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Funny Name, Cool Place

If over the river and through the woods to Anderson Valley you go, then you will certainly enjoy expansive sunny skies, roadside vineyards, golden hills dotted with dark craggy trees...and if you’re really lucky, doggy nirvana, aka The Other Place.
Written & Photographed by J. Nichole Smith
One of two Sheep Dung Estates, The Other Place is located about two hours East of I-5 and about 30 minutes East of Hwy 101 in Boonville, California. The other Sheep Dung property, The Long Valley Ranch, is located just a few miles away.

We had the pleasure of arriving at the Breezeway cottage in the pitch black of night. Our first and most phenomenal surprise was a vast canopy of brilliant stars stretching from above our heads to the distant horizon. Before we even stepped outside the glow of our open car doors we were mesmerized by dozens of constellations and the incredible depth of the Milky Way. After counting no less than seven shooting stars in the moments before we reached the entry of the cottage, we both agreed that for city dwelling dogs and humans alike, this night sky alone is worth the drive.

The second surprise we encountered, was the sight that greeted us when we awoke.

The West-facing bedrooms at the Breezeway are perfectly situated, so that as the hot California sun rises over the hill, the landscape in front of the large picture windows is slowly illuminated from far to near, allowing for minimum brightness in the bedroom, and maximum radiance just outside.

Daylight reveals what we couldn’t see when we arrived at night—The Other Place is perched atop Anderson Valley, amidst hundreds of miles of rolling hills. And as if the view wasn’t magnificent enough, each cottage (which feels as if it’s the only cottage) is fully-fenced, allowing Fido to freely sniff, scamper and explore acres of rugged, honey colored bliss.

If you need more than stellar scenery to start your day, the fridge is stocked with local milk and organic juice and the pantry is stocked with coffee, tea and tasty granola. There is also a complimentary bottle of wine, which we opt to save for sunset.

Outside you can lounge in the comfort of brightly-colored Adirondack chairs, or hop into the hammock and sway under massive moss-draped limbs. There is no bad place to enjoy your morning coffee, the view of the valley below and the sight of your romping Rover getting in touch with his inner beast.

If you seek daytime adventures, there are certainly several sights to see, including a multitude of local wineries, eateries and quaint little highway-side towns. Each Sheep Dung cottage has a binder jam-packed with places to see, wine to taste and treats to consume in the Anderson Valley. And, if you’re itching for some ocean views, Mendocino is only an hour away.

However with a fully-equipped, delightfully modern kitchen, double bookshelves heavy with goodies ranging from “The Olive Harvest Cookbook” to Vogue Magazine, closets brimming with everything from Monopoly to Epsom salts and almost all the comforts of home at our fingertips (HBO, telephone and a fireplace, but no internet), the only reason we could find to leave was to stock up on some groceries and of course, wine!

The well-kept wine country secret is that Anderson Valley is responsible for some of the country’s best Pinot Noir. As far as wineries go, we have heard great things about Navarro Vineyards and also Greenwood Ridge, which features an octagonal tasting room built from a single Redwood tree. We couldn’t locate any Anderson Valley wineries boasting dog friendliness, but it never hurts to call up and ask if your pooch can accompany you.

For groceries, stop in Boonville at the Boont Berry Farm Store. There you’ll find delectable local produce, deli goodies and Boonville Beer. Five miles North on Hwy 128, you will find fresh fish and other gourmet essentials at Lemon’s Market, in the town of Philo. If you hit it just right, there are several local Farmer’s Markets on Saturdays as well.

If you would like to dine out, you must try Lauren’s in Boonville or Libby’s Restaurant in Philo.

Once “back at the ranch” in the evening, revisit the Adirondacks with a glass of wine at sunset, or read a book by the fire. For some extra romance or relaxation, enjoy a shower by candlelight. Candles, matches and a spacious, stone-tiled, door-free shower are all provided.

Bed time at the Breezeway leaves you with two bedrooms to select from, separated by, you guessed it, a breezeway! One side features bedroom and bath, and the other side is nearly identical, plus the great room, kitchen and porch. Your pooch is welcome to sleep on the bed with you at Sheep Dung, but please use the provided sheet to protect the duvet before allowing the dog up. All of you will wake once again to the slow progression of daybreak just feet from where you lay.

Regardless of which property you choose, which cottage you stay in, or how many dogs and humans accompany you, Sheep Dung Estates provides a true getaway.

The trip is worth making to do just that… truly get away.

Sheep Dung Estates does not accept credit cards and the reservation system consists of leaving a message on the machine and waiting for a return call.

Rates vary seasonally and start at $190 mid-week; $250 on weekends and holidays. Weekly rates are offered at seven days for the price of six.

Most cottages are two bedrooms and there is no additional pet cleaning fee or deposit required. Also be aware that occasional burn bans may prohibit the use of the fireplace. If no wood is provided, a ban is in effect.

Drive time is approximately 13 hours from Seattle, 10 hours from Portland and two hours from San Francisco.

Gear up for Sheep Dung Estates at the CityDog Shop.

Sheep Dung Estates
707.895.3979
P.O. Box 588
Boonville, CA., 95415
www.sheepdung.com
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