Step back in time as you rock back and forth on the veranda of the Raford Inn, at the corner of Wohler Road and Eastside Road, in the iconic Russian River Valley. Once part of Rancho El Molino, a Mexican land grant, this Victorian era beauty was built in 1880. Hops pioneer Raford Petersen and his descendants fastidiously worked the 1,320 acres for over 100 years.
Today, the hops have been replaced with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vineyards and the inn has been refurbished and designated as a historic landmark. Named after Petersen himself, the Raford Inn now sits atop four acres overlooking the vineyards, one-half mile from the Russian River.
And the sweet smell of roses, roses, roses permeate the air…
Hosts Dane Pitcher and Rita Wells are gracious, warm, genuine folks with a special gift of making you feel at home. Ever the outdoorsman, Dane enjoys tending his small Pinot Noir plot in front of the inn.
The stately three-story manor home features five themed bedrooms named after medicinal herbs representing their healing properties, a sitting parlor, a grand dining room with fireplace and of course, beautifully manicured grounds and the enchanting rose garden.
Acclaimed as one of Sonoma Wine Country’s finest B&B’s, the Raford Inn is perfectly positioned for wine tasting throughout Russian River Valley, Sebastopol and Healdsburg.
Admittedly, I’ve driven by the Raford Inn dozens of times over the years and have always been drawn to the architecture, history and rumors of ghost sightings. According to Jeff Dwyer, author of Ghost Hunter’s Guide to California’s Wine Country, two ghosts have been frequently sighted here, however, the owners refuse to comment. My lips are sealed.