Homes for Sale on the Russian River

If you are shopping for homes on the Russian River, you couldn’t have picked a smarter time to do. Prices in the Russian River real estate market are down 45% from 2005, hitting all-time lows. Home mortgage interest rates are also at an all time low. Savvy California real estate investors and home buyers have taken note and are snatching up mls property inventory, creating a seller’ market and driving up prices on Russian River homes. Banks are holding back on releasing REO inventory, limiting supply. House prices are are going up, yet it is still time to get a great short sale foreclosure deal.

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Steelhead fishing on the Russian River is a time honored sport here in Northern Califonia.  Native Pomo Indians may not have refer to it as sport but a necessary part of life as would the Russians fur traders who were the first non-native group to habitat the areal.  Today Russian River Steelhead are mainly hatchery born and can be identified as such by a clipped middle fin on their back, clipped before they are released.  Native Steelhead as well continue to spawn, swim out to the ocean and return a couple of years later but have been reduced in numbers by over fishing, Dam construction, water diversion, reduced habitats and in general a change to the eco-system by logging, farming, agriculture, pollution and so on. Steelhead fishing is open year round but mainly begins just after our first big rain, sometime in late October or November.

Did you know that a portion of the Russian River comes from water diverted from the Eel River?  It happens some where around Potter Valley and is used by PG&E to produce electricity.  There is a controversy on whether or not the Russian River’s Chinook Salmon are native or were introduced when these waters were diverted because The Russian River’s mouth  closes annually making it an unlikely candidate for Chinook Salmon who need year round access to ocean waters.  The Coho Salmon are native and by all signs making a strident comeback after years of decline.  Shad, Large and Small Mouthed Bass and various smaller species are also fished on the Russian River.

The Don Clausen Fish Hatchery’s primary purpose is to mitigate the loss of spawning habitat for Steelhead Trout and Salmon due to the construction of Warm Springs Dam and each year the hatchery produces 500,000 Steelhead Trout.  There are a number of State agencies and private concerns working to protect the Steelhead Trout habitat and population.  If we continue to put our collective energy and actions towards protecting the Steelhead Trout of the Russian River thier future is looking bright and us fishing fans will continue to enjoy our Steelhead Trout fishing in the years coming.  Kings Sports on Main Street downtown Guerneville is a great place to get your gear, maps and local knowledge of where they are bitting.  If you are looking for a home in the Russian River area call David R. Millar with Questions at (707) 217-1786 or visit his website at http// .






The Laguna de Santa Rosa fills a most important need in the whole of the environmental/ecological system in West Sonoma County including the towns of Windsor, Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park, Forestville, Sebastopol and on down the ecological stream to all of the lower Russian River.  It not only servers as a filter for pollutants from human habitation and chemical waste from the counties agricultural businesses it also has a hand controlling flood waters that feed into the Russian River. Draining some 254 square miles of the Santa Rosa Plain’s watershed the Laguna de Santa Rosa has within it a 14 mile channel which is also home to one of Californian’s most diverse ecological systems.

At 30,000 Acres the Laguna de Sata Rosa is home to hundreds of bird spices ranging form Bald Eagles to Humming Birds and is an important resting point for migrating bird populations.  Mammals such as Bobcats, River Otters, Minks and many more call this protected area home.  The area where the land meets the wetlands and river channels is call the Riparian Zone and is another big word I can add to my vocabulary. The protected wetland is managed by The Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation which hold several fund raising events over the year and is Headquartered in the rebuilt home of  John Morrison who built the original house in 1870 as part of “the Stone Farm” located at  900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401.

The Laguna de Santa Rosa foundation offers walking tours of the Laguna and even has Trained Docents who are certified to teach a large age ranch of children right in the classroom. Some of the events held at the new Stone Farm House are a Pocker night, Mardi Gras Casino night, Tree-athon and many many Walking tours.  All proceeds go to keeping the Laguna de Santa Rosa in good repair and restore the property back to it’s original splendor by erasing mans foot print from the sensitive area.  The Foundation has also developed many maps for visitors to use for it’s marvelous walking trials and bring your canoe for a watery trip down the Central Channel. To find a home near the area which is really only a Ten Minute drive from anywhere in the West County Call me (707)217-1786  or visit me HERE

Russian River Jazz and Blues Festival

The Russian River Jazz and Blues Festival is coming up September 21 & 22 and is sure to be one of the best ever!  Since 2011 the Russian River Blues festivale has been combined with the Russian River Jazz Festivale to make for a wild weekend!  BB King and Buddy Guy were the headliners for Sunday’s Blues portion of the event.  Kenny Babyface Edmonds, Norman Brown and Richard Elliot graced the Saturday stage back in 2011.  When asked which edition of the event we are about to experience it will depend on who you ask, a jazz fan or a blues  person. I am going to call it the 37th annual Russian River Jazz and Blues festival because that is the opinion of the official web-site which has been newly updated with interactivity abilities, check it out.

I remember going to my first Russian River Jazz or was it Blues Festival sometime in the mid-nineties.  Maybe I don’t remember so well after all but I’ m thinking it must have been the Jazz Festival because I might have been a bit of a music snob at the time.  Then again a lot of my friends were there so it may very well have been the Blues Festival…anyway I remember my Girl friend, at the time, took her clothes off and went swimming in her underwear.  When she came back to our little group of people a few of the guys seemed very disappointed not to have had the chance to view this feat of unabashed risque-ness, as she was indeed a good looking girl if I say so myself.  After all a large reason folks go to the Russian River Jazz and Blues Festival or any similar event, is to see all the people there, people watch so to speak, isn’t it?

This Years Russian River Jazz and Blues Festival has a fantastic line-up  for me, cause I am an old Boz Scaggs  fan from way back.  I used to regularly go see him at New Years Eve concerts in the east bay and the Robert Cray Band has such a unique/smooth sound for the blues. On Saturday you can see the great Jeffrey Osborne whose darkly seductive voice will bring joy to your ears and Gregory Porter who is coming out with a new album named “liquid Spirit”  and of cousre Ledisi (Ledisi Anibade Young) eight time Grammy nominated vocalist. You can purchase your tickets ahead of time at this site right here!   Have Fun!!!!!



Korbel Wineries has been a key player in the financial health of the Russian River valley for over a century.  The Bohemian  brothers Korbel owned a large share of the logging industry in the area and once Redwood  lumber was no longer in such high demand  the brothers diverted from logging to wine making.  Korbel currently owns approximately 2,000 acres of prime vineyard land in the Russian River Valley and has purchased some additional land in the Sonoma Valley.

Korbel Champagne has become world famous and is able to name it’s product Champagne  because it uses the “methode champenoise”  which follows the traditional method first used by Dom Perignon in the 1600′s, allowing a second fermentation to take place in the bottle, creating its distinctive tiny bubbles.  Champagne, according to legend, was first created by a blind Benedictine monk named Dom Perignon. Some Critiques argue that  Dom was not actually blind and in fact did not invent the method; but it makes for a good story. Korbel Wineries suffered under the prohibition era as did many wineries perhaps because it was ILLEGAL!  Unfortunately all four of the the Brothers Korbel, Francis, Anton, Joseph and Winsel passed before the repeal of the law.  The family business was then in the hands of seven cousins.

The seven cousins sold the business to Adolf L. Heck a third generation winemaker with roots in the Alsace Loraine region of France.  Heck who mortgaged his home and went into partnership with his brothers turned the Korbel Brand on a new coarse introducing varieties like Korbel Blanc de Blanc, Korbel Natural and Korbel Blanc de Noirs.  He developed and patented a brand new method for removing sediment, remuage , just after the first fermentation process of the Korbel Champagne.

Korbel Champange and its vineyards have been an important business in the Russian River Valley for a very long time.  As I mentioned in one of my first blogs on this site the drive past the old Korbel stone winery is one of the loveliest in all of Sonoma County.  The vineyard on the west side of the road which is backed by tree covered hills with varying tones of green makes for a splendid drive on your way to Guerneville.  If you are interested in a second or year round home in the area call me (707) 2187-1786 or click on the following link.



Downtown Guerneville has an eclectic mix of shopping experiences for just about everyone.  Many stores  cater to folks who are picking items up for the day, like beverages and snacks.  Many inner tubes and inexpensive flotational devices are purchased and enjoyed in the summer sun on the Russian River.  I recently took a walk around town, taking pictures and introducing myself to various shop keepers and found them to be a very friendly lot.  The shopping experience can go from exquisite art pieces at “LIFVENDAHL”  art studio to second-hand clothing just off main street at “Mill street Thrift”.

New to Downtown Guerneville is free Wifi.  Some businesses were already offering this amenity and now it is available throughout all of Downtown Guerneville.  The free WiFi starts at the Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center, which is adjacent to the Plaza on the east end of town, all the way to and including the Ferngrove Cottages on the west end of town.  This Free WiFi is available 24/7 and allows Sun Bathers on Johnson’s Beach to update their social networks or figure out where they will have dinner.

Speaking of dinner, Downtown Guerneville offer a large variety of meals.  From the simple summer burger at Johnson’s Beach to extraordinary dishes you’ll find at Applewood Inn, Boon Eat + Drink and Chef Patrick’s just to name a few.  If you are up for a short drive, check out “Rivers End” in Jenner where the Russian River meets the Pacific Ocean, one of my favorites.

As I found out on my walk the other day, the merchants in downtown Guerneville love what they do and are not in a rush to sell you things.  Most love to talk about the goings on in town, like the new WiFi system and the history of the town.  For instance  I found out that the Big Bottom market is not what I thought but rather “the big bottom” is one of the old names of this area.  If you are looking for a weekend rental, second home or a nice house to call home, give us a call at (707) 217-1786 or visit my site at Millar and company.


Guerneville, pronounced with the middle E silent,  was the last name of one of our forefathers here in the Russian River area George E. Guerne a young Swiss immigrant who arrived in Stumptown in 1867.   The original name of the area was Stumptown because of all the redwood stumps left behind by the lumber industry.  It was called “Shabaiki” by the local native american tribes or ”Ceola” which means the shady place .  So Guerneville, with a silent e in the middle, was named after one of the original lumber men who constructed and operated a saw-mill and who owned much of the land just west of the town of Guerneville.

Today Guerneville is home to an eclectic group of folks who love to celebrate the place, they call home, as well as the summer vacationers who make the short drive from the bay area.  Vacation homes are abundant here and many of the locals make their livelihood by renting vacation homes.  The rentals help support ancillary businesses like house cleaners and rental managers here in Guerneville.  We celebrate in a variety of ways and putting on parties is a favorite of ours, like the blues and jazz festival, our “stumptown” parade and our biweekly “rockin the river

Many of these home were built as weekend get-a-ways for the well to do in San Francisco and Hollywood stars.  During the Big Band era the town was jumping with bands like Woody Herman and Tommy Dorsey to name a couple.  The Korbel brothers bought logging property near Guerneville and after the lumber boom slowed the Korbels turned their logged out lands to agriculture. In the late eighteen hundreds they started to produce wine from their grape vineyards. As we know Korbel ranks as the nation’s most widely recognized champage producer. You can visit the original buildings as well as the tasting room when you visit Guerneville.

Right now the Real Estate market in Guerneville is moving very fast. Potential income properties as well as year round homes are selling quickly. A beach front home which had been used as rental income was recently put on the market and received bids the very next day at 20% over the asking price.  Because of this some home owners, who were not so long ago holding on to get their heads above water, are now considering selling and move up to larger more expensive homes knowing it is a sellers market here in Guerneville.  To have a look at what your house may be worth and to look at homes already in the market visit our site at David R. Millar or call (707)217-1786



River front homes or beach front homes for sale on the Russian River are somewhat hard to come by.  Depending on the real estate climate these properties generally run 10 to 30% higher than an equivalent home near by.  However if  it’s a home on the river you want they are available.   We recently walked through a wonderful property right on the river with it’s own dock and large living room widows overlooking the beautiful Russian River as it flows gently to the sea.  The house had an Oriental flavor to it with Asian style outdoor furniture, exotic plants and foliage and the house itself had the look and colors of a Japanese pagoda.  The Russian River periodically floods as you can see on the chart below and one needs to find out about flood problems before you buy, but now, after so much history, house in the area are safe from the furry of a flood.

Luna, my dog, and I recently went for a walk along the Russian River to look for  homes and properties that meet our finicky criteria, which is sunshine, views, natural landscape and various  intangibles.  We found one, as you can see in our video, with lots of open space, views and really meets that intangible, the feeling of peace and quite.  The other positives of purchasing a Russian River River front property is they are very rent-able.  Vacationers are looking specifically for rentals right on the river and if you can access the river from the back yard this can add greatly to the rent you charge.  These rentals usually are very easy to rent-out during the spring, summer and fall.  Winter not so much but depending on your mortgage payment one can recoup his monies going out and make some extra cash for those rainy days here on the Russian River.



Top Document Floods

1. 48.8 – 2/18/1986
2. 48.0 – 1/10/1995
3. 47.6 – 12/23/1955
4. 47.4 – 12/23/1964
5. 46.9 – 2/28/1940
6. 45.0 – 1/1/1997
7. 42.5 – 1/5/1966
8. 41.8 – 1/1/2006
9. 41.5 – 3/10/1995
10. 41.3 – 1/24/1970
11. 41.1 – 2/1/1963
12. 40.7 – 1/17/1974
13. 40.4 – 1/27/1983
14. 40.2 – 2/25/1958
15. 39.5 – 1/22/1943
15. 39.5 – 1/14/1969
15. 39.5 – 1/17/1978


Although not the fastest nor bravest animal on the planet she could possibly be the sweetest here in the Russian River area. Luna is of the breed “Black Mouthed Cur” and her lineage goes back centuries.  Luna’s fore- fathers are thought to have arrived on the North American continent with the Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto.  A far cry from the Russian River area but stay with me.  Soto’s canines were mostly Mastiffs and Greyhounds that were used for hunting and literally scaring the hell out of the native population.  Many of the dogs were left behind and began breeding with the local North American Dingo, resulting in a very intelligent breed with lots of stamina, excellent for hunting, herding and all around work.

The Black Mouth Cur breed is a very popular one with hunters  ranchers and plan old everyday dog lovers,  whom you will find in abundance in the Russian River Area. The Russian River area is a beautiful area to live for dog and human alike with plenty of open space affording the canines plenty of room to romp.  Up and down the river you’ll see doggies swimming after the thrown stick.  In Luna’s case I have to watch for fishermen and women as she has a tendency to chase their lure and perhaps, god forbid, get hooked.  Up in  the hills surrounding the Russian River Valley and numerous tributary valleys are thousands of acres devoted to hunting.  Wild Boar hunting  is one of my favorites as well as Luna’s.  It is no wonder she sometimes gets a little nervous when we are out for a leisurely walking and hears rattling in a bush, she has seen  many a wild Boars come charging out of bushes.

The first time I saw Luna she was seven weeks old carrying a cloth duck in her mouth.  Her ears were the same size they are today so you can get an idea just how cute she was as a pup.  This was at the airport when she arrived to the Russian River area from her breeder in Louisiana.  She loved that duck,  sleeping with it and carrying it around until the fabric finally wore completely out a few years latter.  We both feel very lucky to be living in the Russian River area with it’s beautiful landscape, freindly people and river running right down the middle. Check out Property for sale in the Russian River Area .

18990 Sweetwater Springs Road, Guerneville, CA


Set high in the Pacific Coast hills 34+acres of land is lauding  over the beautiful Russian River valley.  With sunshine mingle through the rolling hills and meadows of the coastal range sits this wonderful piece of land for sale high  above Guerneville. The flora include Douglas Iris, Indian paint brush, Buttercups, Lupines, Brodiaes, along with Oak, Pine, Fir, maple, Madrone and Hemlock  trees.

Fauna include squirrel, deer, raccoon, fox, coyote, skunk, bobcat, and an occasional black bear or mountain lion.  The three buildings that are situated within the 34 acres are each unique.  The Russian River valley makes for spectacular views through out the day but in the evenings as the sun is setting with the marine layer  poised just offshore, gorgeous hues of reds and oranges can be seen.  Come check out the seen and call David R. Millar (707) 217-1786.




The Coastal Redwood tree, found in the Russian River Valley, is the tallest living  organism on our planet.  They can live up to 2,000 years and can grow as tall as 350 feet.  When I am felling over whelmed with life I take a walk through this living reminder of my magnitude in the world (or lack there of) and breath in the the fresh oxygen provided by these magnificent wonders.  I am blessed to be able to walk with these marvels, living in Russian River area, and take every chance I get to take a deep breath , letting my day to day troubles slip away.  It can be so easy to let life and its minute problems take space in my head.  But by having a disciplined practice of letting go, serenity can be found, especially here in the beautiful setting of Armstrong Woods.


Find peace and serenity here.  There are hundreds of homes for sale in the Russian River Valley, just 90 minutes drive to the bay area. Many folks live here and tele-commute for work and if need be take the drive once a week, it is well worth it.  Life is short, breath deep, and call (707) 217-1786 or clik on the link above.

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