Funky, Free-Spirited Guerneville

Published Date Author: , July 5th, 2014

Guerneville - Jeanne Cooper,Even when the Russian River is flowing low, summer is high season for Guerneville, the funky, free-spirited town amid towering redwoods, 75 miles north of San Francisco.

Like the river, its fortunes tend to rise and fall, and rise again. A vacation destination for the Bay Area since the 1870s, the former logging town lost luster in the 1960s as air travel took off and winter floodwaters swept through. The arrival of gay and lesbian visitors and residents in the late ’70s and early ’80s sparked a renaissance of renovated resorts and new boutiques and restaurants, but not all survived the effects of the later AIDS epidemic.

The late ’90s brought more floods, at a time when acceptance–if not downright wooing–of LGBT travelers was becoming more common. The economic downturns and dotcom busts of the last decade also took a toll on Guerneville, according to Beth Snow, a resident for the last 12 years and Sonoma County Tourism marketing manager. Her husband has lived in town since 1987.

By Jeanne Cooper – Full Story at SFGate | Sonoma County Gay Travel Resources/center>

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