Guerneville: Small Town Shopping Tour
By Vesta Copestakes
You can park your car in one spot and do all your shopping on foot in this town. Famous for Russian River tourism, Guerneville has shops that tourists flock to all summer long. In winter, it gets a bit quiet so they love the holiday season to spark things up.
Starting from the traffic light and heading into town, I always make a stop at Kings & Queens. Mickey specializes in sparkle from the jewelry in the glass counter to formal attire on racks. Yes, this store is a bit eclectic, but no matter what your taste, if you want sparkle - come here, especially if you like Christmas jewelry.
On the corner is the new home of Sonoma Nesting Company. Dax and Smitty are exceptional collectors of antiques and fine art. They take their displays to a high form of art as well. From custom restored and painted furniture to pretty things you can't live without, please check out their new location by the Plaza.
And on the same side of town, you'll find "my" Wayne Skala's Gifts & Jewelry. I adore this man. He's a joy to be around and his store if filled with jewelry, etc. from highly affordable to high end. It takes a lot of will power to NOT buy something!
I tend the cross the street at the Plaza corner and I'll give you a little loop of some of my favorites. In the Coffee Bazaar building, you'll find Twice Told Books. Shelf after shelf of reading carefully organized and displayed. Rich Franklin also has an impressive collection of rare books, so if you're looking for something unusual, come here.
I'll take you down Third Street, across from Twice Told, because you have to meet two jewelers with tiny shops on this lane. The first is John Rizzi Glassworks. On weekends you'll find John creating works of art on premises. His shop represents glass artists from around the country, so there's tremendous variety for such a tiny shop. From vases to pendants and earrings, it's all about light and color.
Walk a few blocks west and on the same side of the street is David Allen Designs. It was a fluke running into this shop and I'm glad I did. Alan (my boyfriend) and I were next door visiting Jim Long who restores classic motorcycles when we spotted jewelry in a window. So many people think that custom jewelry is more expensive than ready made products, but that's not the case. If you're going to spend money on fine jewelry, get exactly what you want. This man is an expert and a nice guy to boot.
Back toward Main Street, but stay on this side and take a right up toward the ice cream parlor, Flavors Unlimited. I have to advise a taste here. Custom-make your own flavor of ice cream or frozen yogurt with fruit, nuts... you name it Yum! And as you head back toward town, slip into Fife's Antiques. You can't miss it because it's all color. From the stunning art glass to the colored porcelain dinnerware from times gone by, this is a gallery of decorator styles. This is where to get that kitchen set that reminds you of the fifties - because it was made then! And if you need a wall sconce lampshade for the piece you inherited from your grandmother - you can get it here as well. Lovely shop.
Cross over just for now and head west. Yes, there are more shops than I can talk about so I'm going to encourage you to duck in every one. If you're hungry, you might want to stop for a bite at Charizma. It's a comfy place with excellent food at reasonable prices. And if you like to cook, pick up their schedule of Culinary Classes.
Speaking of food, wine and condiments, etc., drop into Vine Life. Vine because of their wine selection, and Life because everything else in there touches some aspect of life, from dishware to olive oil to napkins. This time of year, Jim Loring is especially pleased with his Holiday Tree decorations. Take some time in this store.
Second First/Out of the Past is an annual stop because they have things you don't find anywhere else. Honestly, you have to duck in to find out. I can't describe the variety from lunch boxes to clothing. It smells good as well.
For stained glass art, visit Rebecca at Glass Images. I now have three of her window pieces and would love to have more. Her style is broad and she makes small pieces to large, so I'm betting you can find something perfect for a gift or your own home.
Two shops along this row are filled with incredibly feminine clothes, River Mist and Touch of Greene, so stop in to touch and look around. The "Touch" in Touch of Green is because this is also an excellent place to get a massage or pick up a gift certificate for one. One of the best book stores around is River Reader where Fran has a broad selection of greeting cards and CDs as well.
And my favorite stop is at the end, Guerneville Floral. Besides the smell of fresh flowers, antiques, etc. they are also the place to purchase The Joy of Gay Cooking, a cookbook that benefits a local church while providing excellent recipes.
Cross back over to the other side of the street and stop in to visit Ken Spurgeon of etc. etc. This store is a beautiful display unto itself. The variety ranges from candles and wind chimes to jewelry and furniture. There are things here you'll find nowhere else, like the large white glass "bowls" that make hypnotic tones. There's beauty everywhere in this store and it's remarkably affordable.
Food on this side of the street features exceptional pizza at Main Street Station and juicy burgers at Bob n' Boy. Just thought I'd slip that in. Down the block is the very best sport supply store in the area, King's Sport & Tackle, where you can get real rubber boots, warm clothes, flannel pajama pants, comfy slippers and of course, kayaks, fishing gear, hunting gear, knives and everything your need to play outdoors. Keep going and you'll find some of the best truffles in the prettiest decorative boxes you've ever seen at Hemp & Chocolate.
For pure entertainment and toys of every kind, including paper dolls!!!!!, stop in to Guerneville 5 & 10. There's always laughter in this store along with the toys, games, candy, art supplies and incredibly inexpensive scarves! You have to spend time here because its all in the details. And there are so many details!
And then I want you to stop in to Memories that Linger because Jennifer Neeley owns this store and she's one of the hardest working people I know, especially because she's a mom with several daughters, as well as a very passionate volunteer in the community. Supporting Jennifer is more than just shopping at her store, but that's a delight as well. Jenn has really good taste in clothing and accessories as well as some pretty amusing stocking stuffer items.
And just because, hit the corner, pick up a Gift Certificate for Russian River Video's 100 movies for $85 and you'll be entertained all year long.
Then around the corner, Stones River pet store has a wonderful collection of toys, etc. along with pet food, and one of my favorite stories is the day a customer came looking for a collar to stop his dog from barking. He wanted something humane. The woman behind the counter demonstrated by barking, and the collar sprayed her face with Eucalyptus oil! I was impressed!
When you get in your car, consider taking a side trip down Armstrong Woods Road to the redwood forest. There are few places on this planet that absorb sound and light like the forest floor under a canopy of towering redwoods. If you've never been there, you might consider the profound impact this place will have on bringing peace to your soul. And, while you are there, you can even shop at Stewards of the Coast & Redwoods gift shop that specializes in books and educational material on nature. This group is dedicated to preserving our environment in many ways and anything you purchase helps their cause.
We're going to head west now - toward the ocean.
Monte Rio »