Boonville, California

 
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A rural community in the Anderson Valley of Mendocino County (pop. approximately 1200) with roots in frontier logging, Boonville was made famous by TV host Johnny Carson in the 1980s when he would regularly guest-feature a local resident to speak “Boontling,” a somewhat raunchy language developed by  lumberjacks and fishermen.  Nowadays, there are still old-timers who speak, but you are more likely to hear Spanish from the Latino workers in the vineyards.  Mix in back-to-the-land hippies, urbanites who have escaped the San Francisco Bay Area two hours south (me!), and long-time loggers and farmers, and you have a surprisingly diverse town.  For all of its compactness as a community, the land is breathtakingly vast and very beautiful – Giant ancient redwoods, firs, and madrones fill the landscape, and the rugged vineyards are interspersed between herds of sheep, lamb, cows, and yaks.  A forty-minute drive west brings you to one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world.