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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

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By Emma Krasov, photography by Yuri KrasovI must have somehow outraged the weather gods in my previous incarnation. Whenever I travel, even for a couple of days, the weather changes at least three times making it impossible to plan outdoor activities or carry just one little bag. I usually pack everything from sundress to parka, and take along plenty of reading material.
Sure enough, when dear husband and I started driving from San Francisco to northern Sonoma for our brief getaway, it was hot outside, so hot that we had to make an emergency stop at Korbel Champagne Cellars to cool down with a glass of excellent Brut Rose.The moment we arrived at the famed Timber Cove Inn, located on a cliff over the Pacific, a strong wind almost knocked me down, and I had to bundle up for a brief walk to the wilderness right outside the hotel.At check-in, Timber Cove Inn guests receive a little map of hiking trails, and those are very easy, pleasantly secluded trails leading to picturesque bluffs, strategically placed garden benches, wild flowers, and pine and eucalyptus groves.The trails are winding on the very edge of the cliff, so at every turn there is a breathtaking view of a rocky cove with gliding sea gulls, basking harbor seals, and whirling sea foam far below.
We walked both north and south trails of the property, stopping and sitting everywhere, in about an hour, and climbed to an obelisk towering on a rock above the hotel.This curious 93-feet Peace Monument was created by Beniamino Bufano, a modernist sculptor who was a friend of Richard Clements, – Timber Cove builder and its first owner. Another famous friend of Mr. Clements, Ansel Adams, used to stay at Timber Cove and take shots of its majestic shores and raging waters, and no wonder – this place is a photographer’s paradise.Richard Van Giesen Clements, Jr., (1930-2008) graduated from Berkeley with a double degree in journalism and philosophy, designed and built a number of houses in the Bay Area and around Lake Tahoe, and pioneered environmentally conscious construction method way before it became fashionable.During our short visit, we were lucky to stay in the room which belonged to Mr. Clements in time when he was working on his best-known project, Timber Cove Inn.The next day after our arrival, torrents of rain were streaming down the windows, making it impossible to spend time outdoors. That’s when a balcony door with a view of the obelisk over a rocky shore came in handy. We spent some time just sitting on a sofa and looking outside. My cell phone didn’t work, and I had no desire to go to the bar and lobby area for some WiFi connection, so it was just us and Mother Nature, acting out – what a relaxing experience!
A fire place framed with natural boulders, a bottle of Sonoma Coast Hirsch Vineyards pinot noir, and our in-room sauna – for the first time in my traveler’s life, our cozy hotel room felt like the only place to be…
And let us not forget about the restaurant on premises. A part of this enviable location, Alexander’s at Timber Cove Inn could have gotten away with being just okay. However, its young (and very good looking) Executive Chef, Riley Huddleston, makes it a destination restaurant by bringing together seasonal local ingredients, culinary inspiration and artful presentations.On the night we dined, a green asparagus soup was cleverly complimented by morel puree and minted caramel popcorn.Root vegetable salad was made with organic beets, rainbow carrots, and green garlic.
Sonoma lamb sirloin had an interesting seasoning of burnt lemon powder, and a garnish of Swiss chard and English peas.My favorite was a juicy Kurobuta pork loin chop served with plump pouched morels (delivered fresh from Mt. Shasta region), grilled asparagus, and cherry jam.
Local wines, Wild Hog zin, and Greystone cab made perfect matching for the food.
Desserts at Alexander’s shine, too, like olive oil chocolate cake with white chocolate mousse, or pineapple tart with mascarpone pastry and house-made pistachio ice-cream.
The morning of our departure yielded plenty of sunshine, calm blue skies, and fresh ocean air, easy to breath, hard to leave behind. We took a long way home, stopping here and there to spend a little more time along the beautiful Sonoma Coast.
Timber Cove Inn is located at 21780 North Coast Highway One, Jenner, California. Call for reservations 707-847-3231 or visit


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