Healdsburg In The Spotlight

Email to a friend

Your friend's e-mail:
Your Name:
Your e-mail:
  • Email
  • Print
  • PDF
  • Save
  • RSS
  • Font Size

Home / Healdsburg In The Spotlight

Town of Healdsburg

Healdsburg, the gateway to much of Sonoma’s wine country, is one of the most exciting towns in the region. Once a sleepy hamlet, Healdsburg is now a vibrant and charming destination with a European-style ambiance and home to 2-Star restaurants, culinary trendsetters and the heavyweights of the wine world.

Traditions and Trends

Fueled by its central location to the great wines of the region, Healdsburg has attracted a treasure trove of new galleries, boutiques, markets and restaurants that exist alongside endearing traditions such as Powell’s Sweet Shoppe or the Love Farm produce store. The tree-shaded Plaza plays host to weekly Farmer’s Markets and performances by musicians like Shana Morrison, daughter of Van Morrison, and a bevy of others. Take a Farmers Market Tour and demonstration class from Relish Culinary Center that includes picking out ingredients at the Market and lunch at the Center.

The First Friday Art Walk takes you to galleries like Spirits in Stone, the Erickson Gallery and Hammerfriar with receptions for local and internationally known artists. Seasonal events like the Healdsburg Jazz Festival bring legendary performers like Cedar Walton, Charlie Haden, Billy Hart, Joshua Redmond, Pete Escovedo and Eddie Palmieri to town for a week of non-stop music.

A Booming Culinary Scene

The Plaza and its branching streets offer a dizzying selection of restaurants, cafes and tasting rooms. At the pinnacle of these are Cyrus, the 2-Star culinary shrine of Douglas Keane and Nick Peyton that is rivaling The French Laundry’s reputation, and Dry Creek Kitchen, the west coast creation of Charlie Palmer, whose Aureole Restaurant in New York City is widely acclaimed. Peyton and Keane recently opened a new casual dining spot, The Healdsburg Bar and Grill, with informal décor and a bocce ball court outside.

Following the move to the more casual, yet haute fare is the new Scopa, with rustic Italian food from Ari Rosen, former Santi chef. The trendy and swank Willi’s Seafood & Raw Bar exudes an urban vibe and is a popular gathering spot and BarnDiva attracts the upscale, Gen X crowd. The grand dame on the hill, Madrona Manor, serves elegant, candle-lit dinners in a sumptuous setting that has won it a Michelin star. Visitors can stroll the extensive organic kitchen gardens that supplies fresh produce for their meals.

Well-known landmarks such as the Oakville Grocery and the wonderfully quirky Jimtown Store have opened West county outposts on the Plaza, offering a plethora of handmade foodstuffs, charcuterie, artisan breads and cheeses and sandwiches to go. And don’t miss Bovolo, a salumeria, pizzeria, enoteca and gelateria that is a paean to Slow Food from chefs John Stewart and Duskie Estes of Zazu fame, or The Cheese Shop, which carries chocolates from heritage varietals of cocoa, artisanal cheeses, wines, traditional South American condiments and rare spices.

Try a Tasting

To help you decide which wineries to visit, sample some wines at the tasting rooms in and around the Plaza that include: La Crema, Rosenblum, Thumbprint Cellars, Kendall-Jackson, Huntington Wine Cellars & Art Gallery, Pezzi King, Toad Hollow, Lake Sonoma, Mayo, Sunce, Gallo, Chateau Felice and Longboard Vineyards ­– which transforms into a local’s hangout after 5 p.m.

The Gateway to Wine Country

Surrounding wineries stretch North to appellations Alexander Valley, Dry Creek and Rockpile and West to Russian River Valley and Green Valley and East to Chalk Hill. Nearly 200 wineries produce creamy Chardonnays, lusty Cabernets, refined Pinot Noirs, zesty Zinfandels and a range of other varietals.

A smattering of insider favorites include award-winning wineries like Lancaster Estate, Chalk Hill, Gary Farrell, Richoloi, Merry Edwards, Dry Creek, Raffenelli, Pezzi King, Papapietro Raymond Burr Vineyards, Seghesio, Jordan, J Winery, Alexander Valley…Francis Ford Coppola’s Russo and Bianco, Robert Young, Stryker Sonoma, Family Wineries Tasting Room and Martinelli.

Meander to the Coast

It’s an easy drive to the unspoiled river and coastal communities, and in nearby Russian River the meandering road that follows the river takes you beneath some of the oldest redwood groves in the West. At Armstrong Park in Gurneville you can stand in the fragrant silence, shaded by 1,500-year-old trees rising over 350-feet into the air. Stop for a game of golf at Northwood Golf Course, designed in 1928 by Dr. Alister MacKenzie. The natural contoured fairways and undulating greens in a magnificent wooded setting are a golfer’s dream. Or decide, just as the original inhabitants of the area did, to get out on the river in a canoe or kayak and paddle downstream over gentle rapids and past wide beaches.

Like the early settlers, make your way to the edge of the continent and put your feet in the sand on the beach at Jenner or find a vantage point on the winding coastline to marvel at the unlimited horizon and the blue Pacific Ocean. These experiences and others you’ll discover on your own are the true treasures you will take with you.

Things To Do

The Hand Fan Museum of Healdsburg
Located in Hotel Healdsburg, The Hand Fan Museum brings cultural and artistic history from around the world to Northern California. The museum is a jewel box-small in size but not in purpose. It is the first museum in the U.S. dedicated solely to hand fans and displays a permanent collection, as well as a rotating exhibit, that tell, often in beguiling detail, the stories of the cultures and individuals who used them. This endeavor is both educational and fun.

327-A Healdsburg Avenue, Healdsburg

Farmer’s Market at The Plaza
Late Spring to Late Fall, Tuesdays and Saturdays.
The Healdsburg Farmer’s Market is brimming with incredible edible delights. Meet the growers, bakers and cheesemakers who produce the artisan products on sale at the market. On Tuesday evenings locals and savvy visitors gather for music and picnics following the farmer’s market. The tree-shaded Plaza plays host to performances by musicians like Shana Morrison, daughter of Van Morrison and other Bay Area talent.

Historical Walking Tour of Healdsburg
Visit the Healdsburg Museum to find out about the self-guided walking tours that feature highlights of local architecture and history of various old homes. The museum also offers guided tours with trained docents. Tours can be geared towards specific groups and interests. All ages are encouraged. Call ahead to schedule a guided tour.

The Healdsburg Museum was founded to house the historical collections donated to the City starting in the 1950s and is located in the Healdsburg Carnegie Library building which dates from 1910; a beloved local landmark now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

221 Matheson Street, Healdsburg



Check back soon for upcoming events!