Whether you’re visiting Napa and Sonoma as a traveler from around the globe or coming from the San Francisco bay area, a day trip to Healdsburg is not to be missed. Healdsburg is a great wine country destination that’s full of small town charm and lots to see and do.
Situated off Highway 101 in northern Sonoma County, it’s an easy drive for a day trip if you’re staying in Napa or Sonoma, and a great weekend getaway for bay area residents. In fact, if you come for the day, you’ll want to stay longer. I hear it all the time!
What’s so great about it? There’s something for everyone. Whether you’re the outdoor adventurer, the food and wine lover, or just want to relax and enjoy a slice of this charming small town life, Healdsburg has it all.
Great restaurants and eateries dot the downtown area and there’s easily something for every palate and price point. A great newcomer to open their doors is The Taste of Tea, a Japanese style tea house that features fine loose leaf teas, big tasty bowls of ramen, a host of small delicious bites, and a relaxation lounge where you can pamper yourself with services like a Japanese tea mask and food soak.
Another favorite that has received some great accolades from food critics as of late, is Bravas Bar de Tapas. This hip tapas spot, owned by Mark and Terry Stark, has incorporated the flavors of Spain from the variety of small plates to the vibrant colors of the décor and outdoor patio and bar. Great for a snack after a little wine tasting or an evening meal.
Oh yes, there’s wine! And the choices are endless. With more than 40 tasting rooms in town and hundreds of wineries dotting the landscape just in the nearby valleys you can find very small and understated to big and boisterous, along with everything in between. My advice would be to visit at least a couple in Dry Creek, Alexander Valley or the Russian River Valley and then come back and do a couple in town. The scenery in the nearby valleys will be hard to beat.
Even if you’re not a wine drinker there’s so many beautiful gardens and landscapes at many of these spots that it’s worth the time to check out a few. One of my favorites is Gustafson Family Vineyards. Located a few miles beyond Lake Sonoma, this picturesque winery sits about 1800 feet above Dry Creek Valley. The panoramic view of the valley below and Mount St. Helena in the background is stunning. Only open on the weekends, it’s a great place to take a picnic and enjoy their wines. And although it’s about 30 minutes from Healdsburg, it’s worth the trip. And if you’re up for a little nature, take a hike and hit one of the nearby trails on your way up to the vineyard or rent a canoe at the Lake Sonoma marina.
This is just a few of the hundreds of options for your trip to Healdsburg. Come for a day and you’ll want to stay for a week…or longer!