While a day trip to Sonoma will give you a small taste of what the region has to offer, but to truly immerse yourself in the most delicious and rewarding of ways, a long weekend in Healdsburg, a luxe enclave of a town in the county of Sonoma, is exactly what will satisfy your wine-loving, wanderlusting ways. The only risk you run vacationing here is you’ll never want to leave this little gem of a town.
For a budget-friendly spot to stay (translation: more money to spend on wine), the Best Western Dry Creek Inn—with its sweet outdoor pool—has resort feel and it’s conveniently located for all of the vineyard hopping you have planned and it’s minutes from town. Skip the uninspired complimentary breakfast, though, as there’s plenty of gourmet fare to start your day in the county.
The first order of business when in wine country is, naturally, to discover and enjoy some incredible wines. Score yourself a spot (keep your eyes peeled for dates on their website) on a hike at Jordan Winery, which starts at the highest point of the winery, which gives you a 360-degree view of the stunning fields of rolling hills. The hike itself is easy but keep in mind you’ll have the sun beating down on you as you stroll and learn about the history of the vineyard and walk through the gorgeous rows of grapevines. Midway, enjoy an olive oil tasting by the lake, but save room for the huge spread of cheese and charcuterie enjoyed on a terrace that’ll feel like you’ve escaped to France. Stop into Dry Creek Winery to discover the first winery in the area since Prohibition; it was also the first to plant sauvignon blanc here and the parcel of land was initially purchased for a mere $1,000.
Perfect your skills in the kitchen by making a new dish and we swear it’ll make your dinner all that more enjoyable when you book a class at Relish Culinary Adventures. After all, won’t you be impressed with yourself for making a delectable dish such as beef-ricotta meatballs with parmesan sauce? For a gourmet lunch you can grab and go, stop into Dry Creek General Store, for gourmet sandwiches made with crusty, chewy fresh bread (go for the curried chicken salad, which is seasoned just right) and oversized cookies you’ll swear you can’t possibly finish (but they’re so good you will). Traditional Portuguese flavours in dishes such as boquerones and pork tenderloin recheado (which features an olive, fig and almond stuffing) at the family-owned Café Lucia will be a nice departure if you’ve been mostly dining on more classically Californian cuisine.
With glass after glass (or bottle after bottle) of wine and gourmet meals that have you feeling like a glutton in the best way, you’ll be eager to burn off a sip or two worth of wine by getting those legs pumping. Fit it into your schedule by doing your wine tour by bike with Wine Country Bikes. You’ll be able to enjoy tastings at several wineries while also learning the history of the area.
Pop into the petite Hand Fan Museum, the first museum in the States devoted to hand fans and perused the curated collection (there are also some for sale, should you be looking for a souvenir other than wine). Score handmade international finds such as cozy throw blankets at One World Fair Trade store (where your better half might need some time to peruse the boho-chic accessories for herself from far flung destinations such as Kenya). For your designer gardening tool needs, handsome cookery tools or gourmet provisions (or grab a seat at the Cafe for some seriously tasty and almost too beautiful to eat salads), a visit to Shed is a non-negotiable when in Healdsburg. There’s a real feel-good factor you’ll notice upon entering the award-winning airy space, likely thanks to its mission being rooted in their commitment to the virtues of farming.