Wine Country Weekend in Healdsburg, California Sonoma County

Having heard many wine  and wine-country loving friends proclaim the superiority of Sonoma over Napa Valley, and having previously visited the later twice, it was time to finally check out Sonoma County.  So glad we did.  Sonoma is oh-so-different from the Napa region.  I love them both. But, I must declare Healdsburg my favorite wine country region so far. What’s so great about Healdsburg?  Let me count the (Top 5) ways:

Ways Healdsburg is awesome #1:

The H2Hotel.  An amazing, hip, modern, property at a price that is a bargain for this level of goodness.  Finding a gem like this – luxury and quality that doesn’t suck up your entire budget – is one of the things that excites me about travel.  It is like finding a pair of  new Jimmy Choos at a yard sale.

H2 Hotel Healdsburg








H2 also has a fabulous trendy restaurant, Spoonbar, with the most creative cocktails you’ve ever heard of.  Or tasted.  Included in your stay is an impressive continental breakfast, which, when we were there, included hard-boiled eggs, a large selection of pastries muffins and breads (regular and gluten free) yogurt with granola, frittata of the day, fresh fruit, juices and milk.   Oh and REALLY great locally roasted coffee  (Flying Goat Coffee?  You know you’ll love it with a name like that.)  To-go cups were a thoughtful touch, too.

The hotel is very proud of its rooftop garden, which includes a very loud bird who clearly enjoyed the lovely rooftop greenery… All.  Night.  Long. (My only complaint about our stay at the lovely H2).

#2 reason Healdsburg is awesome:

A culinary wonderland within walking distance.  And walking is a good idea after all that wine.  There are your fancy schmancyist restaurants like Cyrus and Dry Creek Kitchen.  There are fun and hip places like Barndiva (great for brunch) and the delicious Willi’s Seafood and Raw Bar, which was more our speed one evening, were we sat at the bar next to a couple who owned a small area winery, which made for an interesting chat.  Our super cool bartender made a very good impression by providing me a sample of a red pepper lime cocktail creation he was currently mixing.

Bovolo's pleasant outdoor dining patio

However, without doubt, the most unique of the establishments we explored was Bovolo.  My husband, Ian, is a meat fan-a-tic.  When we read that they made their own “Black Pig Bacon” and salumi and that the restaurant was in the back of a bookstore (have you ever heard of that before?) , we needed to eat here.  Which we did.  Yum. If you are not a vegetarian, go here.

Ahhh…. So many restaurants, so little time.  It was a tragedy to miss so many highly rated restaurants.  One simply cannot eat that much in one weekend.  But hey… a fantastic reason to go back.

One other thing: Can’t forget to mention, that the best margarita in town is just across the street from the H2 is an upscale Mexican place (I love upscale Mexican!) called Mateo’s.  Blood Orange Margarita. Perfectly tart and not too sweet.  A refreshing break from a full day of wine consumption, which I’ll get to in my next post.


Awesome thing about Healdsburg #3:

Tasting rooms of all sizes are scattered all over picturesque Healdsburg


Speaking of walking, Healdsburg is a picture perfect town for strolling about.  There is something so relaxing about a small yet sophisticated town where you can eat, sleep, have a tasty beverage (or two), and browse cute boutiques with no need for a car.  During your stroll, it would be a shame not to pop into several of the many tasting rooms you’ll pass along the way.

Here is a fun virtual walking tour of downtown Healdsburg highlighting some of the tasting rooms in town by Tracy Logan of Wine Road Northern Sonoma County.



#4 reason to visit Healdsburg: 

Bella Wine Caves in Dry Creek

Healdsburg is located smack dab between two world renown wine regions, Dry Creek and Russian River Valleys.  You can sample both!  Driving along (or better yet having someone else drive you) the picturesque, curvy roads, past plethoras of small, family-owned wineries is a far cry from the opulent tasting rooms that permeate Napa Valley.  I’ll fill you in on our favorite wineries in my next post.

Finally, the #5 Reason Healdsburg is awesome:  Should you decide you need a break from wine tasting and perhaps some exercise before a full night of dining, there are many active pursuits in the area.  Rafting down the Russian River, for  example.  Healdsburg is surrounded by miles of hiking trails. Biking is popular in the area. H2 even has bikes you can borrow and suggested itineraries to follow taking you by coffee shops, eateries and wineries, of course.

So, there’s my Top 5 Healdsburg awesomenesses.  Can’t wait to go back and find 5 more. Thoughts? Would love to hear your comments!

Oh. Two more things:

1) Healdsburg Modern Cottages looks like another cool place to stay:    See what I mean?  Maybe next time…
2)  The town is pronounced “Heeeeeeldsburg.” Took us awhile to figure that out.

Read more about Healdsburg Here:

I love this trip report from Dan and Marcela’s Blog.  Great photographs of the H2 (they loved it too!) and a nice description of lunch at Barndiva.  Makes me wish I was back there…

LA Times

36 hours in Healdsburg NY Times



  1. I too am a HUGE fan of Healdsburg! I stayed in Kenwood once, and after visiting Healdsburg, I’ll never go anywhere else!! I love the Bella Villa Messina B&B! Just awesome!!

    • Hi Amy! Thanks for the rec re: Bella Villa Messina. It looks beautiful. Love checking out new places, even if only virtually….

      • Healdsburg is my FAVORITE place in the world. I’m going in two weekends! I love love love the wine taitnsg there, the atmosphere, everything about it. Bella is awesome, as is J! Oh you’re making me so excited. I’ve never eaten at Healsburg Hotel nor stayed there. Time to venture there, I guess. Sonoma County has Barrel Tasting coming up next weekend and the weekend after- you should go. $30, 3 days, and all you can drink at about 150 wineries. It’s awesome.

  2. My list is sooo long cuz I always go there but Ferrari Carano (reserve room dotnswairs is really good), Gloria Ferrer, Hess, Seghesio (they have a zin that’s #1 on wine spectator), J (if u like bubbles), Francis Ford Coppola, Merry Edwards has great pinot noirs, if ur in napa I have a list 2;) Napa-Jordan, jocelyn, Hess, Rombauer, Duckhorn ,Rafanelli,Flora Springs (Trilogy is amazing), I could go on but I gotta think! 2 many faves;)

  3. Lancaster, Chalk Hill, and Lambert Bridge all have amazing wines. PIcnic at Dutcher Crossing.
    Great meals at Zin, Madrona Manor, and Barndiva!!!

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