Town Mouse, Country Mouse
When thinking of Forestville, it’s best to imagine two communities united by a common name. A small but dense downtown is flanked to the east by rural terrain similar to that lying along Highway 116 to the south; the western third of town hides its homes in densely redwooded hills that line and define the Russian River. Each area is worth exploring as a destination or residence, but each offers a very different experience.
Downtown Forestville stretches nearly three whole blocks of Highway 116, from the eastern edge at Forestville Elementary to the intersection of Mirabel Road, the main route to Forestville’s Russian River reach. The largest town between Sebastopol and Guerneville boasts many amenities and attractions: galleries, coffee roaster, bakery, wineries, plus a surprising array of restaurants from drive-in to fine dining. This Forestville is typified by fair weather, fertile ground, and a quiet rural lifestyle.
The Russian River Forestville, on the other hand, comprises mainly hilly neighborhoods with homes that hug steep terrain along narrow, twisting roads in the deep shade of mighty redwoods. On the river, structures and residents alike are more eclectic, showing fierce pride in their river identity.
In summertime, the Russian River becomes one large party, as visitors and residents flock to relax and play in the cool water. Parks and private beaches offer boat launches and rentals, fishing, camping, and picnic grounds. The area’s remaining vacation homes begin to fill up both with renters and with families who have escaped here for generations. From spring through fall, uncountable area activities bring together locals and visitors.
Though it may have two personalities, the entire town is rightfully proud of the Forestville Youth Park. The only community-run park west of the Mississippi was founded in 1960 by local parents who saw the need for a safe place for area youth to gather and play. Supported entirely by donations, the handsome park continues to grow and improve, adding new facilities as community demand and participation increases. The town comes together for an annual parade and picnic to celebrate and support this gem, truly uniting the community.
Forestville Youth Park – www.forestvilleyouthpark.org