Tucked along the banks of the scenic Russian River is Healdsburg, California, perhaps Sonoma County’s best-kept secret. This country chic haven is noted for its warmth and friendly residents. It is also acclaimed for the climate and its proximity to some of the area’s most notable wineries and agricultural treasures. Small town charm and big city amenities abound. Healdsburg, “sits smack in the middle of three unique wine-growing regions”, and is “better known in some circles for its eating and its ideal convergence of locavore sensibilities with Michelin Guide standards.” (Los Angeles Times, July 2010) Artisan cheeses, fresh pressed olive oils, homemade jams, rustic European style breads, amazing charcuterie, and organic produce, are some of the plentiful raw ingredients that lend magic to the area’s restaurants and specialty food shops.
The Healdsburg area is also home to Lake Sonoma which offers boating, hiking, camping, and more. A visit to town is all it takes to set up a canoe or kayaking trip on the Russian River. Biking is another great way to experience the tranquil country roads and the rolling hillsides, and bike rental and day trips are easily arranged. For a scenic drive through hillside vineyards, head west as you leave town on Dry Creek Road. Circle back when you hit Lake Sonoma, and return via Yoakim Bridge Road, which will eventually merge with the West Dry Creek Road. There you will encounter a smattering of small family owned wineries that are off the beaten path. (Travel & Leisure, July 2006) This is magical country for sure, whether you are ballooning through the valley or dining on a meal comprised of locally grown foods.