Year-round living on the Russian River really didn’t take root until the 1960s. Before that, residences were summer cabins only, used part of the year as a way to escape the fog-laden and downright cold days of summer that San Francisco typically offers.
Throughout the 1950s and earlier, moms and kids from “the City” often relocated to the Russian River Resort Area for the entire summer, with dads joining the group on weekends. When schools started back up in September, the party was over and the cabins were put to sleep for the off-season. For many families, the seasonal nomadic tradition continued for generations and might live on today, but just like everything else, the river has changed over time.  
John McCarty, a fourth generation San Franciscan, spent his summers from the age of eight through his teens on the Russian River. “My parents favored Rio Nido,” explained McCarty, who refers to Rio Nido as a “hamlet.” McCarty’s upbringing made an impact and served as inspiration for two novels: “Rio Nido, Memories that Linger” and “In the Rough.”
“I realized the power of nostalgia. How people are so hungry to go back to the good ol’ days,” said author John McCarty about his first book, “Rio Nido, Memories that Linger.” Set in the early 1950s, the book paints a picture of what the river was like during one of its previous “heydays.”
Characters in the story are based on people that McCarty knew during his lifetime and the book reads like a Tom Sawyer, from the adolescent perspective of the main character, Sean McGinnis. He’s a Catholic school city boy, free for the summer on the banks of the Russian River and it’s an exciting cultural contrast for the reader. McCarty offers a peek into the mind and activities of an adventurous young man, from another time period.
“In the Rough” is one of the author’s more contemporary pieces, however, set in modern-time. The plot revolves around the main character, Eddy Peters, who settles in Monte Rio for solitude and recovery after two military tours in Iraq. Already struggling with relationships, authority and wartime memories, a political battle springs up in town, as one often does in these parts. Peters finds himself in the middle of a local divide that centers around the complex issue of river clean up and the construction of a treatment plant.
Locals and tourists alike might want to delve into these stories for entertainment and/or information. For more about local author John McCarty, visit McCarty’s books are available for purchase online from Amazon and Barnes and Noble. On Thursday, Sept. 19, McCarty will read from both of his books and lead a discussion about the past and present Russian River at the Sebastopol Senior Center at 1 p.m.

Previous articleExploring wild places and open spaces
Next articleWheel of Light


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here