Even if gifts aren’t part of the event (many modern showers are simply about a joyful gathering) it’s a magical time for everyone to celebrate a milestone in an important life.
Which often leads to the question of “where?” Restaurants, wineries, clubs and private homes are always popular. But here’s a thought: make a day of it, in an out-of-the-way locale that is a destination waiting to be explored. That can mean a shower packs in even more fun than simply sipping wine, eating, and chatting.
Valley Ford is often thought of as drive-through town, stretching just 2.6 miles in a tiny burg east of Bodega Bay and northwest of Petaluma. But it’s packed with secrets for a savvy party planner.
Adding to the convenience, the Bank’s owners Brandon and Shona Guenther also own the Valley Ford Hotel and Rocker Oysterfeller’s Kitchen + Saloon next door.
For a long while, the red brick building on Highway 1 sat empty, silent with historic stories of when it operated just as its name suggested – as a bank for area dairymen, ranchers, fishermen and other pioneering spirits.
Then, in 2008, the Guenthers purchased the property, intending to use it as an additional venue for their Firefly Fine Catering. But the U.S. economy made catering events scarce, and so they operated the space as a retail fish market.
Yet in the past few months, catering and private dining inquiries have picked back up enough that the Guenthers closed the fish market and re-debuted as private event space for wedding showers, birthdays, wine dinners and such.
The space brims with charm, still featuring its original bank vaults, chandeliers, skylights and towering ceilings. Thanks to the proximity of the seven-room hotel and award-winning restaurant, it also offers extra draws.
“It is also a great option for wedding parties that take over the property as a perfect spot for a rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding,” said Brandon Guenther. “We can arrange for day trips to wine country, the Sonoma Coast or spa days for accompanying spouses.”
Imagine a guest’s delight when opening that shower invitation, and discovering that the party includes some fascinating west Sonoma County discovery, too.
Details: Dairyman’s Bank/Firefly Catering, 14415 Hwy 1,
Valley Ford, 707-876-1942, fireflycatering.net.