The Creekside Inn and Resort

Yes it has been a long time since I posted. For someone who spends much of his professional time building blogs and encouraging those for whom he builds them to post actively and often, taking almost 2 months off between posts is not good form. I’ve, uh, been busy. Do as I say, not as I do.

Anyway, I’m sticking my head up quickly to post a link to the new Creekside Inn and Resort website. We started this project quite a while ago, and for various reasons it took quite a while to come to fruition. However, the results are worth the wait.

My wife and I have been going up to Guerneville for several years. It’s a convenient getaway from Oakland and one of those instances where driving two hours seems to take you a million miles away. The Russian River Valley is a lush and wild environment exactly unlike Oakland. Driving along the Bohemian Highway, I always have a sense that the cities and buildings are extremely tenuous and constantly on the verge of being overgrown. Plus there’s a lot of wine up there, which suits us to a T.

Perhaps 5 years ago we first stayed at the Creekside. It’s just across the bridge from downtown, so it’s a short walk from downtown and we were looking for somewhere new to try. It was so fantastic that we’ve been going back there ever since. When Lynn and I discussed their need for a new website, I all but demanded that they let me do it.

The graphical goal of the website was to convey the visual excitement of the location while keeping the content streamlined and focused so that it’s easy to use. So every header has unique photography but doesn’t take up much real estate on the page.

I did all of the photography with my Canon 5D, taking the rare opportunity (for me) to work mostly in daylight. The grounds for the Inn are very photogenic (as exhibited here), as is the whole Russian River Valley. I did a lot of shooting, spread out over multiple visits.  However, there is no monitor on which shots of giant redwoods actually convey the slightest sense of what it is like to be surrounded by them, so rather than try to capture the wide vistas and grand scale of the locale, I tried to narrow the scope of my shots down. Shots are often tightly cropped with elements cut off to convey that you’re not seeing the whole scene. The content column itself is very narrow, almost like a keyhole. The internet can only show you a tiny sliver of this place, but the sliver is very exciting.

It was important that the site convey the fact that this is a small family-owned business in a very special locale, and to that end there is what will hopefully be  a very active blog and events pages. Lynn, the owner, is a wealth of information on what’s going on locally, and one of our goals with the site was to give her a platform to convey that information. Want to find a good winery? Want a good restaurant for your evening? Perhaps even a special chef’s event? Lynn has the answer for you, and is eager to share. If she finds time to post even half of what is going on in the area this site will become an indispensable resource for people who want to visit the area. Her son, Mark, is an avid cyclist and is likewise a huge potential resource for the area. That end of the valley seems to be less known to cyclists, who usually stick to Healdsburg and surrounding environs. Mark is exactly the right person to point you to a new route and give you some insight into the ride. Because he’s already ridden it.

The site is built using WordPress. There is a reasonable amount of dynamic sorting and unique templating used to give the pages a lot of photographic range. This is a good example of a WordPress site that offers enough sophistication and flexibility on the back-end without getting too technically complicated to be functional: For this website to be successful, it’s going to have to have a lot of active content updated regularly, and to that end it’s important that that process be easy.


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