Stumptown Daze, a romantic comedy novel, has a scene at Monte Rio’s Village Inn.
In Stumptown Daze, our caregiver Lani and her new boyfriend Jake have a mishap at the Village Inn on their way to another iconic restaurant–Angelo’s. To this day, the Village Inn is not only a favorite spot for the wife and me, but also for luminaries from the nearby Bohemian Grove.
In older days, the Russian River Rat Pack consisted of Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Phil Harris and Danny Kaye–all fine Catholics until they arrived at the summer retreat. The annual variety show was a fundraiser for the local Catholic church, St. Catherine. Many an hour was spent by these Bohos at the Northwood Golf Club. Phil Harris would rent a house near the ninth hole and roast passing golfers. Bob Hope’s one liner regarding the course still holds true today: “The fairways at Northwood are so narrow you have to walk down them single file.”
In 1906 the Ludwig family built their summer home on the south bank of the Russian River in Monte Rio. In 1908, hotel construction began on the property and it became known as Ludwig’s Grove—possibly to identify with the nearby Bohemian Grove. In the 1930’s, the building’s name was changed to River View Inn and then to Holiday Inn, after the 1942 Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire classic movie, which was partially filmed at the resort. The film’s iconic theme song, “White Christmas”, won the 1943 Academy Award for Best Movie Song, written by Irving Berlin. In 1952, the vacation spot was renamed Village Inn. Its current owners are Judy Harvey and Roger Hicks.