Healdsburg turned into one of my favorite places after visiting Madrona Manor earlier this year. So you can imagine my excitement when I got the chance to revisit in December. What made it even more special was that holiday decorating was in full-force, making the town of Healdsburg all that more magical.
It’s about an hour and 30 minutes north of San Francisco, right in the middle of beautiful Dry Creek Valley. My favorite way to get there is by way of what I like to call the ‘scenic route’:
- From San Francisco, take 101 North past Santa Rosa
- Take exit 494 and turn left on Mark West Springs Road (or River Road) at the stop sign
- Turn right on Wohler Road. This will wind back until you get to Wohler Bridge, which takes you over the Russian River.
- Once you cross the old bridge, take a right onto Westside Road.
- Stay on Westside Road until you get into the city of Healdsburg.
I take this way because it has pretty back roads that wind through Dry Creek Valley and you’ll go by a ton of different vineyards along the way. If you want to extend the adventure, explore W Dry Creek Road (off of Westside Road) for so more scenic driving.
THINGS TO DO
First and foremost, once you know your travel dates into Healdsburg, make sure to take a look at their calendar of events to see what’s happening during your visit.
And that’s exactly why I love Healdsburg so much. There’s so much to do right in the city limits. This includes…
WINE TASTINGS: You not only have the famous Wine Road nearby, but you also have a ton of places near the town square where you can try all kinds of wines. In fact, there are over 20 wine tasting rooms near Healdsburg Plaza.
I had a few free tastings passings, so I also drove out to a few vineyards nearby, including Truett Hurst and Kokomo Winery.
- Truett Hurst has a great outdoor patio as well as group seating right along Dry Creek. When I visited during December, there were salmon spawning in the creek, which was kind of cool.
- Kokomo Winery is a small winery, but with a big personality. What I especially loved was that the staff are incredibly friendly. The majority of my tasting was spent chatting with them, as they gave me info about their wines, as well as other places to check out in Healdsburg. They also gave me a quick tour of their backroom and a quick sip of rosé straight from the tanks.
By the way, there’s something about wine country in the fall. <3
BIKING AROUND: A great way to explore the city and the surrounding is by bicycle. Just head over to Wine Country Bikes to schedule and pick up your rentals.
Head to the Healdsburg Plaza to get right into the heart of the city. After exploring the park, just walk around the city square and see what sparks your fancy. There are coffee shops, art galleries, boutiques, and more!
PLACES TO STAY
There are some great options if you want to stay in Healdsburg. My pick was Camellia Inn, just a few blocks from the town square.
Getting its name from the 50 varieties of camellias that are located on the property, the inn was originally built in 1871 as a home (and a small hospital). Today, it’s a family business, being run by the Lewand family since 1981 (over 35 years!). In fact, their daughter, Lucy, will be your host during your stay at the inn.
She’ll not only give you more background about the history of Camellia Inn, but she has great recommendations for places to eat and check out in the city.
During my stay, the inn was decorated for Christmas, which was such a lovely experience. The living room has a 12-foot tall Christmas tree and two antique fireplaces with decorated mantels. The attached dining room was also decorated and included a hot cocoa bar. Yes, please!
The rooms are quite lovely as well. They’re a combination of old world charm and modern amenities.
For example, the beds and the dressers will bring you back in time, while the nightstands hold an iPad for your use and a small coffee bar with a brewer to get you going in the morning.
My room also had a large soaking tub. And if you’ve been reading my blog, you know how much I love a large soaking tub.
Other things I loved about Camilla Inn:
- The villa-style swimming pool that would be great to enjoy on hot summer days.
- An overgrown lily-pad pond that I was kind of obsessed with.
- Cheese, crackers, wine, and other appetizers served in the evening.
- A yummy breakfast in the morning that includes coffee, orange juice, and tea.
- The gas fireplaces in each room to keep you warm and cozy at night.
WHERE TO EAT
Healdsburg is turning into a place were chefs and restaurateur are setting up shop, so you’ll have a ton of options right in town.
During my stay, I had lunch at Willi’s Seafood + Raw Bar (so good!). And for dinner, I went over to Campo Fino for some small bites (and an outdoor patio).
A few locals that I chatted with also recommended SHED (for the experience), Barndiva, and Bravas. Or sign-up for a Savor Healdsburg Food Tour.
Healdsburg and Dry Creek Valley have very quickly turned into one of my favorite places to explore and bring friends to. It’s just a lovely little part of the world, a bit more relaxed when compared to Napa and Sonoma.
I had such a lovely weekend during my stay, and Camellia Inn definitely helped out to the much-needed R+R that I was looking for. Thanks so much for having me!
Let’s go places,
All photos on this blog are mine. Feel free to share but please credit me with a link back to the blog. Much appreciated and thank you for your support!
I have collaborated with Camellia Inn for this post. All opinions are mine.
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