramble of ripening blackberries and many people picking them.
In answer to the question of what to do with so many blackberries and other area fruit, Monte Rio Recreation and Park District has begun the Russian River Canning Co-operative at the Community Center kitchen. All are welcome to bring berries and other fruits, along with their canning supplies, and $5 for kitchen use, twice monthly to share their knowledge or to learn from more practiced canners, the art of preserving our local foods. Russian River Canning Co-operative meets on alternate Sundays from 10AM to 3PM - Please call for times in September (707) 865-9956

Speaking about food, local restaurants in Monte Rio boast some of the best food in all the Russian River. Café Les Jumelle’s breakfasts are nearly legend, but what is less well known are their equally enticing lunch and dinner fares prepared by chef-owner Robert Holmes. Across the river the Village Inn’s Sunday

BBQ’s with live jazz has become a favorite gathering spot where co-owner Mark Belhumeur works at the grill. They’re also open for dinner Wednesday through Sunday where among many delicious choices, chef John Crespo’s steak frites will leave you speechless. The Highland Dell serves up hearty meals with a penchant for German flavors. Owners Herwig and Ingrid Loose pride themselves on their hospitality and the beauty of the renovated restaurant and inn. The restaurant is open every day but Wednesday. And of course the scene would be incomplete without The Pink Elephant on Main Street where libations and pizza are served daily. Never forgetting the standing Thursday night performance from favorite local band The Thugs!

If you prefer the cool and quiet setting of a movie theater, well, Monte Rio has that too, with the historic Rio Theater
showing first-run movies all year long.
And for those are truly in the mood for privacy, it’s impossible not to recommend a good bottle of wine, some cheese and a baguette from Sophie’s Cellars to enjoy at home. Sophie’s Cellars boasts rack after rack of local and international wines in price ranges for everyone. The shop is also beautiful and owners John Haggard and David Defries are always on hand to find exactly the right wine for you. Twelve area restaurants waive their corkage fees when you bring your receipt from their shop.

Summer is setting for many different events here too. The Russian River Car Show takes place in the Community Center parking lot on Saturday, August 29 from 8AM to 3PM. A pancake breakfast will be cooked in the Community Center that morning prepared by volunteers of the Monte Rio Fire District. Various vendors, including ribs from the Village Inn Restaurant, will be on hand for the lunch crowd. This car show invites American Made cars from 1973 and earlier to show off their beauty and rev their engines. This event is free to the public.

The Monte Rio amphitheater may be known to many as the home of the annual Bohemian Grove Variety Show – which can proudly proclaim the event with the highest attendance – more than 1300 this year! But the amphitheater is also preparing for much more this year.

On August 15th the Monte Verde Music, Art & Sustainable Technology Fair will take over the grounds from noon until 10PM. Jorge Santana and Peace are the featured performers along with Midnight Sun, Creation, and West County African All-Stars and others. Teams of vendors will complete the event providing interest for everyone. Visit for details.

In the true spirit of community, we want to encourgae you to attend a “Fun” raising concert for the Friends of Villa Grande, that benefits the Patterson Point Restoration Project.

“A Sunday In New Orleans” on September 6th at the charming Monte Rio Amphitheatre. Go to for details. All proceeds go to the Patterson Point Restoration Project, and helps promote the under utilized Monte Rio Amphitheatre as well. A great time, a great place, and a great cause.

On Friday, September 18th, golfers and epicures alike can enjoy the 2nd Annual Golf & Gourmet event and silent auction. This event began last year and earned the attention of many local golfers and food lovers. The nine-hole tournament at the beautiful Northwood Golf Course will conclude with a one-of-a-kind food experience created by chef Maria Vieages at the Monte Rio Community Center.

On Sunday, October 4th the Monte Rio Recreation & Park District will host the Autumn Faire and Market at the amphitheater. This is a double event that begins at 10AM with a free admission fair and market with a Latin flair. Local notable chef Gerard Nebeski, famous for his paella, will be on hand as will KGGV radio show host and personal chef Maria Vieages. The Monte Rio Chamber of Commerce will serve up spicy sausages while artisans show their wares and children delight in piñata bashing. Many other Children’s activities will be offered including pumpkin decorating and face painting. The farmers market and artisan fair will offer delectable and interesting items for all. When the fair ends at 4PM the grounds will be converted into a concert venue that will include a flamenco band and dancers, Cuban music and other Latin sounds. The concert will be a ticketed event benefiting EcoRing.

So you see, Monte Rio for all its appearances of quietude, is still jumping with events and activities for everyone to enjoy. Visit us soon and enjoy the best of West County recreation. or on Facebook at Monte Rio Parks or Russian River Canning Cooperative

Village Inn & Restaurant – 707-865-2304 -

Highland Dell – 707-865-2300 -

Café Les Juemelles – 865-9500

Sophie’s Cellars – 865-1122 -

Rio Theater - 865-0913 -

Monte Rio Chamber of Commerce - 707-865-2304 -

The Pink Elephant - 707-865-0500

EcoRing -

Google Map of Monte Rio:

KGGV-LP 95.1 FM –The Bridge” Guerneville:

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