We had planned to go away for a long weekend one time 2 falls ago when I was living the leisurely life of a freelancer new to the Bay Area. We weren’t sure where we were going… maybe the Oregon border? That idea might have been a bit ambitious– we made it 120 miles before stopping off for gas and calling a friend who we remembered had a farm somewhere nearby. After a night spent up in the mountains on a makeshift bed in a Wal-Mart purchased tent, we were directed to the Tallman Hotel for our second night, a chintz-free newly-renovated bed & breakfast with Japanese soaking tubs and Molton Brown soaps where his visiting parents like to stay. “You’ll love it, it’s sooooo romantic,” he cooed. We weren’t disappointed.
The Tallman has since become our go-to getaway spot, our home away from home, a cherished weekend escape where stress, obligations and BlackBerry service magically fade away. Situated among the lakes and wineries of Lake County, CA, you can get there from San Francisco in 2 ½ hours on an average day (okay, maybe 3). The town of Upper Lake doesn’t have a traffic light and the only bar in town is attached to the hotel in what may also be the only restaurant open for dinner, so if you’re looking for a hopping nightlife scene or Napa-like dining options, this isn’t your place. What they lack in recreational activity they make up for in quiet, small town charm: Adirondack chairs on a white planked porch for morning coffee or evening games of gin; high school football games; windy, hilly roads for driving through endless miles of vineyards and orchards with the sunroof open; easy access to the “best bass fishing lake in the state.” Owner/bartender Bernie told us The New York Times might be doing a piece on them (quelle horreur!) but we haven’t seen spikes in rates or traffic yet. We hope it stays that way– if not forever, at least until our BlackBerry thumbs heal.