The tiny town of Valley Ford, California, just 6 miles from the Pacific Coast, provides visitors with a wealth of nearby water activities including fishing, boating, and much more. It is located on State Route 1 in an area of rolling hills about 75 minutes north of San Francisco by automobile. It is 7 mi (11 km) north of Dillon Beach, 9 mi (14 km) east of the town of Bodega Bay and 20 mi (32 km) southeast of Jenner.
THE TOWN OF VALLEY FORD
The main town has Valley Ford Market, Valley Ford Hotel, Dinucci's Italian restaurant and Estero Cafe. One of the few remaining buildings dating from the 19th century, now houses Rocker Oysterfeller's Kitchen & Saloon and six guest rooms.
For more than 60 years, the family-owned Valley Ford Market has been catering to its residents and also the many tourists passing through town. This is a farmers and ranchers’ grocery, so you’ll find pretty much everything you could need, whether it’s PVC plumbing fixtures, wading boots, fishing tackle, or a superb bottle of sparkling wine and a picnic basket brimming with homemade sausages, home smoked salmon, fresh daily soups, and a glorious meatloaf sandwich on white bread with mayo, tomato and lettuce.
14400 Coast Highway 1, Valley Ford, 707-876-3245, Facebook Page
Rocker Oysterfeller's Kitchen + Saloon, which is the hallmark, landmark, and well, one of the only three restaurants in Valley Ford. Owners Shona Campbell and Brandon Guenther have created a food lovers destination using Tomales Bay oysters, California sturgeon, Niman Ranch rib-eye steak and Sebastopol mushrooms. Endulge in their signature Tomales Bay Shooter of a fresh-plucked, fresh-shucked oyster dunked in Tito’s Handmade Vodka with a dash of house-made Bloody Mary mix. Try their ice-cold Pimm’s Cup ($9), served in a big Ball jar with Pimm’s No. 1, ginger beer, and a rainbow array of chunky chopped and sliced cucumber plus seasonal fruit like apple and citrus. They have great deserts like their Humboldt Fog cheesecake. 14415 Highway 1, Valley Ford, 707-876-1983, Website www.vfordhotel.com
At Dinucci's Italian Dinners guests rave about comfort meals with ribs, fried chicken, fish, pasta and prime rib.
14485 Valley Ford Rd., Valley Ford, 707-876-3260, Website dinuccisrestaurant.com
Estero Café is a great place for breakfast and lunch. They have an espresso machine and serve Taylor Maid Farms espresso and organic Clover Milk. They also do holiday cakes, cupcakes and cookies.
14450 Highway One, Valley Ford, 707-876-1974, Facebook Page
Prior to its settlement by Europeans, the indigenous Coast Miwok and Pomo people people hunted, fished, and gathered in the area. A Miwok village named Ewapalt has been documented in the Valley Ford area.
Europeans explored the coastline in the early 17th century but did not settle until 1812, when Russian fur traders came south from Alaska and built Fort Ross about 22 mi (40 km) northwest of Valley Ford. The Russians remained until 1841, when the area came under Mexican rule. In 1850, the year California became a U.S. state, the area was made part of Sonoma County. Watson School.
In the summer of 1876 the North Pacific Coast Railroad Company extended their road through the town, and built a neat depot. The people can now reach San Francisco in about four hours' time. Previous to the building of this road the people received their goods and hauled their produce to and from Petaluma, a distance of eighteen miles, and traveled the same route to San Francisco; hence they welcomed the railroad which brought an end to those tedious journeys. In 1876 P. E. Merritt opened a new grocery store in the place. J. Parry opened a tin shop, and John Hunter opened a meat market.
A large ad ran in The Spokesman-Review on June 9, 1907, advertising the good life in Valley Ford. It boasts of rich soil and an “up-to-date water system” perfect for fruit orchards. The ad promised that such an orchard would provide an income “sufficient to support you without any of the health-breaking work of the city.”
Watson School was a one-room schoolhouse that served the students from Valley Ford, Freestone and Bodega from 1856 to 1967. It was the longest-serving one-room school in California.