Unusual Hotels California
You don't have to spend a fortune to visit the fanciest farmland in America. We've found a crop of lovely, family-run inns in Napa, Sonoma, and beyond for less than $200 a night.
The focal point of the El Dorado Hotel's restaurant is a 21-foot table crafted out of a single plank of wood recycled from a bridge in Vermont(Emily Nathan) (Emily Nathan)
Old Crocker Inn
In the late 1800s, Charles Crocker, one of the founders of the Central Pacific Railroad, purchased nearly 600 acres above the Russian River and built a ranch and summer home there for entertaining his powerful friends and business partners. The ranch has been subdivided and parts have been sold over the years-much of it is now a residential development and a KOA campground-but five of those acres still bear Crocker's name, in the form of the Old Crocker Inn. Marcia and Tony Babb have been running the inn since 2005, when they moved north from Menlo Park. "You could call it retirement, except that we're working, " laughs Tony. The Babbs have thrown themselves into their new career as innkeepers, turning out three-course breakfasts every morning (he cooks, she bakes), and generally making their guests feel at home. The eight rooms are named after historical figures and events. The Golden Spike (honoring the ceremonial spike that joined the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads) has a Jacuzzi, a fireplace, and pine-and-redwood-paneled walls hung with photographs and newspaper clippings related to railroad history. The Crocker has more of a tree-house feel, with a carved four-poster bed and great views of a pond and valley from a secluded corner of the wraparound deck. Although the property is hidden near the town of Cloverdale, in the sparsely populated and pleasantly remote-feeling Alexander Valley, it's only a 30-minute drive to Healdsburg, known for its upscale restaurants, shops, and wine-tasting rooms. .