Groundswell Guest Guide

Welcome to our magical two hundred acres! Groundswell is home to a queer intentional community and worker-owned cooperative, operating the Groundswell Retreat Center. The land we steward covers 200 acres of redwood forest, grasslands, and all the creatures who live here. Rooted in queer chosen family and committed to environmental stewardship, our values include heart-centered process, embodied spirituality, and reverence for the natural systems upon which all life depends.  We are delighted to have you join us!


ON THE LAND

Cabins: Each cabin accommodates six to eight people in bunk beds, mostly singles. There are double beds in Cabins 4 and 9. Cabin 9 has a wheelchair-accessible ramp and is designated a special needs cabin. Please make this space available to those who need it. Each cabin is supplied with a small space-heater to help take the chill off in cold weather. Please help us conserve energy by switching the heater off when you go out for the day, and leaving it unplugged when you depart. 

Bathhouse: The hot tub and bathhouse are clothing-optional areas. Toilets and showers are located in our communal bathhouse (the lavender building by the grassy lawn). The complex is non-gendered, so feel free to use either half of the bathhouse as you choose. Please don’t bring any glass or ceramic items into the area (ouch!) Please shower before getting into the hot tub and help us keep the water clean.

Dining Hall & Living Room: There’s a tea corner, a microwave, and a toaster in the Dining Hall where you can prepare snacks and simple meals. To conform with health codes, we ask that guests not use the commercial kitchen. We can offer dedicated refrigerator space if you need it. The Living Room has cozy couches, and a shelf of books with a bunch of games in the cabinet below. You’ll also find a trunk with some extra blankets and pillows if you need them. Please help us keep common areas tidy. You may be the only guests at camp, but sometimes we need to show the facility to prospective renters, or have space available for other community activities. Help us keep things tidy, please follow posted directions for handling food waste and dishes, and please keep your personal items from wandering around on their own.

Accessibility: Our land community includes Disabled folks and Groundswell is committed to working to remove barriers that keep Disabled queers from joining us on the land. We have retrofitted our dining hall, hot tub, bath facilities, and largest cabin (with van-accessible parking) to meet ADA specifications. While parts of our terrain are very steep, and we can’t remove the barriers that nature has created, we are committed to removing institutional and cultural barriers that limit participation for all queer and like-minded people. Please feel free to contact your camp host with any specific access questions. 

Wi-Fi: Sorry, we don’t have wi-fi... and it’s not for lack of trying. Verizon works best on the land. AT&T, second best. The Mosswood Market Cafe and The Buckhorn Saloon in Boonville both offer wi-fi to customers.

Trash and Recycling: There is no garbage service at Groundswell. Please help us to minimize our costs and labor by following posted signs for food-waste compost in the Dining Hall, and designated barrels and bins for redeemable bottles and cans, as well as for general recycling and “evil trash.” If you want to make us extra-happy, pack out your trash when you leave. 

Drinking Water: The taps at the Dining Hall and Bathhouse provide potable/drinkable water from our natural springs. There’s a sink at the Dining Hall deck that’s ideal for filling up your water bottle. The water from taps uphill from the Dining Hall (including Tidrick) has not passed through the UV filter, and might not be safe to drink. 

Fire: Wildfire is a serious danger in our area. If you wish to have a campfire in the fire pit, please make arrangements with your Groundswell camp host. For everyone’s safety, refrain from lighting candles, lanterns, incense, cookstoves, or anything with a flame in the cabins or your tent. Also, only smoke in designated smoking areas and dispose of butts and ash responsibly. 

Bodies and Boundaries: You are beautiful, and consent is sexy. Groundswell holds space for queer people to find ourselves, to engage with community, and to develop and utilize our own queer magic. Groundswell is a trans-, POC-, body- and sex-positive space. All bodies are welcome, and we encourage you to do, or be, or wear who/what makes you feel good. We ask that you be respectful, and seek consent when involving others. For everyone's health, please be responsible for cleaning up your biological matter, and refrain from sexual activity in the hot tub water or in the kitchen. Please refrain from nudity or any sexual activity in the parking lot or in sight of the road shared with our neighbors. Clothing-optional areas include our pond, the creek upstream from the footbridge, the Bathhouse area, center camp, and woodland areas. Be aware of ticks, poison oak, and other hazards. 

Visiting the Residential Community: We love guests, and we also value our privacy and quiet time. Please respect this by not venturing into the residential areas without an invitation. Your camp host can make arrangements for you to tour the land, join us for tea, or introduce you to community members, goats, chickens and other residents.

Exploring the Land: Take a hike, go for a dip, look at the life in the forest! The Groundswell property includes several different ecosystems awaiting your exploration. A vigorous 20-minute walk will take you to our swimming pond, where you’ll find a floating dock and canoes. A further hike will take you across steep serpentine slopes to Grandfather Cedar, with a spectacular view over the valley. Closer to Center Camp, the creek can be easily reached via the path beside cabin number nine. Please help us conserve the ecosystem by staying on trails, being respectful of the wildlife, “taking only pictures and leaving only footprints,” and consult with your camp host before foraging or harvesting anything from the land. Ask your camp host if you are interested in meeting some of the livestock! We have friendly goats and shady alpacas, free roaming chickens and speckled guinea fowl. 

IN THE AREA

Traveling to Groundswell, there are grocery stores, banks, and pharmacies in Cloverdale. There’s an excellent a natural foods Co-op in Ukiah. 

Boont Berry Farm : Queer-owned. Organic, local, and specialty produce, with deli counter and picnic supplies.13981 Highway 128, Boonville | (707) 895-3576 | boontberry.com

Mi Esperanza: Small specialty market serving our Lantinx community. 14289  Highway 128, Boonville | (707) 895-9379

Anderson Valley Market: General/grocery store, with deli and wine. 14175 Highway 128, Boonville  | (707) 895-3019

Pic & Pay Market: Convenience and liquor store, with laundromat. Open till 9 pm. 14161 CA-128, Boonville | (707) 895-3029

Yorkville Market: Deli, wine, and picnic supplies, located two-thirds of the way to Groundswell from Cloverdale. 26701 CA-128, Yorkville. | (707) 894-9456

Rossi & Son Hardware Store: A great little hardware store in Boonville, some camping equipment. 14200 Highway 128, Boonville. | (707) 895-3261

Anderson Valley Brewing Company: A dozen or more beers on tap for tasting. Bottles and growlers for sale. At the corner of Highway 128 and Highway 253. | 707 895-23| www.avbc.com

Gowan's Oak Tree: A great, old-school roadside farm stand. Seasonal produce, specializing in fruit and cider. 6600 Highway 128, Philo. | 707 895-3353 | www.gowansoaktree.com

Local Eateries 

In Boonville, about 10 minutes drive West on Highway 128

Lauren's ($$-$$$): Locally sourced ingredients, casual and friendly, beautiful salads. Art and occasional live music. Veg friendly. 14211 Highway 128, Boonville | (707) 895-3869 | laurensgoodfood.com

Lizbby’s Restaurant and Bar ($$): A homy, family-run Mexican restaurant. Veg options. 14161 Highway 128, Boonville | (707) 895-3495

The Boonville Hotel ($$$$): Gourmet and locally sourced “family style prix fixe restaurant.” Reservations required. 14050  Highway 128, Boonville | (707) 895-2210 | Boonvillehotel.com

Mosswood Market ($$): A pleasant small cafe and bakery, with good espresso, sandwiches, breakfast and lunch. 14111 Highway 128, Boonville | (707) 895-3635

Boonville General Store ($$): A bakery & cafe (not a general store) Serving fresh breakfast & lunch specials. Good WiFi. 14077 A Hwy. 128, Boonville | (707) 895-9477 | Boonvillegeneralstore.com

In Philo, about 20 minutes drive west on Highway 128

Poleeko Roadhouse ($$$): Locally-raised meat-centric menu, large portions, casual atmosphere. Chef/owners are local ranchers. Local wine and beer on tap. 8651 Highway 128, Philo | (707) 895-7427 | www.poleekoroadhouse.com

Stone and Embers ($$$): Small place with excellent artisan wood-fired pizza and small plates. No corkage fee for Anderson Valley wines. 9000 Highway 128, Philo | stoneandembers.com

The Bewildered Pig ($$$$+): Gourmet and locally sourced, a slow-food destination. Reservation required. 1810 Highway 128, Philo | (707) 895 2088 | bewilderedpig.com

Places to go & things to do

Hendy Woods State Park: Just 20 minutes from Groundswell! Visit some really big old-growth coast redwoods, ADA-accessible trails, day-use facilities. 18599 Philo Greenwood Rd, Philo, CA 95466 | (707) 895-3141 | http://www.hendywoods.org/


Taste the Wine 

The Anderson Valley is one of California’s premier wine appellations. Cool evenings and warm days yield fruit with relatively high acid and moderate sugar, producing superb Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Alsace varietal wines, and methode champenoise sparkling wine. There are about thirty wineries in the valley, mostly focused on small production and direct sales, so you’ll find interesting wines not available elsewhere. Tasting rooms are generally open from 11am to 5pm. Some are free, but many charge $5 to $10 which is applied to your purchase of a bottle. Many wineries have nice picnic areas(We’ll be glad to loan you an ice-chest). A designated driver is essential — if you don’t have one, we may be able to give you a lift. Some of our favorite wineries include Meyer Family Cellars (our next-door neighbor just up the road), Pennyroyal Farm in Boonville, and a bit further toward the coast, Scharffenberger, Navarro, and Husch, among others. www.avwines.com

A Trip to the Coast

The spectacular Mendocino coast is less than an hour’s drive from Groundswell via Highway 128. The route winds through the agricultural lands of the Anderson Valley, then dives into the redwoods till it meets Highway 1, the coast road. Going north on Highway 1 from the junction, it’s a further 20-minute drive to Mendocino village, a historic destination with many options for eating, shopping, and strolling. Or, head south from Highway 128 and discover Elk, a tiny hamlet with a trail leading down to a beautiful beach, and a highly recommended queer-owned cafe called Queenie’s. Adventurous drivers can return to Groundswell via the Philo-Greenwood road, which climbs steeply out of Elk, then follows a ridgeline with magnificent views before dropping down into the Anderson Valley, passing Hendy Woods (our local old-growth redwood preserve) and reaching Highway 128 just west of Philo. visitmendocino.com