Peace and quiet is a request I often hear from home buyers. They want a property that is far enough from traffic and urban noise that they won’t hear the steady drone of traffic or the diesel-fueled dumpster emptying during early morning sleep time. It’s harder than you might expect to find something quiet that is also accessible.
Most of Sonoma County property is either along the 101 corridor or in one of the many narrow valleys that give us our unique wine country appellations. Dry Creek Road noise carries across the valley to the hills of West Dry Creek. Highway 128 noise carries across much of Alexander Valley, particularly the eastern hills. Westside Road traffic noise impacts the Russian River Valley near Healdsburg. Even two or three miles back from Highway 101 you can often hear both the steady hum of traffic and the noisier trucks and motorcycles that are part of the sound mix.
The 87 hillside acres near Korbel Vineyards outside Guerneville is an example of a truly quiet property. There is a long, tranquil drive through vineyards and then through a redwood, fir, and madrone forest. Some of the road meanders alongside a creek. The access road climbs to about 475 feet above sea level at the entrance to the property and to nearly 800 feet at the main building site. The distance from River Road, the intervening hills and forest, and the elevation all combine to make this property exceptionally quiet. Expect to hear a lot more wind in the trees, birds chirping, and winter waterfalls than traffic.
It’s not just quiet that makes a property desirable, however. Forested property can be dark and damp, particularly in the winter. This property is blessed with southern exposure and tremendous views to the east, south, and west. The combination of quiet, views, and good solar exposure make this a wonderful opportunity for a buyer who is willing to invest some time and energy in making it into their ideal retreat. As is, it’s a great camping spot until you develop your plans.
The Russian River doesn’t have a monopoly on quiet. I have a tranquil Healdsburg listing of 40 acres on a ridge overlooking the Santa Rosa plains and much of the Mill Creek watershed. There are views of Geyser Peak and glimpses of Dry Creek Valley. This is an already developed property with a substantial newer house. This property was designed to be off the grid and has a well developed photovoltaic system and excellent water.
I’d like to mention two other listings that are on busy roads but manage to maintain “quieter than neighbors” results due to topography. These properties manage to be relatively quiet by virtue of hillside road frontage. Both of these luxury wine country properties have steep and tall hills along the road which absorb the traffic noise and let the majority of the property enjoy relative peace and quiet.
8500 Dry Creek Road has spectacular Dry Creek Valley views and would make a lovely winery or tasting room site. It’s near both Dutcher Crossing Winery and Ferrari Carano and has an existing house and five acres of Zinfandel. The second property, a Russian River Valley parcel only five minutes to Healdsburg, is one of the nicest estate grade Sonoma County luxury properties we have seen in years. Nearly 20 private acres with large expanses of usable acreage. This will be on the market soon and will be a true trophy property for the buyer with vision and resources to create a world class luxury estate.
You can buy peace and quiet in Sonoma County, but you may have to look long and hard to find it near population centers.