It’s safe to say I’ve fallen in love with Northern California wine country. Most of you may know that my husband, Rick, and I traveled to the Bay Area last month and spent the first few days of our trip in the adorable town of Healdsburg. I will now forever recommend this adorable spot, nestled into the Russian River Valley, as my top place to visit in wine country. I’ve been so excited to share my Healdsburg travel guide with you.
The quaint town has some seriously tasty spots for eating and tasting wine; the Russian River runs through, and on a sunny day you can spend the afternoon swimming or floating in it. The surrounding vineyards are straight out of a movie. Rick and I couldn’t get over how gorgeous the area is. We stayed at a darling hotel, right in the heart of the city square and just across the street from the local farmers market every weekend.
We met up with some of my girlfriends for the first day of our trip, Ashley of Two Peas in a Prada and Katie of Lola & Ivy, plus the amazing Shannon Righetti took photos for us. We essentially ate and drank our way through Healdsburg, which I have to admit, was quite the opposite of terrible. Our favorite part of Healdsburg: the lack of that touristy ‘vibe’. To explain, we all know Napa – it’s the place we first think of when we hear the words ‘wine country’, but in all honesty, I find it to be quite touristy and extremely busy. Healdsburg, just North of Napa Valley, is quaint yet vibrant at the same time, bursting with phenomenal vineyards plus stunning scenery and a noteworthy food and hospitality scene.We flew in and out of San Francisco International (SFO) and drove up to wine country in comfort, thanks to our friends at Genesis. We picked up the keys to a brand new Genesis G90 when we arrived in San Francisco and had the car for the duration of our trip. Rick nor I had been in one of these new cars before and we were seriously impressed. The two-hour drive we had up to Healdsburg went by so quickly in our G90 – it handled the highway and windy roads in wine country so nicely.
My favorite part in our Genesis G90: driving through the hills of wine country with the sunroof open, windows down, enjoying the fresh air and scenery with some great tunes on in the background. Rick and I both agreed we could drive all day without stopping!
So without further ado, here is the Adored by Alex Healdsburg travel guide. I hope you find it helpful when planning your next trip to wine country!
Places to Stay
Two Thirty-Five Luxury Suites // We called this darling hotel home for our three days in Healdsburg. This boutique hotel offers guests everything and more, beginning with their luxury three-bedroom suite accommodations. Each suite also features three full-sized bathrooms, a full-sized kitchen and living space, too. We stayed in the Fitch Mountain Suite overlooking historic downtown Healdsburg. It’s too hard to narrow down my favorite amenities the hotel offers to just one thing, so here are my top three: the phenomenal whirlpool tub; flat screen tvs in every room that raise up and down out of a chest; and something I’ve never seen at any other hotel I’ve stayed at – three different pillows to choose from based on your firmness preference. All hotels should take note of the pillow offerings, two major thumbs up! 235 Suites is just steps away from so many wonderful restaurants and tasting rooms within Healdsburg. I’m already plotting my return, whether it be for a birthday weekend trip or at the recommendation for a bachelorette party! Where to Eat
Amy’s Wicked Slush // After an afternoon spent wine tasting outside, we headed to Amy’s Wicked Slush for a sweet and refreshing treat. These slushes are delicious! The combo of super soft (almost like Hawaiian shaved ice) Italian ice over delicious soft serve is so yummy. I have a major sweet tooth and this hit the spot, perfectly. There are so many different flavors and combinations to try. I definitely dub this a must visit while in Healdsburg.
Bravas Bar de Tapas // Bravas hosted us for dinner our first evening in Healdsburg. The Tapas bar is absolutely darling and perfect for a family style meal. Quite honestly, I could live off a diet of Marcona Almonds and Burrata cheese, and Bravas dishes with these two items were delicious. We also tried a small paella, and while I’ve never found myself to be a huge paella eater, I actually really enjoyed theirs. Come ready to order a drink, their specialty cocktails are delicious and feature cheeky names like Livin’ On a Pear and Thai One On. Be sure to grab a reservation as the patio fills up quickly!
Campo Fina // Rick and I ate at Campo Fina on our second night in Healdsburg. It came highly recommended, but we weren’t able to get a reservation. We took a gamble and walked-in after visiting a tasting room and were seated immediately on their back patio. The wood burning pizza oven definitely gets your tastebuds going immediately! We split a pizza that was absolutely delicious, true to the traditional Italians. Also a great place to grab a drink with a group and play some Bocce ball on the back porch.
Flying Goat Coffee // Another highly recommended stop in Healdsburg. This local coffee shop had a really long line when I walked in, but was well worth the wait. I grabbed a simple latte with Soy Milk and a pastry. Both were delicious! There’s nothing like a great cup of coffee made with serious love.
Noble Folk // This darling ice cream and pie shop, nestled on the outskirts of the Healdsburg square had a line out the door the night we stopped in. Everything is made of local ingredients and so unique! Rick and I both opted for Lucky Charms flavored ice cream; it was delicious! Definitely another great spot to fulfill that sugar craving!
Healdsburg Farmers Market // If you find yourself in Healdsburg on Saturdays (May-November) or the first Wednesday of the month (June-October), then you have to head to the local farmers market. Basically I recommend farmers markets anywhere along the California coast as the produce is not only delicious but also gorgeous. Grab fresh ingredients to cook a meal in your kitchen at 235 Suites or some fresh flowers during your stay!
Healdsburg Veterans Memorial Beach // The Russian River runs right through Healdsburg! It’s an absolutely gorgeous sight and offers beach access if you want to cool off in the water or hangout with friends. Rent tubes to float in the water or go down the newly installed water slide. Once you’ve finished at the beach, walk across the street to Amy’s Wicked Slush for a sweet treat!
Tasting rooms // Downtown Healdsburg has tons of little tasting rooms that can be visited by foot. This is one of the things I loved about the city. We didn’t have to worry about a car and simply walked out of our hotel to the various tasting rooms. The La Crema tasting room is directly below 235 Suites. My favorite tasting room we visited was Portalupi. About a five minute walk from 235 Suites, it’s a local winery with rich family history and delicious wines. They sell from their tasting room and online, only! We loved the 2014 Zinfandel, Marcucci Farms so much, that we took a bottle home to enjoy with my dad and stepmom later in the week.
Water sports on the Russian River // If we had more time in Healdsburg we would’ve totally gone kayaking or done some stand up paddle boarding on the Russian River. There are a few outfitters that do water sports excursions. Highly recommended are River’s Edge and Russian River Adventures. We’ve added this to our bucket list for when we go back to Healdsburg!
Wineries // Can you really say you properly visited wine country if you didn’t visit a vineyard? Don’t worry, we visited plenty on our trip! Rick and I personally really enjoyed the lesser known wineries and vineyards, but there are plenty of big name vineyards to visit! I’ve mentioned this before, but Russian River Valley produces some of my favorite wines, so it was only ideal that Healdsburg is in the heart of the Russian River. Our first reservation was at MacRostie Winery & Vineyards. The drive up is so picturesque, it felt like we were in a movie. The wines were truly delicious and the view was breathtaking. Plus, Melissa our hostess was extremely knowledgable and entertaining during our tasting. We will definitely be back! I also highly recommend Arista Winery. While we were late for our reservation, we did get a chance to have a glass and enjoy the late afternoon on their beautiful grounds. I’ll definitely be back to get the full experience next time. Outside of Healdsburg, we did a tasting at Duckhorn Vineyards in Napa Valley. Again, the scenery was absolutely beautiful and the wines delicious. We loved sitting on the patio, enjoying the weather and chatting as well as wandering through the vineyards.
If you’re still with me, thank you! I hope you loved this guide as much as I loved putting it together! Do let me know in the comments if you’ve ever been to Healdsburg before, or if this guide might push you to planning a trip there soon. And because we all love a good video, here’s a little Adored by Alex travel diary of our trip to Healdsburg. Cheers!