By delightful surprise, I had the opportunity this past weekend to spend a day and night at the eco-chic and exclusive sold-out-for-summer AutoCamp Russian River. I had followed along as this magical place came to existence, and couldn't wait to check it out. The drive from San Francisco was enchanting and took about 1.5 hours. Quiet roads, rolling green hills, and redwood tree canopies. From the moment we pulled into AutoCamp, it was clear to see why reservations are so hard to come by. What a dream! While the footprint is small, the grounds are situated in the middle of a native Redwood clearing and surround a sunny meadow. The environment was calm, friendly, communal, and completely Instaworthy.
Guest check-in is in the "Clubhouse", a stunning mid-century modern structure made of mostly sustainable and environmentally friendly materials. Even the tables in the clubhouse are made from the wood of fallen trees from the grounds, to respect the surrounding habitat. We loved the intimate areas for relaxing, visiting, and playing games, like vintage monopoly and chess that were set out for guests. The lighting was soft and the music unobtrusive.
And can I just talk about the bathrooms?
The staff was so friendly and accommodating, and showed us the way to our Luxury Tent for the evening. The tent had wooden platform flooring, a Casper bed, nightstands with extra blankets and fun books, a full length mirror, two cozy robes, and everything needed to use the private fire pit just outside the tent.
INSIDER TIP: For those of you like me who prefer their wine from a fancy glass as opposed to a plastic one, and coffee from an actual mug as opposed to a paper cup, just ask the front desk. They have both available for complimentary use.
We decided to unpack and then venture into town to pick up snacks and most importantly, wine. The light blue beach cruisers lined out in front are complimentary, and were the perfect vehicle for this occasion. Downtown Guerneville is a quirky little charmer. There's a funky local vibe with old school establishments alongside a tight knit LGBT community. We easily located the Natural Foods market, "Food for Humans," to stock up on gluten-free and organic snacks for the evening. We ventured next door to Safeway for the wine. Our bicycle baskets packed, we headed back for the evening.
INSIDER TIP: LOCAL RESTAURANTS WILL DELIVER TO AUTOCAMP.
By the time we arrived back to camp, the communal fire pit was alight. Guests had returned from their daytime activities and the grounds were lively. Some families had come from adventures along the river, and others from a day of wine tasting. We headed back to our tent and fired up our personal grill. After dinner and several glasses of wine, we embarked upon the Clubhouse. By this time the complimentary s'mores were rolling out, smokin' hot. I couldn't tell if the children or the adults were more excited about them. Still, the grounds were quiet and vibey. I only spotted one laptop.
INSIDER TIP: WIFI THROUGHOUT PROPERTY WAS SPEEDY AND RELIABLE.
After we finished the bottle of wine and spent some time around the fire, we cozied up in our robes and turned in. Even though the placement of camp is next to Old Cazadero Road and I could hear the occasional car passing, I fell asleep quickly. The next morning we enjoyed our complimentary coffee and squeezed our own organic orange juice. Before checking out we fired up our grill one last time and expertly constructed the most artisanal avocado toast we could manage for breakfast. Postponing our return to the city just a little while longer, we drove 10 minutes further north to Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve for a walk in the woods. What a treat.
Our AutoCamp experience, while short-lived, was everything I could have hoped for and more. A total dream. It may have been glamping, but who would turn down a spa-inspired bathroom in the middle of a Redwood grove? It was just the recharge we needed to breathe in the fresh air and return to San Francisco with a clear head. AutoCamp, thanks for the moments, we'll see you again soon.
PS. If you're ever in Santa Barbara, check out the original AutoCamp, where it all began!