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Monte Rio: Small Town Shopping Tour
By Vesta Copestakes

« Guerneville

As you take the turns into Monte Rio, keep an eye out for the signs to Sophie's Cellars on the right just before you hit town. David and John have become part of my life because David is now the man behind the WCG website. In fact, he's the man behind so many local web sites! But beyond that, these guys are just wonderful human beings who know an incredible amount about wine, sell at really good prices and in addition, they sell Raymond's Bakery breads - yum - goat cheese and other cheeses that are otherwise hard to find, Mom's Pies in mini form, and the softest, most sensual licorice you'll find. You can learn more about Sophie's Cellars in Dick Starr's Wine Junket and Carol Horan's Restaurant Review. Kind of a run on the guys this month. There's never too much of a good thing!

This may not be gardening season, but Bloomers is open all year and at the Holidays, Jamie Hart has live trees. Kind of nice to have a tree you can plant instead of recycle into compost. Besides, this is a good nursery to know because Jamie is especially artistic with her plant arrangements and specializes in shade-loving plants for her under-the-trees and by-the-coast clientele.

Eating is the only other specialty in Monte Rio so you just might want to cross the street to Café Les Jumelles where I've had a really good breakfast. Or cross the bridge toward town, take a left at the end of the bridge and you'll find the Highland Dell Lodge & Restaurant with their stunning full bar and dining room overlooking Monte Rio Bridge and the Russian River. Further down on your left is Village Inn & Restaurant. Over the last six years this place has transformed into a beautiful venue for locals and tourists. Both have really good food and are owned by wonderful people. I recommend you try them both.

And just a note - at the intersection of 116 and the Monte Rio bridge, you'll see the Monte Rio Theater. This is a unique theater with real food, hot tea and a comfy atmosphere you just don't get in city theaters. It also features Don's Dogs, some of the best hot dogs on the planet and you can get a dog and a cup of java at Don't coffee shop at the other end of the building. Unique. Truly.

And speaking of theater, if you love live theater and want to pass along the joy of watching real people on a real stage boggle your mind with how they can transport you to another reality, get tickets to Pegasus Theater. This local non-profit has amazingly good plays, the stage designs will impress you, and it's all so very close to home.

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Sophie's Cellars - Sonoma Wines

Highland Dell

Village Inn

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