Farmhouse Inn, Sonoma Wine Country

By Organic Spa Magazine / September 12, 2011

“People who like the Farmhouse are well-traveled, a little quirky, and like an independently owned property with a strong personality,” says Catherine Bartolemei. She and her brother Joe, own this refreshingly simple, exquisite property located in the tiny town of Forestville, California. The name suits the property for many reasons. Their family, who farmed for five generations in the area, owned a 100-acre ranch down the road from Farmhouse where groups of 30 to 40 friends would convene for the weekend. “It wasn’t a big house,” recalls Catherine, who has fond memories of her great-grandmother cooking and entertaining, “but it was a huge celebration all the time.” She and Joe wanted to do something to “bring people out of their cubicles and get them back into nature.” I must admit, they have succeeded—and then some. The property is 18 rooms (this includes the new Barn where there are eight lovely appointed rooms and suites) and a calm and comforting three-room spa done up in shades of cream. It’s humble and homey and fresh and does not overwhelm the senses one bit. Honey from the ranch is used in facial treatments, while carrots from the grounds are used in a puréed carrot mask, carrot-topped toner, and in a carrot-yogurt peel. (The talented duo, Peggy Francis and Loma Alexander, were brought in to consult on the spa and to create its menu.) “We bought this as a funky eight-room thing, we did not aspire to be innkeepers,” shares Catherine who describes the initial property as a “rundown heap in the middle of nowhere.” That was 10 years ago. For the siblings, the journey has been organic from day one.