Thursday, May 5, 2011

Rockin' Rio Nido, April, 2011

Rockin’ Rio Nido -- a monthly column for the Sonoma County Gazette
By Elisabeth Parker and Elena Chronis

April showers bring … lack of power.

As spring draws closer, Rio Nido bustles with all sorts of activity – some legal, some not. With all this jogging to get in swimsuit shape, while detouring around logging crews and storm-tossed redwood debris, who has time for reveling in the lush greenery and keeping an ear out for the chirping of baby birds? Especially since we’re still catching our breath from a mid-March storm and two-day power outage! Yet we definitely see signs of spring, as neighbors launch into spring cleaning mode. Seneca Rising and the rest of the organic veggie garden gang came out in full force for the annual Community Garden kick-off meeting on March 20th.

Champagne fountain grand opening

During the March 26th Friends of Rio Nido (FRN) meeting, Rio Nido Lodge owner Dennis Judd announced his plans to pay $1 million to Sweet Water Springs for installing a pipeline from Korbel to Rio Nido’s entrance for a champagne fountain. "We're excited about the restoration of this historic structure," exclaimed Sweet Water Springs General Manager Steve Mack. Not to be outdone, the Rio Nido HomeOwner's Association proclaimed their plans to build a chihuahua race track and giant redwood bungee jumping tower in the picnic area. "I look forward to taking the first jump!" RNHOA President Doug Misner exclaimed. The grand opening will be held when pigs fly … Happy April Fools Day, everyone!

St. Patrick’s Day shenanigans

Around 30 infuriated Rio Nidans – including home owners from hte city – attended the March 17th RRROC meeting at the Guerneville Veteran’s Hall to protest Dennis Judd’s proposed large-scale development in the front lot of Rio Nido. Not only did neighbors fear it would be big and ugly – we also worried about the lack of parking for the Roadhouse! Dennis withdrew the proposal via email shortly before the meeting.

The Twins are back … at Tavern McHughs

Les Jumelles recently closed, but we’ll soon see more of the eponymous twins, thanks to their mom and step dad’s new venture at the same location. Rio Nido residents Ben & Sherell McHugh are busily preparing for opening day at Tavern McHughs. El Molino High School students Amythist and Brianna (also from Rio Nido) will be pitching in to help. “We look forward to offering great quality food with fresh ingredients in a family atmosphere,” Ben enthuses.

In addition to lunch, dinner, and an amazing river view, the restaurant will offer a charming, old-fashioned ice cream parlour and video games for the kids. If all goes as planned, Tavern McHughs will open in April. Since Ben and Sherell claim to actually enjoy working with the County’s Permit Management and Resources Department, this may actually happen.

Featured personality: Erin Handy.

On March 9th, Erin – an up-beat, doe-eyed, late twenties-ish brunette with a pixie cut – and her quiet, pragmatic, and sandy-haired partner Suzy welcomed neighbors to their home for the Handy Harvest Club and Coop’s open house. While sipping wine and nibbling local artisanal cheeses, breads, and Erin’s signature pickled tomatoes, Erin and Suzy explained their upcoming projects. The co-op will start out as an informal, outdoor gathering of neighbors looking to trade fruits, vegetables, and home-made foods. The Harvest Club will operate more formally as a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), offering weekly or monthly subscriptions to local produce selected from local growers. Keep an eye out for

Rio Nido Roadhouse hosts 3rd annual Easter Egg Hunt

Held on April 24th at 1:00 p.m., the hunt is open to kids of all ages, and will be followed by a marshmallow roast and Hot Chocolate. There will also be a Peep's diorama contest (to be judged at 2:30 p.m.). To enter, sign up at the Roadhouse. For more information call 707 869-0821.

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