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The garden

On our acre and a half, we have a lot of plantings. We have a large olive orchard with 16 Spanish olive varietals. We also have 16 fruit trees, from plums to apples to cherries to peaches, pears, pomegranates, figs, and persimmons.  We have both wine grapes (200 Cab Sauvignon vines and 30 Cab Franc vines) and table grapes (white and red), strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and a large melon patch. We also raise a lot of veggies, from beets to broccoli to tomatoes, corn, beans, basil, carrots…

Ripening pomegranates

Ripening pomegranates

Ripening tomatoes and cucumbers

Ripening tomatoes and cucumbers

Ripening tomatoes and cucumbers

Ripening tomatoes and cucumbers

Nothing tastes better than a strawberry off the bush...pure sugar

Nothing tastes better than a strawberry off the bush…pure sugar… and fresh grapes

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The grounds

Evening, Healdsburg, cool evening, quiet

Evening in Healdsburg is one of my favorite times. It’s cool and so quiet.

As the sun sets and moon rises, it's a glorious Healdsburg evening

As the sun sets and moon rises, it’s a glorious Healdsburg evening

Healdsburg, orchard, olives, horse shelter

Old horse shelter provides lovely area to relax and enjoy the outdoors (and a nice view of the orchard)

California native plants, healdsburg, Russian River, creek

We started from scratch on the landscaping and have added CA natives throughout (and have a gorgeous seasonal creek just over the fence)

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Healdsburg fabulous food

The fresh food and amazing wine of Sonoma County make for fantastic meals. Farm-to-table works well here and attracts fabulous chefs.

Fancy:

Madrona Manor1001 Westside Road, Healdsburg, CA(800) 258-4003madronamanor.com.  For a meal that’s an elaborate “event” (we went for my wife’s birthday and we were there I think for 3 hours) try Madrona Manor.  It’s on the more formal side and it’s quite pricey, but really a special experience.  The waiters are super friendly and knowledgeable, and while it’s formal it’s not stuffy. It deserves its Michelin star!

Our favorites on or very near Healdsburg Plaza

1) Scopa109 Plaza St #A, Healdsburg, CA 95448(707) 433-5282scopahealdsburg.com.  This is a very small, casual, very reasonably priced Italian restaurant on Healdsburg Plaza.  Reservations here are scarce and even if walk ins can be accommodated it’s usually with a wait measured in hours.  I’d highly recommend making a reservation here as soon as you can if any are available during your stay – they start taking reservations 1 month in advance.  On Wednesdays they have “Winemaker Wednesdays” where a local winemaker serves and talks their wine as part of the waitstaff.  I’m told this is a prerequisite to getting your wine on their wine list.  We’ve been several times and love this place.  The steak for 2 is absolutely unbelievable.  They also have a new second restaurant around the corner called Campo Fina – we haven’t been there yet but it may be easier to get into.  www.campo-fina.com

2) Baci Cafe & Wine Bar401 Center Street, Healdsburg, (707) 433-8111www.bacicafeandwinebar.com.  This is a family favorite for us. They serve delicious Italian food including wood fired pizzas, the service is very friendly, and they too have an excellent wine list (although you’ve probably perceived a theme in that regard!)

3) Barndiva231 Center Street, Healdsburg, (707) 431-0100barndiva.com.  This is a bit more formal than Scopa (it’s all relative in Healdsburg – the only really formal places we’ve been in Healdsburg are Madrona Manor and Cyrus which is now closed), with excellent, fresh food and an outstanding wine list.  Just a block or so off the Plaza.  We’ve been twice and really enjoy this place.  A bit quieter than Scopa as well.

4) Zin Restaurant and Wine Bar: 344 Center Street, Healdsburg, (707) 473-0946 , zinrestaurant.com.  Delicious food, excellent wine list. block off Plaza.

5) Dry Creek Kitchen317 Healdsburg Ave, Hotel Healdsburg, Healdsburg.  This restaurant always delivers. With its famous chef, Charlie Palmer, its food is beautifully plated and not surprisingly, the wine list fantastic.

Downtown Geyserville has a great street of restaurants.  We have been to Diavola Pizza and enjoyed it, and love the fresh pasta at Cavelli’s.

Santa Rosa has many interesting restaurants as well.  We love Rosso Pizzeria in Santa Rosa.  Other than the fact that it’s kind of in a strip mall, we love everything about this place.  Great pizza, superb wine list.   A good place to stop if you are south of Healdsburg http://www.rossopizzeria.com/

As for lunches, we’d highly recommend Jimtown Store in Alexander Valley on a day when you are tasting in that area.  It’s a great place to stop on a tour of Alexander Valley.  Another good stop when tasting in Dry Creek is the Dry Creek general store. Also I am totally addicted to the shrimp tacos at El Sombrero near the plaza.   Getting lunch from Oakville Grocery in the square can be an amazing picnic as well! For breakfast, both the Downtown Bakery Creamery (yummy sticky buns and scrambled eggs!) and Flying Goat Coffee are fabulous.

Cooking? Big John’s Market is fabulous! They have great meat and fresh fruits and veggies.

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Great articles about Healdsburg

Voted #1 of Best Small Towns in America by Fodors

Also A Perfect Long Weekend in Healdsburg by WSJ

Head to Healdsburg for the total wine package – Seattle Sun Times

A lot of wineries have FREE tastings if you have a Visa Signature card. Check the current list here!

Great biking here! Here are popular routes. You can rent bikes downtown here.

Healdsburg’s tasting room scene from SF Chronicle.

New tasting rooms in Healdsburg featuring food as well as wine. Williamson Wines has also been offering a very entertaining wine and food pairing right off Healdsburg Plaza for years.

Sonoma County map

Sonoma County map

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Dry Creek Wineries

Dry Creek Wineries
Dry Creek Wineries

Dry Creek is primarily known for zinfandel and is probably our favorite of all the appellations.  Our favorite places in Dry Creek are Rafanelli (an appointment is a must – outstanding zinfandels, cabernets, and merlots), Ridge (excellent Zinfandels and blends, Cabernets, and Chardonnays, gorgeous views from the outside patio), Talty (Zinfandels), Unti Vineyards (zinfandel, syrah, and sangiovese), and Papapietro Perry (ironically a Pinot specialist although their tasting room is in Dry Creek – there is also an excellent place to sample and purchase olive oil across the parking lot).  Nalle also has truly outstanding Zinfandels.  Wilson offers pretty good wines (zins and syrahs are pretty good) but an outstanding view from the patio across the valley.

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Healdsburg nom noms

Fancy:

Madrona Manor: 1001 Westside Road, Healdsburg, CA(800) 258-4003madronamanor.com.  For a meal that’s an elaborate “event” (we went for my wife’s birthday and we were there I think for 3 hours) try Madrona Manor.  It’s on the more formal side and it’s quite pricey, but really a special experience.  The waiters are super friendly and knowledgeable, and while it’s formal it’s not stuffy. It deserves its Michelin star!

Our favorites on or very near Healdsburg Plaza

1) Scopa: 109 Plaza St #A, Healdsburg, CA 95448(707) 433-5282scopahealdsburg.com.  This is a very small, casual, very reasonably priced Italian restaurant on Healdsburg Plaza.  Reservations here are scarce and even if walk ins can be accommodated it’s usually with a wait measured in hours.  I’d highly recommend making a reservation here as soon as you can if any are available during your stay – they start taking reservations 1 month in advance.  On Wednesdays they have “Winemaker Wednesdays” where a local winemaker serves and talks their wine as part of the waitstaff.  I’m told this is a prerequisite to getting your wine on their wine list.  We’ve been several times and love this place.  The steak for 2 is absolutely unbelievable.  They also have a new second restaurant around the corner called Campo Fina – we haven’t been there yet but it may be easier to get into.  www.campo-fina.com

2) Baci Cafe & Wine Bar, 401 Center Street, Healdsburg, (707) 433-8111www.bacicafeandwinebar.com.  This is a family favorite for us. They serve delicious Italian food including wood fired pizzas, the service is very friendly, and they too have an excellent wine list (although you’ve probably perceived a theme in that regard!)

3) Barndiva: 231 Center Street, Healdsburg, (707) 431-0100barndiva.com.  This is a bit more formal than Scopa (it’s all relative in Healdsburg – the only really formal places we’ve been in Healdsburg are Madrona Manor and Cyrus which is now closed), with excellent, fresh food and an outstanding wine list.  Just a block or so off the Plaza.  We’ve been twice and really enjoy this place.  A bit quieter than Scopa as well.

4) Zin Restaurant and Wine Bar: 344 Center Street, Healdsburg, (707) 473-0946 , zinrestaurant.com.  Delicious food, excellent wine list. block off Plaza.

5) Dry Creek Kitchen: 317 Healdsburg Ave, Hotel Healdsburg, Healdsburg.  This restaurant always delivers. With its famous chef, Charlie Palmer, its food is beautifully plated and not surprisingly, the wine list fantastic.

We have been to Diavola pizza in Geyserville and enjoyed it, but a place we prefer is Rosso Pizzeria in Santa Rosa.  Other than the fact that it’s kind of in a strip mall, we love everything about this place.  Great pizza, superb wine list.   A good place to stop if you are south of Healdsburg http://www.rossopizzeria.com/

As for lunches, we’d highly recommend Jimtown Store in Alexander Valley on a day when you are tasting in that area.  It’s a great place to stop on a tour of Alexander Valley.  Another good stop when tasting in Dry Creek is the Dry Creek general store. Also I am totally addicted to the shrimp tacos at El Sombrero near the plaza.   Getting lunch from Oakville Grocery in the square can be an amazing picnic as well!

For breakfast, both the Downtown Creamery and Goat Hill Coffee are fabulous.