Healdsburg is unquestionably the jewel of Northern California. A beautiful, historic and charming town, over 150 years old, with a gracious central square, huge old redwoods and well preserved vintage Victorian homes. It is in a premier wine producing region of famous Sonoma County, and retains its quieter, rural and small town feel, unlike its larger neighbor, Napa to the east. It strikes just the right balance between upscale and gentrified, with world class restaurants, shopping and galleries, without losing touch with its farming heritage.
Healdsburg offers a host of activities, including wine tasting, cycling, hiking, kayaking, golfing, boating and fishing, and is a perfect base from which to explore the rugged California coast, the redwood forests and the abundant wine regions of Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino counties.
If its wine you’re after, you will have over 100 wineries to choose from, between the Alexander, Dry Creek, Russian River and Napa valleys, all within a short drive of the town.
Dry Creek Valley
Dry Creek Valley is a premium growing area lying at the foot of Lake Sonoma which feeds the creek that runs through the vineyards, connecting up to the Russian River, and flowing out to the Pacific Ocean, 30 miles to the west. Over 70 family owned wineries practice their craft, creating a diverse range of world class wines. Located on the West side of the Dry Creek Valley, West Dry Creek Rd is one of the most beautiful country roads in America. With rolling hills on the west side, and the valley floor on the east, and surrounded by vineyards, boutique wineries, and old growth oaks and redwoods, this area is perfect for a morning stroll or an afternoon bike ride. Each turn of the road brings a new, beautiful vista that make this area so romantic and enchanting. A short drive or easy bike ride will take you to the Healdsburg plaza where the many restaurants, boutiques, galleries and cafes offer a perfect way to spend a few hours or a day.
A few miles to the north is Lake Sonoma, a popular area for boating, waterskiing and fishing, while the many wineries will satisfy the most discerning tastes. A picnic basket and a delicious bottle of wine on the lawn offer the perfect way to spend an afternoon.
For the more adventurous, the California coast beckons with a day trip out to the west and a windy drive through the redwoods down Skaggs Springs Road to the sea.
The Rhythm of Country Life
As the sun sets, the locals collect at the Dry Creek General Store and bar for a sundowner and to watch the changing colors over the vineyards, or perhaps take a drive over to the Medlock Ames bar in Jimtown for a more sophisticated cocktail and a game of bocce.
In the Spring the fields are yellow with mustard plants, while the abundant fruit trees are in full blossom, and the road is lined with daffodils, lilies and wild flowers. The vines are just beginning to bud while the ground is moist from the spring rains and verdant green grasses are abundant. Colors are everywhere and the landscape is alive.
Summer brings the dry Mediterranean heat that will have you lounging by the pool or taking long lazy naps in the hammock. The vines are full and becoming heavy with their fruit while the days are long. Mornings are great for bike riding or hiking, before the sun becomes too strong. Late afternoon is a perfect time for a leisurely stroll along the quiet lanes, or to take a picnic down to the river. A game of bocce with friends in the shade of the large walnut tree, and a chilled bottle of rose keep the temperatures down.
The Fall is a busy time, as the leaves turn from a lush green to purple, and pink, red, yellow and orange. The grapes are heavy on the vines, and the vineyards are bustling with workers bringing in the harvest. The spruce and plum and maples bring bright splashes of color and contrast to the landscape. There is an expectancy in the air as the vintners begin the process of turning their bounty into the luxuriant wines that will grace tables and meals around the world. The air is fresh as the cooler breath of winter approaches.
Winter is a reflective time. The fields are quiet and the morning fog and cool winter showers bring a peaceful quality to the area. Thoughts turn to wood burning stoves, delicious home cooked meals, puzzles or games of scrabble and a good book. The hot tub is a perfect place to laze and enjoy the crisp air or the bright evening sky while the early evenings provide a good excuse to relax in a bubble bath for two, with candles, soft music and a bottle of your favorite wine.