Editor’s Note: ‘Staycation’ is a new twice-monthly feature exploring the wealth of day trips, overnights and weekend getaways available in and around the greater Bay Area.
A visit to Timber Cove Resort is worth every mile northbound on Highway 1—an occasionally narrow ribbon of road hugging the jagged edge of the continent.
Only 90-minutes from Petaluma. It’s a beautiful, curvy coastal drive that travel trade group Visit California observes is what “dream drives are made of.” The drive, however, is a mere palate-cleanser of what’s to come.
From the moment one enters the oceanfront property of Jenner’s Timber Cove, it’s evident that this isn’t a typical weekend getaway. Located amidst majestic redwoods and set against the rugged backdrop of California’s coast, this retreat serves as the quintessential escape from the chaos of everyday life. The resort has the Zen-like ability to feel both near and far simultaneously.
Built in 1963, by architect Richard Clements Jr. as a place of meditation and tranquility, Timber Cove’s land was famously photographed before, during and after construction by photographer Ansel Adams. It regally presides in all its mid-century modern glory atop a dramatic bluff with ocean views so wide and unfettered that one can see the curve of the earth at the horizon.
In 2016, Timber Cove Resort underwent an extensive renovation courtesy of new owners, Michael Barry and Jens von Gierke, who wisely preserved the architectural aesthetic (think ski lodge for artists circa the Mad Men era).
Guests can feel social with a glass of wine in the bustling commons area; have breakfast, lunch or dinner in the Coastal Kitchen restaurant (which handily competes with any wine country eatery); and relax in the evening at the cozy outdoor fire pits. And with whimsical touches from vinyl record players in one’s room—complete with vintage records—to on-site telescopes provided for stargazing, the resort harmoniously hits all the right notes. Like anything truly hip or cool, the trick is not to try too hard. And on location and legacy alone, Timber Cove is just, like, cool, daddy-o.
The resort offers a variety of packages and experiences, including the recent “Escape + Recharge at Timber Cove” room package, that, during a recent stay, included an array of curated events aligning with Timber Cove’s 60th anniversary.
Among the participants was Mary Alinder, former assistant to the aforementioned photographer Ansel Adams. Adams was enamored with the resort and its environs, and Alinder provided an informative talk, displaying rare images by Adams to a packed audience. Also on the agenda that evening was a wine tasting, courtesy of Cazadero’s Wayfarer Vineyard. The following night, local celeb chef Dustin Valette, owner of Healdburg’s Valette and The Matheson, provided a four-course dining experience to guests.
Maybe it’s because of Adams’ legacy at Timber Cove, that besides the promised recharge, a stay at Timber Cove is inherently inspiring. It could account for the group of design professionals participating in a company off-site (or should that be insight?) retreat under the sturdy timbers and mid-century accents of the main lodge room. Likewise, this reporter could not help but gin up a few new literary concepts himself while taking in the experience. Be assured, it’s not work; it’s definitely play. But there can be “creation” in “recreation”—if one wants it.
Besides design folks, the guests included a plethora of vacationing couples and families with children, all of whom participated in and underscored a sense of community at the resort.
Each room at Timber Cove is thoughtfully designed to offer a harmonious blend of tasteful minimalist luxury and maximum comfort. Panoramic sliding glass doors invite the surrounding nature into one’s personal sanctuary, allowing each day to begin with a front-row seat to some of the most breathtaking landscapes the Golden State has to offer, including the inspiring ocean view rooms.
What elevates Timber Cove from being just a pretty place is the level of service and attention to detail of the guest experience. From the moment one is greeted at the front desk, the staff make it their mission to ensure a stay is nothing short of exceptional. Local hiking trails, dining options and other area gems are presented to guests with a personalized touch that adds to the overall adventure. Also, in lieu of customary “do not disturb” signs, a leather strap emblazoned “please go away” can be hooked on one’s room door—nice touch.
No review of Timber Cove would be complete without mentioning the gastronomic journey awaiting visitors at the on-site restaurant, Coastal Kitchen. Focusing on locally-sourced ingredients, the menu is both inspired and indulgent.
A recent survey of dinner courses includes a halibut crudo, served in citrus broth, lemon pudding and chili oil; a pork tenderloin with apple, broccolini and potato; a lamb loin with eggplant puree, onion marmalade and blueberry demi-glace; and a grilled filet mignon—all of which are masterfully paired with a fine selection of wines.
Each dish is a testament to the culinary team’s commitment to delivering a dining experience as memorable as the surrounding natural beauty of the land.
In a world that often feels too fast and too crowded, Timber Cove Resort provides a much-needed sanctuary. Here, luxury is balanced with natural beauty, relaxation is elevated by exceptional service, and the only requirement is that one take a moment to breathe it all in. It is definitely travel bucket list-worthy—a slice of paradise that promises a transformative experience.
Timber Cove Resort offers a variety of packages and experiences. For information, visit timbercoveresort.com.
Kary Hess contributed to this report.