Romantic Russian River Rose Retreat

Devon and I cruised up to Healdsburg this Sunday for a tour and lecture on the distillation of rose oil at the gorgeous Russian River Rose Co. Even though it’s pretty nerdy, I would highly recommend it to anyone who likes roses – we had a great time and I, of course, took a million photos of flowers.

I’ve always scoffed at people who pay hundreds of dollars in order to work at wine “camps” where they teach you how harvest, crush, etc, works and you “get” to work in the fields super early in the morning. I can only imagine how that goes over with the regular grape pickers… ¡los gringos locos! But I found myself paying (okay, only $12.95) to have the privilege of learning to pick the right kinds of roses and in which stages of blossom. Call me a hypocrite!

But, anyway, I was so busy snapping away that I didn’t pick nearly as many as Devon. He was really wonderful – I got him up early on his day off to hang out in a rose garden and learn about how perfume is made… not necessarily one of his favorite subjects. He also agreed that I could take photos to my heart’s content – and it wasn’t even my birthday! What a lovey.

Once we picked the roses, they were stuffed into the still with hot water, and we got to take a sniff of the rosewater that resulted. It smelled a little earthy and vegetable-y; I guess it has to age to get that more familiar rosy scent. Still, it was hard not to swoon as the room filled up with that wonderful smell. And we were treated to pastries and tea, and got to wander amongst the most amazing varieties of roses and irises in full bloom. Just heavenly!

I loved the patches that the farmer guy had on his jeans:

If you need a break from work and want to look at some pretty photos of roses, well, here’s your big chance!

Edited to add a note: I asked if they do weddings (of course – I can’t help it anymore), and they said that parking is an issue since it is very limited. They have however done a few showers and smaller dinners – what a great space this would be for a bridal shower or rehearsal dinner in the spring! I told them they should really consider having weddings and using a planner to help them figure out the parking/ shuttle situation. They said that their daughter was coming home and hopefully going to help out with figuring that out, so if anyone’s interested in processing down the gorgeous “Rose Allée”, past fields of grapes and vines and roses, into an “altar” area surrounded by thousands of flowers, let me know!