Words by Shelley Pittman
Photos by Nikolas Zvolensky
For many years locals patronized the TV Repair store in Philo. It was a successful business but one that the changing tides played a direct hand to its fate. The little house sat deserted for years. Quietly serving as a home for spider webs, weeds and a dusty dirt road, patiently waiting a new life.
Meanwhile, designer and lifestyle entrepreneur Jim Roberts was fulfilling a dream by relocating to coastal Mendocino. He found his excursions to the nearby Anderson Valley inspired another dream. It led him to acquire the corner property with a vision in mind.
It was time to build The Madrones; a design center and creative think tank, a cloister of Mediterranean architecture buildings, terra-cotta tile rooftops and lush courtyards.
But fate played a challenging hand and the U.S. economy started failing. Jim and his partner Brian’s response was to exceed the challenge by masterfully creating, over the next 20 years, three authentic Italian experiences, in the heart of Anderson Valley.
The property was built for my design business and home originally. The Madrones with the Inn, restaurant and tasting rooms came about during the financial crises when I needed to repurpose the property. When I envisioned turning the property into a visitor destination
“I wanted it to feel like the agriturismos I had stayed at in Italy. The goal was to make the service warm, but low touch like you are staying in the extension of someone’s home. “ Jim Roberts
Whether you choose to be in the heart of a vibrant piazza, the comforts of a thoughtfully appointed farmhouse or a romanic oasis amongst a century old forest, a stay at The Madrones could be your perfect destination vacation.
“We are a constantly evolving property. I am most inspired by change and evolution. Guest often tell us that they look forward to their next visit to see what’s new on the property.”
The heart of a village
It was a warm sunny late-afternoon day in the piazza. A man sat chatting with the local winemaker about this years vintage under the terra-cotta topped breezeway, while his wife was browsing the curiosity shop. Soften conversations sprinkled with laughter floated in the air from the courtyards shaded seating. The courtyards and arcades offer a perfect Al fresco environment to relax.
Today the National award winning architecture Madrones conjoins a courtyard restaurant, a collection of wine tasting rooms, a curiosity shop, a chemist shop and estate guest quarters anchored by a gorgeous courtyard patio.
Their private Estate Guest Quarters and Garden Quarters are Influenced by the Italian Agriturismo concept of ‘staying on a working farm or winery’,
Piazza Guest Quarters
The 4 opulent rooms and suites are styled with eclectically furnishings of a desert color palette of rich cream tones, deep browns and ruby reds. The ambience is regal. Formal rooms feature feather-down comforters, dialog enticing artwork and lounging areas with floor-length drapes. The thoughtfully appointed bathrooms are spaces for pampering oneself.
As you walk through the wooden gates, located on the west-side arcade, you step into an Italian country farmhouse experience. The landscape of manicured flora, culinary kitchen garden, a babbling koi pond, a pavillon for gatherings and orchards swollen with fruit and olives line the pathways around the estate. The farmhouse, which was the owner’s private residence for years, has been converted into four private guest accommodations, each one named after its original purpose.
Italian Peninsula Forrest
Once an active wood mill that extends back to the area’s lumber boom of the 1940’s and 50’s. This land has remained largely undeveloped with areas of fascination to explore. Nestled deep in a towering redwood grove is the stunningly beautiful cottage that has been transform into magical experiences.
The Front Door and the Back Porch accommodations both sleep two with stunning views of the Burly Grove and its most curious feature, the Pachyderm Tree. Above them and tucked at the top of a winding outdoor staircase is The Perch, a treehouse-inspired retreat that sleeps two. Up Mill Ridge and overlooking the redwood forest, the Faller’s Cabin sleeps two guests and the Logger’s Cabin sleeps four.
Each accommodation includes complimentary Wifi, flat screen TVs, kitchenettes, coffee and tea, and simple breakfast items. All rooms are pet friendly except the Back Porch.
They are currently developing trails so guests may explore the natural beauty and even take the pathway to The Madrones.
Along the breezeway is a collective of tasting rooms representing some of the valley’s finest winemakers and their own labels.
DREW FAMILY WINES
Over the past 15+ years, the Drews have produced a selection of stunningly pure, balanced and acid-driven estate and vineyard-designate wines. These include, most notably, an estate-grown Pinot Noir and Syrahs.
The Pinot Noirs are vibrant; the Syrahs are richly layered. The couple also produce a stunning dry cider, from the 60-year-old organically farmed heirloom apple trees that they brought back to life on the property.
Long Meadow Ranch
Join them for a seated flight tasting of four wines, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris., from their vineyards Anderson Valley. Choose your intimate seating in either a cozy banquetted wall or farm table options.
They also offer an organic olive oil tasting and wines by the glass and bottle. In addition to espresso drinks other LMR condiments are available to purchase.
Guests can play bocce ball while enjoying a bottle of wine near the rose garden.
Sun & Cricket
This little shop filled with antiques, greeting cards, one of kind gift items, books, tableware and accessories that possess an unusual beauty. It’s the perfect place to browse, bring home a memento or chat with a local about our area. It is also the check-in desk for the Guest Quarters.
The Bohemian Chemist offers sun-grown herbal cannabis, skincare and spa menu.
The family property “Sugar Hill Farm” is home to the gardens of organic naturally cultivated cannabis for their product line.
Dine outside on The Wickson Terrace
Meet Alexa Newman and Rodney Workman, our resident chefs and partners at Wickson, our new eatery located at The Madrones.
Each chef has extensive experience in wood fired cooking, Diners are offered a modern California cuisine melding locally sourced ingredients from farmers of Mendocino and Sonoma Counties, fishers and foragers, brewers and vintners to create a plant-forward beginnings and pizzas.
The newly renovated restaurant space is open Friday – Sunday for lunch & Friday – Monday for dinner. Monday is “Local’s Night” with a different menu featuring pizza or ethnic food.