Attracted 140 years ago by the world's premier redwood groves, first loggers and then travelers came to see the ancient forests and then called Big Bottom and what began as loggers' cabins and vacation homes gradually turned into small communities of foresters, farmers and merchants.
In the 1920s the lower Russian River area had available 15,000 guest beds, and while many of the attractive and unique cabins and historic cottages have become year-round homes, it is still a favorite getaway for retreats and vacations.
Small eclectic hamlets and towns nestled amongst the ranches and farms add to the culture and diversity of the area. Each with its own history and stories to tell, they include: OCCIDENTAL, well known for its restaurants and scenic vistas; RIO NIDO, where hundreds flocked to the dance halls to be entertained by Ozzie Nelson, Benny Goodman, and Jimmy Dorsey Brothers; the small town of DUNCAN MILLS with its fine gift stores and restaurants, began as a lumber mill and now presents a restored and recreated rural village; MONTE RIO, home to the summer encampment at famous Bohemian Grove, ninety years ago boasted picture shows, dance halls and water sports along with a 7-story hotel; GUERNEVILLE, once the hub of the redwood timber mills, then the largest of the lower Russian River resort communities, still offers great vacation opportunities in a town known for its social and cultural diversity; FORESTVILLE, a small town which in 1836 was home to California's first power sawmill, and is now a peaceful haven bordered by orchards, farms and vineyards.
The Russian River area inspires a diverse lifestyle where one can savor the delights of country living yet be in proximity to larger cites commerce.