Eco-Road Trip – Russian House #1

Russian House #1 – Summary:

  • Who: Bruce Schmidt; Tatiana Urusova
  • What: Drove to the coast and stopped at tourist shops; Visited the Russian House #1
  • When: Wednesday, March 28
  • Where: Jenner, CA

Quick Resources:

My Route:

Planning my Eco-Inspired Road Trip Blog Post


My Travel Story:

After leaving FrogSong Cohousing Community in Cotati, CA, I drove back to the Pacific coastline, leisurely taking my time because my hostess for Russian House # 1, Tatiana Urusova, wouldn’t be back until later that night to show me around.

“Russian house#1 is a restaurant with healthy Russian fusion food. It’s a cultural center and PostNonClassical Science Center, built for human development.” — RH#1 Facebook Page


So I piddled around on my drive and stopped at Harbor View Gifts & Goodies, where there was a nearby saltwater taffy shop and a view of the bay where I took pictures.

Every year, my mom buys us Lazy One brand underwear with butt/fart jokes on them – so after I showed her they make socks, I hope she’ll get the hint that rather get rocking socks over funny underwear.

Lay One also makes Bigfoot lounge wear! (Hint, hint mom!)

Behind the Saltwater Taffy shop and the tourist gift shop was the harbor, which was pretty low when I was there.

Continuing to kill time along the coast, I made some more stops at nearby tourist photo overlooks taking pictures of the coast line and the rocky beaches.

I eventually made my way up the coast to Goat Rock State Beach in the Sonoma Coast State Park. Where I drove down the windy road to the beach front tourist parking. From that point, I spent quite some time people-watching surfers and beach photographers, exploring the stacked rocks near Goat Rock, and walking along the beach looking for more stones for my collection.

This was the biggest stacked rock formation I came across down by Goat rock.

Here’s a short clip of the beach further down from Goat rock, where most people were camping, grilling and sun bathing.

The sun was setting and getting close to dinner time, so I made my way over to the Russian House #1. I arrived to an empty parking lot to find out that it closed a few hours earlier and there was only one guy inside, and he was cleaning and putting away the food.

I waited in my car for Tatiana to arrive at any minute, until a cyclist approached the restaurant asking for directions. That’s when the man, Bruce Schmidt, came to the door and gave her directions – and I took the opportunity to introduce myself and let him know Tatiana was expecting me.

Bruce was very hospitable and showed me around, giving me his take on the restaurant/community, some of its history, and took me to the various rooms. He was a retiree that lived in the trailer park across the street and frequently volunteered at the restaurant.

This outdoor bar is made from reclaimed logs from the area, and the sign post has the direction and distances to various Russian cities.

When you walk in through the white door, patrons come to this buffet-style serving table to fill their plates. As you can also see, there are various Russian decorations and motifs on the walls.

Hand-made bread in the shape of fish and turtles. And at this point, they were only there for decoration because they were stale having been left out all day. (Maybe even longer?)

These are the signs to help guests figure out how to serve themselves, and how the restaurant operates as inspired by gift economics.

Puzzles are a big part of the Russian House #1. This puzzle is called a Perplexus, which was donated to RH#1. (See video here)

In addition the the Perplexus being donated, so too were the piano and harp, and a lot of their food/meats that they serve to guests from what Bruce told me.

Here’s the outdoor patio, which over looks the Russian River and is used for a lot of social gathering events and puzzle game nights.

The view of the Russian River from the RH#1 back patio. I also saw a seal swimming up the channel hunting for fish. I could also hear the coyotes yelping from the far cattle fields when the wind wasn’t blowing, Bruce said that was a common thing to hear especially later at night.

Sunset view from the back patio, with spiritual statues and Russian decorations.

This was the RH#1 puzzle wall, inside the spiritual practice backroom. (See more about their puzzles here.)

The spiritual practice backroom, where the ladies of the community (living in the upstairs bedrooms) host teachings, seminars and over events. (See sample videos here.)

This poster, from what Bruce told me, is of George Ivanovich Gurdjieff (G.I. Gurdjieff) a Russian philosopher who’s teachings are very integral to the founder of the Russian House #1 and are reflected in how the run their spiritual seminars.

Tatiana arrived a couple of hours later, coming from her part time grocery job near Santa Rosa, CA.

I’m not sure if it was a cultural difference, or if she had a bad day, or I gave off vibes like I was ready to leave – but I felt some stand-off-ish tension between us. I was very fortunate to have Bruce give me an initial tour, because I had a hard time understanding Tatiana’s accent, and she was expecting me to ask questions proactively and she answer reactively – compared to Bruce’s general explanations with me asking follow-up questions.

I left Russian House #1 late into the night, taking winding forest roads back to Santa Rosa – a difficult task with no cell reception/GPS and it being pitch black.

More about Russian House #1:

From a Burning Man to a Burning Woman

From a Burning Man to a Burning Woman – The story of how Burning Man culture came to inspire two Russian ladies to open a year-round project that shares the basic principles of BM:

  • a gift economy with human sharing,
  • a focus on creativity & active participation,
  • and the freedom for self-expression or — more precisely — the freedom for self-exploration

The Experience Place:

“Russian House #1 is a unique Restaurant, where the food is being served like at Home. It means that we do not have menus, nor fixed prices. Our food is being prepared with an inspiration every day, considering our favorite Russian recipes and healthy local produce.
Russian house#1 is a free cultural space and an experiment in new economics. Every day is different here, in Russian house, sometime it is a quite place for a good conversation, sometimes we are roaring with folk or rock concerts, we do culinary classes and we love to take best cooking practices from our guests. (Yes! You are welcome to cook with us or to cook for us ) We have a great puzzle collection and share puzzles and riddles with those who come. We organize talks and intellectual clubs. We do meditations every morning and have beathwork workshops from time to time. And much more …
Most of all, we are an intentional transformational community. Without engaging in any religion, we try to change our lives and we invite others to get out of their comfort zones and gain more freedom, wellness and wisdom.
  • As a community we create:
    • a frontier restaurant with home-like concept of food-sharing, human communication, participation and sharing
    • a space for cultural exchange (open mics, exhibition, special food days, movies, celebrations)
    • experiment in new economics
    • an environment for personal and collective consciousness studies (riddles and puzzles for the public, breathworks, different meditations, mind-development and self-reflection cultivation practices, mindfulness as a path, Game Mastery as priority approach to life-problem solving)

Russian house#1 is intended to become a PostNonClassical science Center.PostNonClassical science is something where the researcher includes himself or herself in the research system and obtains knowledge which is not separated from the researcher. The researcher experiences integration of himself or herself into the World. To comprehend on contrary with a classical science, in this case, means to integrate oneself with everything.” — RH#1 Facebook Page

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