You can absolutely visit the wine region without drinking wine – Here’s how

While wine country fame is, well, wine, that’s not the only reason to visit. Healdsburg, in particular, has a lot to offer for those who are not wine lovers or abstain from alcohol. Nestled where Alexander Valley, Dry Creek Valley, and Russian River Valley meet, the city of Sonoma County is bursting with warmth and charm, while offering the best restaurants, accommodations, and activities you would expect from a bargain. city.

“Healdsburg is a small town full of incredible artists, stewards and craftsmen inspired by the beauty that surrounds us,” says Alexander (A3L3XZAND3R) Harris, an artist who shares a gallery with his father MC (Marc Cabell) Harris . “The downtown area is home to some of the best restaurants, galleries and shops in the county, and most of the businesses are small and family-owned. Beyond that, having access to some of the best hiking, biking, running, fishing, and river and lake sports makes it easy to burn all the calories we indulge in.

In short? Think of Healdsburg as the ultimate escape from the stresses and pressures of everyday life, no matter where you live, what interests you, or what season.

Where to stay

Healdsburg Assembly

Newly opened this year, Montage Healdsburg is a luxury resort the area needs and deserves. With over 258 rolling acres dotted with oak trees and vineyards – the wine program is overseen by superstar Jesse Katz of Aperture Cellars – the property is truly pretty with calming views everywhere you turn.

The 130 rooms are bungalow style to ensure total privacy and furnished with natural and warm materials such as stone, copper and wood which recall the aesthetics of the wine region. Spectacular floor-to-ceiling windows lend an airy feel inside and out, while the private patio with fireplace provides a quiet place to start or end the day.

The fitness center is immaculate and well-maintained with four Peloton bikes and overlooks the infinity pool – perfect for a post-workout swim. And the adjacent spa, which has quickly established itself as Healdsburg’s best, is a serene retreat combining holistic treatments (like the Harvest Honey Ginger Infusion Ritual made from local honey) with cutting-edge facials incorporating the Swiss line. . of Valmont skin care.

And at Hazel Hill, the resort’s all-day dining restaurant, Chef Jason Pringle and his team cook artful yet accessible cuisine that showcases the rich bounty of the wine country in an open, interactive kitchen. (The black cod with seafood and Normandy sauce is particularly sublime.)

Harmon guest house

The team’s third property behind Healdsburg and h2Hotel, Harmon Guest House is conveniently located near Town Square and within walking distance of most of Healdsburg’s major attractions. With just 39 rooms topped with hand-woven Treko bedspreads, quilted headboards, and Peace Industry rugs, the LEED-certified boutique property adopts an intimate, residential vibe. While there is no gym or restaurant on-site, guests do enjoy free valet parking and breakfast at the nearby Spoonbar restaurant. When the weather permits, the hotel’s rooftop is the ideal place with a view of the city center and the surrounding hills.

What to do

The Harris Gallery

Founded in 2001 and occupying the historic Plaza Arts Building (a mainstay of the local community, literally and figuratively), the Harris Gallery is a true family affair. More often than not, you will be greeted by Peggy (MC’s wife) or Leah (A3L3XZAND3R’s wife) at your entrance and offered a glass of their namesake wine adorned with labels featuring original works by MC and A3L3XZAND3R.

The space itself is equally inviting, with plenty of outdoor spaces (like an open-air lounge and private cabanas with Hermès blankets and Louis Ghost chairs) for safe socializing. Inside and on two floors, you’ll get a clear idea of ​​the history of the structure – many original details have been carefully preserved – and the distinct styles of the two artists. MC describes his works as “abstract modernist, cubist and expressionist, while A3L3XZAND3R’s approach, in his own words, appeals to” a wide range of classical impressionism to abstract minimalist. I express and interpret all modalities of subjects (figurative, still life, landscapes) purely from my mind or directly from life itself.

The Healdsburg spa hotel

Here’s proof that some of the best things come in small packages. Discreetly hidden away in the Healdsburg hotel, this spa gem with just six treatment rooms may not have the perks of a larger facility (like a steam room and sauna), but has a panoramic swimming pool surrounded by fig trees and olive trees. As for the experience, think of the Meyer lemon massage. During the sixty-minute session, your therapist will work even the most tense muscles and knots with a delicately scented whipped body cream with Meyer lemon and sage essential oils that you can take home with you afterwards.

Where to eat and drink

Asahi Ramen & Izakaya and Asahi Sushi & Cuisine

Tokyo-born chef Nobuyuki Asahi didn’t open one, but two restaurants in town last year. The first, Asahi Ramen & Izakaya at Healdsburg Vineyard Plaza, specializes in comforting ramen and snacks like gyoza, yakitori, and tempura, while exceptional, pristine sushi is the specialty of Asahi Sushi & Kitchen in Healdsburg Downtown. . Square.

Your best bet? Sit at the counter and order the omakase for the freshest fish of the day. No matter where you choose to dine, Asahi’s goal is simple: “I want everyone in our restaurants to be happy. (And if you’re really lucky, he’ll even drink sake or beer with you.)

Black Oak Coffee Roasters

Despite opening during the pandemic on April 21, Black Oak Coffee Roasters – this is the original’s sister location in Ukiah – quickly became Healdburg’s premier place for coffee, baked goods, and a quick meal. But whether you decide to sip latte or lavender espresso, you’re guaranteed an exceptionally smooth drink from the award-winning beans of Black Oak. The main course menu is also delicious with toast topped with cashew butter and fig jam, eggplant banh mis and krispy s’mores rice treats.


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