Summer Series: A Grand Old Lodge on the River

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This week I spoke with Lisa. Her California rental, 33661, is filled with the delights of an older time: 30s architecture, vintage games, and a river view that inspires it all. Take a look at what she had to say about her home:

When was the house built?

The Old River Lodge is a Classic Riverfront Retreat, built in 1935 just outside Healdsburg, as a vacation home for a family from San Francisco. The charming, old riverfront home sits on the banks of one of the most scenic portions of the Russian River, perched in the “perfect” location to enjoy unobstructed and spectacular views of the river and surrounding hills. The home retains its 1935 handcrafted elements: original windows, framing romantic views, period hardware, and original fir floors.  The great room has a soaring ceiling, with hand hewn trim, beams, and front door all carved of a solid block of redwood. The ambiance is definitely that of a grand old lodge.

What activities can families enjoy while staying at Old River Lodge?

We offer a home that is chock full of interesting objects and amenities for the enjoyment of our guest.  Most obviously is the view decks, and shaded outdoor eating area with a Weber BBQ. Families can also enjoy a Marquis spa with a river view, a shaded deck with a comfortable hammock for napping, a dock at the river’s edge, two kayaks for guest use, availability of swimming off our dock, provision of life preservers and floatation devices.  We also provide two fishing poles and a fishing tackle box with supplies.

In our “Game Room” we have a dartboard, and various games in keeping with the period of the home (circa 1930s).  We have foosball, and a period pinball game, a checker board, and small trunks full of surprises and small games (dominoes, cards, puzzles, etc.)  Families also enjoy gathering around the fireplace on the encircling leather sofas. In the living room, the television is enclosed in an armoire filled with recordings of “Old Time Shows”, from Popeye to “Spanky and Our Gang”, Alfred Hitchcock to the Lone Ranger to “Dragnet”.  We provide books, such as Salmon Stream, which illustrates for children the life cycles of the salmon that they may see in the river behind our home.  We also provide books on local history.


What is your decoration inspiration?

The home is old, charming, quirky, and I prefer to leave the original elements untouched as much as possible, while adding creature comforts to please my guests.  I would rather offer an “authentic” old river lodge experience than update the home and modernize everything, eradicating the charming elements of the past.  I have aimed to have the “view” be the main attraction, as most every window has a fantastic river view, and to let the decorating be simple and an honest representation of the past.

What activities are in the area?

The Old River Lodge is just minutes (and less than a mile) from Healdsburg, with its tree shaded, historical, central plaza, around which everything in this part of northern California Sonoma County wine country revolves.  Stroll to acclaimed restaurants, charming shops, art galleries, winery tasting rooms. From The Old River Lodge it’s only a 3-7 mile drive to world-class vineyards in three distinct wine growing regions (Alexander, Dry Creek and Russian River Valleys), and ¾ of a mile to the Healdsburg Golf Club.

What do you hope your renters get from a week at Old River Lodge?

I would say, “an experience”.  Being able to experience the vacation pleasures of a by-gone era, to be able to enjoy a home full of history, to be able to swim and kayak in a beautiful river environment, to be able to be close to all the exciting venues, wineries, activities, dining, shopping, and all that Healdsburg and Sonoma County Wine Country have to offer.  To be able to tour wineries, taste world class wines at the source, and to enjoy the beautiful scenery.  It all adds up to a fulfilling and relaxing opportunity for our visitors.


A vacation back in time would be a great way to spend a week, and the flat screen TV and wireless internet wouldn’t hurt. Spending my time on a hammock with a book and a glass of wine sounds perfect. What sounds best to you about the Old River Lodge?


Posted in California vacation homes, Family vacation spots, Romantic getaways, summer series, Tips for property owners

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