Why Geyserville Is A Gorgeous, Weird Must-Visit in the Bay Area

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Outside of Geyserville’s Cyrus restaurant and lounge. (Paolo Bicchieri)

I got married in Half Moon Bay at the end of August and my wife (!) and I drove due north a week later for a mini-honeymoon. We didn’t know what to expect when we arrived at our AirBnB, the Isis Oasis Sanctuary, other than a hobbit hut with our name on it. It was a wacky way to kick off a Labor Day weekend of hiking in Bothe-Napa State Park and poking around Point Reyes Station. But little did we know that Geyserville itself, a town with a population with less than 1,000 and a number of Michelin credits, would become a major player in our little getaway.

Back to the Isis Oasis Sanctuary. It was founded in 1978 by San Francisco artist and devout Divine Feminine acolyte Loreon Vigne. The massive compound’s staff claim on its website it was once owned by John Muir’s granddaughter. Brightly-decorated lodges, buildings, and rare birds — think macaws, peacocks, parrots, hulking emus, and a number I couldn’t identify. There’s an outdoor pool and hot tub. And there’s that hobbit hut, just $115 a night complete with Tolkein books on the shelf.

Hobbit hut.

The hobbit hut on the Temple of Isis grounds is a treat. (Paolo Bicchieri)

Sonoma County’s little hamlet, a county rhapsodized for its decadent food and powerful gay community, is also a wacky place to chill out for a weekend. It’s literally just a few blocks with one intersection, a few bars and restaurants in a neat line. The sprawling Lake Sonoma is but 10 minutes from Geyserville, and Cloverdale, with its summer Friday parties sporting live musicians, is just nine miles away. Next door to the Isis Oasis Sanctuary lies the much-loved Geyserville Gun Club, a taxidermy-stuffed bar playing Peaky Blinders on the wall and live music each Saturday night.

Beyond the town’s borders lie Sonoma County’s oft-unmentioned outdoor activities. The Russian River runs right through Healdsburg, and yes there are day-long kayak rentals for the bold. There’s also a park in town, however, where hella families stake their claim on warm afternoons to float, sun-bathe, and jump off the Healdsburg Memorial Bridge. Santa Rosa’s Petrified Forest is a 30-minute drive from Geyserville, a charming mile-and-a-half of, you guessed it, petrified wood. But it’s way cooler than the naysayers might think, and for $15 well-worth the trip.

The town of Geyserville is worth seeing in its own right, hobbit huts and gun clubs abound. The hiking, swimming, and forests are a destination, too. But just walking down the street in the evening, devoid of anything but a rusty truck and twilight washing the town in golden hour bliss, is possibly the greatest reason to head to this Sonoma County nook of all.

Inside of a bar.

Inside the Geyserville Gun Club, on the Geyserville strip. (Paolo Bicchieri)

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Paolo Bicchieri

Paolo Bicchieri

Paolo Bicchieri (he/they) is a writer living on the coast. He's a reporter for Eater SF and the author of three books of fiction and one book of poetry.