Planning a Visit

About our Town

photo of barn in Duncans MillsDuncans Mills is the perfect destination point for the one day traveler or the weekend visitor. Nestled among the redwoods, vineyards, and Pacific Coast in beautiful Sonoma County, Duncans Mills is an excursionist’s delight. The town boasts a population of 85 and has a unique mixture of antique and specialty shops, restaurants and galleries.

Duncans Mills was named for two brothers, Samuel and Alexander Duncan who established a lumber mill in the early 1870’s. During that time and into the 1890’s the brothers logged the redwoods which were sent by boat to San Francisco to build its wooden Victorians.

By the turn of the century there were several large hotels and the town was thriving. The 1906 earthquake leveled most of the buildings in Duncans Mills – including the Depot. After the turn of the century, the town was a destination spot via the Northwestern Pacific originating in Sausalito. Travelers rode the train to Duncans Mills to fish, picnic, and enjoy the Russian River.

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Greeting travelers as they arrive is the historic railroad depot. It was re-built in 1907 and restored by Arnold Wallen and David Ferreira and won the outstanding restoration for the State of California in 1971. The depot showcases a regional museum which is open by luck or by chance. Standing on narrow-gauge tracks are the restored Northwestern Pacific railway coach, two box cars and Caboose #2, which was part of the last train to Duncans Mills in 1935. Sweet memories of bygone days. The Freight Shed houses the State of California Department of Parks and Recreation. The Duncans Mills Camping Club, a membership campground, is the perfect camping experience and welcomes tours. Russian River Outfitters rents kayaks and invites travelers to enjoy an adventure on the scenic lower Russian River. Right next door is Gold Coast Coffee & Bakery, which offers organic coffee, wood fired oven-baked pastries and pizzas. Stop by to smell the roasting coffee and have a light repast. Sweets and Stuff is located right next to the Post Office where you never have to wait in line.

 

The Blue Heron Restaurant and Tavern is the spot for food, drink and good company. Continue past the Blue Heron down Steelhead Blvd and you will find The Inn at Duncans Mills. Beautiful gardens, a hearty breakfast and antique-filled rooms invite the traveler. Straight down Steelhead Blvd it dead ends at the Russian River Sportsman’s Club. Established in 1938 this membership club has trap and skeet shoots and is an event venue.

Across Highway #116, on the north side of town, the historic DeCarly’s General Store, built in 1888, is still in operation as The Duncans Mills General Store and offers a wide variety of good foods, gifts and necessities. Right next door is Weavers and Dreamers, a shop filled with magic and fun that has something for everyone. Home of the Troll!

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Country Stores was built in 1876 by Christopher Queen and was a hotel and livery stable in the last part of the 19th century. Christopher Queen was a pony express rider who came to Duncans Mills in the 1870’s .Today this restored building is surrounded by gardens of roses and wisteria and includes Pig Alley, one of the oldest establishments in Duncans Mills. Pig Alley was established in 1977, and features fine crafts, jewelry and more. Jim & Willies, in Country Stores Courtyard, is a treasure trove of fine antiques and collectibles. Shirley Robert’s Gallery, next to Pig Alley, showcases local landscapes of Sonoma County by this well-known artist. Up the stairs you will find Quercia Gallery which offers contemporary Realism, sculpture, paintings and hand-finished frames and frame restoration. Next to Country Stores on B Street you will find Antiquarian & Floribunda, an enchanting mix of fine antiques and fabulous fresh flowers, specializing in locally grown protea.

DuncansMillsScenery4Cape Fear Cafe is one of the most popular restaurants on the Russian River. The food is scrumptious and gets rave reviews and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Great smells linger in the air! Nestled behind Cape Fear you will find Mr. Trombley’s Tea, which specializes in unique teas, vintage teapots, tea ware, linens, and gifts. Right next door to Mr Trombley’s Tea is Main Street Gallery, Fine Art & Jewelry. Meandering along the boardwalk you will find Studio Nouveau. This tiny shop is an exotic boutique filled with jewelry, fine chocolates, and home and personal adornments.

Worldly Goods is located on Main Street right next door to Cape Fear Cafe. It is housed in one of the oldest buildings in Duncans Mills, John Orr’s Saloon, built in 1877. Inside Worldly Goods you will find exotic and exciting treasures from all over the world.

Along the boardwalk, past the fabulous rhododendrons, discover John Orr’s Gardens and Sparky’s. Sparky’s has a fascinating and eclectic mix of antiques, Mid-century Modern and sports ephemera. Thistledown Antiques is located facing the beautiful fountain in John Orr’s Gardens; purveyors of the curiously collectible and fine antiques. Christopher Queen Galleries, established in 1976, has an extensive collection of Contemporary and Early California Paintings displayed among tasteful antiques.

Wine Tasting of Sonoma County greets the traveler heading west and touts the oldest building in Duncans Mills, which was once located on Pig Alley on the south side of town. Walk through the colorful garden and miniature vineyard and enjoy a taste of Sonoma County wines.

As you round the curve into Duncans Mills from the east, to your immediate right, you will see The Superintendent’s House snug CassiniRanchagainst the hill. Over the bridge on Moscow Road you will find Casini Ranch Campground. They offer camping sites in sun or shade along the Russian River and feature the famous “Brown’s Pool” for the lucky fishermen.

For a special one day adventure or a weekend stay in West Sonoma Country, do the loop west of Highway #101, destination point, Duncans Mills.

Nancy Ferreira

Directions

When approaching on Highway 116 from the east (Highway 101/Santa Rosa), our shop is the first building on the right as you enter Duncans Mills. Coming from the coast, we are the last shop on the left.

Located near the Sonoma Coast on Scenic Highway 116, we’re less than 10 minutes from the Pacific Ocean and across the road from the Russian River. The largest nearby town is Guerneville, 7 miles inland from us. Santa Rosa and Healdsburg are 45 minutes and San Francisco 90 minutes away.

About Sonoma County

Sonoma County is home to astonishing geography, landscape and climate. Beginning at the Pacific Ocean with its rocky cliffs and sandy beaches, the county rolls eastward up coastal mountains of dense redwoods, then inland to gently inclining grassy hills and valleys dotted with stately oaks and fragrant bay trees. The Mayacamas Mountains rise up east of Santa Rosa as the demarcation between the Sonoma and Napa Valley.

The topography of the county creates multiple climate zones. Redwood trees soak up coastal moisture from the fog spilling off the ocean along the Sonoma Coast. The fog flows through the gaps in the coastal range, bringing a welcome coolness during the long dry season. Inland, the hills impede the fog, creating microclimates which allow an great variety of crops and animals to thrive.

This amazing variation creates the perfect conditions for Sonoma County wines, known the world over: Pinot Noir and Chardonnay thrive in the cool fog-laden zones, Zinfandel and Syrah grapes soak the valley heat and Cabernet develops its full bodied tannins from the higher inland mountains.

The county is home to agricultural families whose ancestors settled in the county during the nineteenth century as well as newcomers who bring culinary secrets from other towns, states and countries. The rich soil, mild climate and expertise of the farmers have created culinary products that are recognized the world over. in addition to fabulous wines you will find that rich olive oils, mouthwatering farmstead cheeses, artisan meats, fresh fruit and savory vegetables grace the markets, farmstands and dinner tables everywhere.