Sonoma County’s northernmost outpost is easy to miss from Highway 101. The city of 8,954 is tucked at the northern edge of the famed Alexander Valley wine region, adjacent to the Russian River and just a stone’s throw from the Mendocino County line. Cloverdale has quaint small-town charm, bigger-city arts and entertainment ambition and a take-on-the-world attitude befitting its rugged, hardscrabble past.
Here are a few local spots residents and visitors should add to their agenda.
Pick’s Drive-in: The spot was originally opened as a Reed & Bell Root Beer Refreshery during prohibition in 1923.
Location: 117 S. Cloverdale Blvd., Cloverdale
Hours: 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Monday-Sunday
More information: 707-894-2962, https://www.facebook.com/people/Picks-Drive-In-Cloverdale/100063598510837
Trading Post Restaurant: The combination of a full bakery and casual California restaurant. The restaurant is a raw-wood-trimmed space with wood and brass wine bar that runs the length of the room. Spring and brunch menu changes weekly and there is a set menu Wednesdays.
Location: 102 S Cloverdale Blvd., Cloverdale
Hours: 5-8 p.m., Wednesday-Saturday; 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Sunday
More information: 707-894-6483, https://www.thepostcloverdale.com
Plank Coffee: Start your visit to Cloverdale with a pick-me-up at Plank Coffee. This hip hub offers excellent espresso and an assortment of freshly-baked pastries. One enthusiastic Yelp reviewer said, “The vegans are saved again! Great vegan sandwich options and good espresso. This cafe also has something that every cafe ought to have but does not — books by local authors!”
Location: 227 N. Cloverdale Blvd., Cloverdale
Hours: 7 a.m.-1 p.m.
More information: 707-894-6187, https://www.plankcoffee.com
Rockin A’ Adventure Cafe: Rockin’ A Adventure Cafe is an Indiana Jones-themed drive-thru coffeehouse located at the south end of town in front of the Renner Petroleum facility. Opened in December 2019, it quickly became the go-to coffee stop for many in the community and beyond. The Rockin’ A building was previously used as a mobile coffee trailer then, Trevor Ambrosini, cafe owner, converted to a permanent building by remodeling the entire outside with a foundation, deck and drive-thru arbor. The interior is about 130 square feet and the exterior is around 500 square feet.
Location: 1313 S Cloverdale Blvd., Cloverdale
Hours: 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday-Sunday
More information: https://www.facebook.com/RockinAadventureCafe/
Cloverdale History Center: A few steps from Plank is the Cloverdale History Center, which is the ideal place to familiarize yourself with the rich history of this city. The informative historical exhibits tell the story of the Pomo Indians who were the first occupants of the land, prior to white settlers arriving in the late 19th-century and founding what would become the city of Cloverdale. The adjacent Gould-Shaw House is a Victorian-era Gothic-Revival cottage dating back to 1862.
Location: 215 N Cloverdale Blvd., Cloverdale
Hours: 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Wednesday-Saturday, noon-4 p.m. Sunday
More information: 707-894-2067, https://www.cloverdalehistoricalsociety.org
Cloverdale Sculpture Trail: For 18 years and counting the Cloverdale Sculpture Trail has been captivating visitors and locals alike. More than 30 large outdoor sculptures are featured at this exhibition that changes annually. You can view or print a brochure from The Sculpture Trail’s website.
Location: 215 N Cloverdale Blvd., Cloverdale
More information: 415-608-6160, https://cloverdalesculpturetrail.org
Cloverdale River Park: Until 1999, Cloverdale was the only incorporated city in Sonoma County without a regional park. Some say the best was saved for last. The park’s signature offering is a scenic trail just over a mile long with access to the Russian River. It’s the only public multi-use trail along the entire 100-mile stretch of the Russian River. Wildlife is abundant and in summer the park is a great place to launch a kayak or go for a swim. Signs provide information about the park’s riparian habitat and the flora and fauna it supports.
Location: 31820 McCray Road, Cloverdale
Hours: 7 a.m.-8 p.m., Monday-Sunday
More information: https://parks.sonomacounty.ca.gov/visit/find-a-park/cloverdale-river-park
KOA Cloverdale/ Healdsburg: Cloverdale has its share of B&Bs and hotels. But for a true outdoor experience consider camping out. The Cloverdale Wine Country KOA Camping Resort offers basic to deluxe cabins, as well as tent and RV sites, in a bucolic setting overlooking Alexander Valley. All sites have fire pits, barbecue pits and picnic tables. Russian River RV Campground is as its name implies. Set right on the river, the campground caters to RVs but also has a few cabins. Swim in the river, play volleyball or just chill.