A Weekend at AutoCamp Russian River in Guerneville, CA

A weekend away at autocamp russian riverIf you’re following @thesassylife_ on Instagram, you already know that for President’s Day weekend, we made a trip to Guerneville, CA to spend the weekend at AutoCamp! Guerneville is a small town (technically unincorporated) in Sonoma County about 90 minutes north of San Francisco.

What is AutoCamp?

It’s where you go camping in luxurious Airstream trailers! Yes, it’s basically “glamping” and if you want to call it that, I won’t stop you. The trailers are decked out with almost everything you need and little extras like bathrobes and high-end bath products, making it feel more like you’re staying in a mini 5-star hotel suite rather than roughing it in a tent. AutoCamp is all about making “adventure simplified” and they do a great job of that.

What are the the Airstreams like?

The Airstream trailers are really cool. I had to lead with that. They’re beautifully designed with simple, mid-century modern-inspired (that’s a mouthful) furniture and fixtures.

As soon as we stepped into our trailer, we saw a nice couch/futon with a few pillows. To our right was a full bathroom (toilet, shower, sink, mirror, etc.). To our left was a kitchenette with a little counter space, a sink, microwave, mini-fridge, cups, plates, bowls, wine glasses, etc. We were fully stocked with everything we needed. Once you move through the kitchenette, you’re in the bedroom which features a queen-sized bed, night stands, and a small tv in the corner.

Autocamp Russian River Queen Bed
The bedroom
Autocamp Russian River Bedroom
One corner of the bedroom, where I set my bag.
Autocamp Russian River Airstream Shower
The walk-in shower, which was really nice.
Autocamp Russian River Bathroom Airstream
The rest of the bathroom
Autocamp Russian River Airstream Kitchenette
One side of our little kitchenette. The door leads to the bedroom.
Autocamp Russian River Kitchenette Airstream
Shelves and Cabinets with our Fridge, Microwave, and other stuff
Autocamp Russian River Patio Area
Our little patio area

There are two heaters in the trailer so we were able to stay extra warm during the frigid nights.

Right outside the trailer was a little wooden patio set that seats four, and a fire pit. You’re provided with roasting logs to use for the little fire pit. We just ended up going to the communal fire areas when we felt like it because there weren’t too many people around there anyway, and we didn’t have to start the fire ourselves.

The only things we brought were our weekend bags and some food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner in case we didn’t want to go out. Oh, and alcohol of course–vodka for moscow mules and rosé.

The Facilities

Autocamp Russian River

Autocamp Russian River Outdoor Fire Pit
The outdoor fire pit
Autocamp Russian River Clubhouse
The back entrance to the clubhouse

The campgrounds are gorgeous. The grass is lush and green. Redwood trees border the campgrounds, and there are even a few here and there on the site, too. There are two communal fire pits to hang around–one large fire pit outside, and a slightly smaller one inside the building. In the building, you’ll also find the concierge, a few shelves and refrigerators full of supplies in case you need to stock up on some basics, some beautifully designed communal bathrooms, and some nice tables for you to chill at in case you want to step out of your camp area. The indoor area is full of heaters to make sure guests are warm and cozy. There are also some picnic table and swinging chairs right outside the building as well.

Right outside the entrance to the building are a bunch of bikes you can borrow and use. We took the cruisers for a quick ride around the neighborhood, which was really fun.

Things to do

Colonel Armstrong at the Armstrong Redwood Reserve
Colonel Armstrong at the Armstrong Redwood Reserve

Hike in the Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve

There’s nothing like breathing in crisp, fresh air among the redwoods. This reserve has trails for a variety of levels–an accessible trail that takes you to the three big redwood trees, and a few ridge trails that give you beautiful views of the forest. Parking does fill up, so be patient in the parking lot or park along the side of the entrance road.

Taste Sparkling Wine at Korbel

Chances are, you’ve probably seen Korbel sparkling wine at your local Target, grocery store, or liquor store. In Guerneville, you can head to the Korbel Champagne Cellars and set out on a winery or garden tour, or just check out their deli/market.

Downtown Guerneville Downtown Guerneville Downtown Guerneville

Stroll through downtown

A historic theater, a flea market, and a dime store are just a few of the places in this small little downtown area. Art galleries and antique stores are nestled among restaurants, making for some fun window shopping time.

Kayak or Canoe

Canoeing in winter months isn’t advised for beginners, but in good weather, canoeing and kayaking down the river is a must! There are even options to stand up paddle board if that’s more your thing. There are a number of kayak/canoe adventure companies who offer different routes and boating options, so be sure to shop around to find what’s best for you. There are also various drop off and pickup spots making it easy for you!

Hang out by the River

The beaches along the river are a little rocky but some of us don’t mind! Be ready to step through some rocks but bring a good camping or lounge chair and hang out by the water! Try the Monte Rio Beach or Steelhead Beach Regional Park. Steelhead Beach Regional Park also has some trails and picnic areas.

Places to Eat

Boon Eat+Drink

We came to Boon Eat+Drink for lunch and had delicious farm-to-table meals (a steak sandwich, steak cooked medium rare, and a meatball sandwich). The restaurant itself is quite small but cozy.

El Barrio

Here’s a spot to get Mexican food and a nice cocktail! Also, they serve brunch on Sundays if that’s your thing.

Big Bottom Market

We grabbed lunch here another day and upon looking at their menu, we realized their biscuits are one of “Oprah’s Favorite Things.” Yeah. We did not order biscuits though–we ordered some fresh sandwiches that came with little salads. Delicious and healthy.

Chiles Pie Baking Company / Nimble & Finn’s Handmade Ice Cream

I loved this place so much, I had to stop by twice. Located in the old bank building, this shop carries a bunch of tasty pies with flavors that seasonally rotate and some really good handmade ice cream. I had the strawberry balsamic pie, the pear caramel pie, and the black sesame ice cream (not all in one day though) and all three were very good.

FYI Boon owns Big Bottom Market, El Barrio, and Boon Eat+Drink. 

There are also some good diners in the area, a taco truck, and even a restaurant that serves California cuisine for dinner. Though the downtown is small, there are plenty of options for everyone.

Where to Shop

Flea Market

On Saturday mornings, you can count on the flea market by Safeway being open! Comb through some goodies and see if you find any treasures.

Guerneville 5 & 10

The 5 & 10 is the dime store, which is a relic of the past. Upon walking in, you’ll see toys, greeting cards, stuffed animals, board games, puzzles, candy, and so much more filling up the entire store. Navigating through the store is like a fun little maze.

Sonoma Nesting Co.

Take a look at some antiques at Sonoma Nesting Co.!

Notes:

Rates for an Airstream trailer through AutoCamp can vary quite a bit depending on the season and on the number of people staying in your trailer–anywhere from $170-$600/night. Some nights are already completely booked for the spring and summer, so if you’re making a reservation be sure to make it ASAP. Tents are also available when it’s warmer, and they’re cheaper than the Airstreams.

Some, but not all, of the available trailers/tents are dog-friendly. Be sure to book a dog-friendly accommodation if you’re bringing along a furry friend. We saw quite a few families with their dogs and the dogs seemed thrilled to be outdoors with their families.

Cell phone service is quite spotty. We used wifi all throughout Autocamp. We got service when we were in downtown Guerneville, but not very good service. You’ll probably have to use wifi the majority of the time.

The doors to the airstream are quite small, so people who are around 5′ 7″ will have to crouch a little to get in without hitting their head. The height of the airstream can also be quite tight for some taller folks.

Overall, we absolutely loved our stay. We found it quite relaxing to be at AutoCamp and thought there was a lot of privacy as well. We are even thinking of making the trip to the Santa Barbara AutoCamp to see what that one is like!

Have you been to AutoCamp or been “glamping” before? What was your experience like?

And if you have any questions on AutoCamp Russian River, I’d be happy to chat! Just leave a comment below.

Wednesday Words of Wisdom, February 7, 2018

Here is my first installment of Wednesday Words of Wisdom of 2018! Here are three visually stunning quotes with good messages that I hope you find moves you in some way.

 

Something Weird is Going On
Source

 

Dwell in Hope
Credit: Grace Chang

 

The Only Way Out Is Through
Credit: Tessa Forrest

If you love these designs, please be sure to click through and check out the artists’ pages! All the artwork has been credited to the best of my ability. Any questions or comments can be directed to thesassylifeblog at gmail dot com.

Things To Do In Yosemite in Winter

Yosemite In Winter Things To Do

To ring in 2018 this year, we packed our duffle bags and drove to Yosemite National Park! Originally, we wanted to go to Tahoe to snowboard during New Years weekend, but hotel prices were just ridiculous (think at least $100/night for a Days Inn) and all the affordable AirBNBs were already booked. Plus, there were a couple of major events happening that weekend that meant too many people and too much traffic.

Then, I had an “a-ha” moment and thought–what about Yosemite?

Yosemite is a common destination year round, but so many of us have the notion that Yosemite is no fun and absolutely unbearable in the winter. Typically during winter, there is snow which makes skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing possible. Fun alternative, right?

Things To Do in Yosemite in Winter

Meadow // Things To Do in Yosemite in Winter

There actually wasn’t any snow for our trip since there had been a month-long dry spell in California. In fact, everyone was pretty concerned that our winter was going to look pretty dry like it did during the drought. Though snowboarding, skiing, and snowshoeing were basically ruled out for us, we ended up having a lot of fun hiking and exploring Yosemite Valley. In fact, the “warmer” than usual weather made it possible for us to really enjoy walking around in nature while breathing in the crisp fresh air.

I wanted to put together a list of winter activities you can enjoy in Yosemite so you can see what they have to offer during a quieter and less crowded time of year. Specifically, I’m going to focus in on the valley since that’s mainly where we were and one of the most popular areas of the park.

Bridalveil Falls // Things To Do in Yosemite in Winter

Bridalveil Falls // Things To Do in Yosemite in Winter

Hike to Bridalveil Fall

Calling this a hike is a bit of an exaggeration since it’s such a short walk from the main road and the parking lot. In fact, you can get a beautiful view from the parking lot itself, but it’s worth the short and slightly uphill trek (again, a bit of an exaggeration) to the rocky base of the falls. Here you’ll see some ambitious and adventurous hikers climbing on rocks to get closer to the falls. Depending on when you go and how much water there has been during the season, Bridalveil will look just like what you think it should look like–a bride’s veil.

Hike to Mirror Lake

The hike to Mirror Lake was well worth the view. The way we saw it, there were two ways to hike to Mirror Lake–one included taking the real trail full of stepping stones and slightly rocky terrain, and the other included walking along the street. The two diverge as you get closer to Mirror Lake, but we ended up taking the real trail which just let us immerse ourselves further into Yosemite’s beauty. Bring a snack and some water, as it’s about a 3 mile hike there. It’s a good idea to give yourself at least 2 hours to walk there and back (unless you are taking the bus) and a half hour to rest and enjoy the beauty of the lake.

Yosemite Falls // Things To Do in Yosemite in Winter

Hike to Yosemite Falls

The hike to the upper falls is much longer than a visit to the lower falls, so we just walked to the lower falls to the bridge and saw families enjoying the falls and kids climbing all over the rocks. Getting that closeup view of the waterfall was nice and it gave me a good idea of what the height of the full waterfall is like–pretty tall! If you have the time and the energy, you’ll get some fantastic views of the falls and of the valleys if you hike to the upper falls.

The Majestic Yosemite Hotel // Things To Do in Yosemite in Winter

Dinner, Drinks, and Downtime at The Majestic Yosemite Hotel (Formerly the Ahwahnee Hotel)

I felt like I was walking into a magazine when I stepped foot into this hotel. It’s conveniently located right in the middle of Yosemite Valley and offers hotel guests and other visitors a good bar to grab a drink, an upscale dining experience, and a giant yet cozy lounge you’ll never want to leave. If you plan to have dinner here, make sure to make reservations (you can make them online) and bring the right clothing as there is a dress code and your hiking gear isn’t going to cut it.

Chapel // Things To Do in Yosemite in Winter

A Visit to the Yosemite Valley Chapel

This chapel is too cute to not see in person. Resembling a tiny home, this chapel is in regular use for and has services. Other than that, there’s not too much to do or see here but I had to point it out because I loved it.

Half Dome // Things To Do in Yosemite in Winter

Ice Skating in Half Dome Village

Yes, you can ice skate just about anywhere, but can you ice skate in a place with view of Half Dome anywhere? Didn’t think so! It’s a fun winter activity you can do at Yosemite regardless of whether it has snowed or not!

The Ansel Adams Gallery

Paying a visit to this gallery is a must for photography fans. If you have an interest in photography, you can also partake in an Ansel Adams Photography Workshop to help you learn to use your camera better and let you know of the best spots to shoot some of Yosemite’s most popular points of interest.

Skiing & Snowboarding

We obviously didn’t do this one but we had planned on it just in case it did end up snowing magically and opened for the season. This one is a bit self-explanatory, but the Yosemite Ski & Snowboardarea is actually a bit south of Yosemite Village so if you plan to go there, make sure to note its location. You can cross-country ski, snowboard, rent snow tubes, and rent snow shoes. There are also ski and snowboard lessons for first-timers or those who want to improve on their basics before heading down the slopes.

Camping

I’m a pretty inexperienced camper, so I was shocked to see people camping in winter! But it was so popular, all of the campsites were full! If you’re open to the idea of camping in the valley which is a cold area due to it’s geography, book a campsite that will let you get close to nature and still stay close to the action.

Events

Check out the events calendar to see what’s being offered at the park! During our stay, we saw a tour of the Majestic Yosemite Hotel, a photography workshop, a guided hike, and snowshoeing as just a few of the activities and events they were putting on. Plus, other activities that involve food and wine! If we had a longer stay at the park, I would have jumped on the photography workshop.

Things To Do in Yosemite in Winter

Things To Do in Yosemite in Winter

Footpath // Things To Do in Yosemite in Winter

El Capitan // Things To Do in Yosemite in Winter

Other notable spots

At the beginning of the valley loop, you’ll have so many opportunities to take photos of the valley. Be sure to stop here for some breathtaking views. It’ll be the best area to get photos of El Capitan and Half Dome at the same time. Also, some of the bridges have beautiful views. And, all of the meadows are great spots to stop by.

That’s my list! Remember that when traveling in Yosemite, if there is a slight chance of snow, it’s best to have chains for your car. Also, be mindful when planning that some sites might be closed due to weather/construction, and same with roads. Be safe and have fun! There are truly some beautiful sites to see, even if they are topped with some pretty white snow.

If you found this post useful or inspiring, please share with your friends by Pinterest and email!