Rio Nido along the Russian River was my favorite getaway as a kid growing up in San Francisco. Living atop Market Street below Mount Davidson, I would bundle up against the biting fog of summer. It wasn’t until my family made their first journey north thru the Rainbow Tunnel that I knew sun existed during the month of July. It was then that I began to appreciate Mark Twain’s famous quote: “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.”
Rio Nido was a special place, not just for the warmth, but for so much more. As I rode my bike up and down the redwood canyons, adventure waited around every turn. There were pretty girls and live music and dance halls. Ah, be still my heart. Other pleasures could be indulged as well by venturing into the pinball arcade, outdoor bowling alley, soda fountain or the bingo parlor. My mom would play cards with the ladies in the lounge at the Rio Nido Hotel while my dad took me and my sisters down to the beach. We crossed under the busy River Road via a tunnel, down a steep path to a pedestrian bridge that would take us to a boardwalk and several concession stands where you could buy anything from a Mabs one-piece bathing suit to a cherry snow-cone.
If further excitement was needed, I would board the River Queen and go downstream to Johnson’s Beach and more pretty girls. For more tales of these innocent times, try reading a good book. May I suggest Memories That Linger and Stumptown Daze. Until next time, cheers!