Flying Tails: Boonville, the secret treasure

Flying Tails

BOONVILLE, Calif. (KRON) — There was a time, generations ago, when Napa Valley was not a tourist destination.

Instead, it was a quiet home to family-run farms and wineries.

This Flying Tails’ segment, KRON4’s Ken Wayne takes us a to a place tucked in a Mendocino County Valley that’s not Napa — and that’s how they like it.

Over the mountains northwest of Santa Rosa, starting to descend into the Anderson Valley and the small community of Boonville — it’s a little windy which makes the landing a little tricky.

We’re picked up by one of the town’s local legends — Johnny Schmitt.

He’s the owner of — among other things — the Boonville Hotel and Restaurant.

“We made a place where our families would want to go where you could have great food, stay in a really beautiful room, not stuffy,” he said.  

Instead, natural and homey.

Carole and Mango strolled the lush yard and gardens, which also provides the fresh herbs and vegetables for the Michelin chef working the kitchen.

“We found Boonville and realized there’s incredible food here,” Katey Sullivan-Clerico said. “There’s great wine. There’s places to stay.”

Jim Cramner said the beer is really good.

“Mild, not too hoppy. Smooth. I like it,” Cramner said.

Down the road is Anderson Valley Brewing Company.

Outside are horseshoe pits and a disc golf course.

You can wander the grounds and check out the goats grazing next door.

In the tap room we found a group of college friends having a reunion of sorts.

“We love it. It’s so fun.”

“My whole family’s from here.”

Boontling is an unusual language spoken only here — but that’s another story.

“This place is wonderful. It’s just very relaxing and the food and wine is good,” Leslie Ainsworth said. “And it’s a bonus to be able to bring my dog.”

She’s talking about Pennyroyal Farm, a dog friendly winery with plenty of room to spread out.

Mango found a new friend, and we found the source of their delicious craft cheese.

One last stop brings us to Uneda — as in uneda eat or uneda drink.

Yet another French trained chef is working in the kitchen.

“We moved from Paris to Pt. Arena which is even smaller than Boonville,” Rob Hunter said. “And we had a restaurant there for 20 years, and we wanted more sun so we came over here.”

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