More to do in Healdsburg
We couldn’t fit everything we wanted to share about Healdsburg into the pages of the May issue. Here are more places to stay, eat, and explore in this Wine Country hot spot.
To stay, to eat:
The 2001 opening of the sleek Hotel Healdsburg raised the town's profile with the luxury travel set. The hotel has 55 rooms and suites as well as a full-service spa, where you can spend the day getting a massage, body wrap, facial, or new Sour Cherry body scrub, then finish by swimming in or lounging by the shimmering 60-foot-long pool. Guests who feel a need to earn the right to indulge in an afternoon of fine wining and dining can start their day with a workout in the hotel's fitness center, which is scheduled to open this fall. 25 Matheson St., (707) 431-2800, www.hotelhealdsburg.com, $260-$790 per night.
For a luxury B&B experience, go to the Grape Leaf Inn, which is housed in an expanded 1900 Queen Anne mansion. Its 12 romantic rooms are decorated with antique furniture and pillowy beds. The friendly innkeepers, Richard and Kae Rosenberg, have developed a loyal following of regular Wine Country visitors. Richard brings in local winemakers to pour evening tastings for guests in the "speakeasy," a cellar whose entrance is hidden behind a bookshelf. He and Kae also whip up three-course gourmet breakfasts. 539 Johnson St., (707) 433-8140, www.grapeleafinn.com, $200-$395 per night.
Bistro Ralph’s narrow storefront space is usually packed with locals who are on a first-name basis with the servers. The restaurant serves upscale versions of home-style favorites, such as rib-eye steak, chicken paillard, and sautéed scallops. Its "plate of 1,000 fries" is a heap of delicately fried fingerling potatoes. Bistro Ralph pours only Healdsburg wines and mixes old-fashioned martinis. 109 Plaza St., (707) 433-1380, entrees $17–$29.
To see, to do:
Walking tours: One of the tours offered by Healdsburg Walking Tours takes you by historic homes on less-traveled streets. Another lets you take a walk with a local winemaker (707-484-6249, www.healdsburgwalkingtours.com). For a self-guided tour of historic homes, pick up a guidebook at Toyon Books on the plaza (104 Matheson St., 707-433-9270, www.toyonbooks.com) or at the Healdsburg Museum, 221 Matheson St., (707) 431-3325, www.healdsburgmuseum.org.
Boating: Several companies in and near Healdsburg rent canoes, kayaks, or rafts and arrange tours on the Russian River that last an afternoon, a day, or several days. These trips let you visit parts of the river you wouldn't see from the road, discover hidden beaches and watering holes, and even drift all the way out to the Pacific Ocean.
- River's Edge Kayak and Canoe Trips rents canoes and kayaks on an hourly, half day, full-day, or two-day basis. It also offers a "family" package that includes a box lunch; a "wine tour" package that includes a cooler of wine and a gourmet box lunch; and a two-day camping package that includes equipment. 13840 Old Redwood Hwy., Healdsburg, (800) 345-0869, www.riversedgekayakandcanoe.com.
- Russian River Adventures rents inflatable canoes or kayaks for an eight-mile trip that starts below the Memorial Beach Dam in Healdsburg and goes through the Russian River Valley and the redwoods to Wohler Bridge in Forestville. 20 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg, (707) 433-5599, www.soar1.com.
- Getaway Adventures arranges a combination of bike and boat tours to Alexander Valley wineries. 2228 Northpoint Pkwy., Santa Rosa, (800) 499-2453, www.getawayadventures.com.
- You can also rent a sailboat, motorboat, or canoe on Lake Sonoma, northwest of Healdsburg. Boat launching is provided at the public boat ramp at the west end of Warm Springs Bridge and at Yorty Creek Recreation Area off Hot Springs Road. You can also rent boats at the marina off Stewart’s Point Road. For information about boat rentals, call (707) 433-2200. For information about Lake Sonoma, call (707) 433-9483 or visit www.parks.sonoma.net/laktrls.html.
Bicycling: For maps of area trails, stop by the Healdsburg Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau at 217 Healdsburg Ave., (707) 433-6935, or go to www.healdsburg.com.
Sonoma County Farm Trails tour: Don't limit your tasting of local products to wine. You can also visit Sonoma County fruit and vegetable farmers and producers of artisan honey, cheese, beer, and baked goods. To find out more about participating farmers or to order a free farm trails map, call (800) 207-9464 or visit www.farmtrails.org.