Monday, October 24, 2011
Sunny Weekend in Healdsburg
In my ideal world I'd have an amazing weekend getaway planned every 2 or 3 weeks but in reality money, time and employment can be prohibitive and I happily settle for a mini adventure every few months. This past weekend we were able to sneak out of town to head up for a little Healdsburg getaway. Healdsburg is an incredibly charming town in wine country about an hour and 1/2 north of San Francisco. We wanted to save money and time by staying out of town for just one night so it was a perfectly short distance away while still far enough from the city to make us feel like we were truly on vacation. The sun was shining, the wine was great, the food amazing and our lodgings quite cozy. Here are the hot tips to plan your trip to Healdsburg!
What to Do:
The town: the town of Healdsburg is centered around a very cute little square and consists of lots of little book stores, restaurants and knick-knack shops. Things are expensive but it's very charming and fun to walk around and enjoy for a couple hours. Some highlights for us included:
Powells Sweet Shoppe -- Do you like candy? This place is LEGIT. Any candy store that plays Charlie and The Chocolate Factory on repeat with a child-size viewing area is cool with me.
Oh yeah, and if you need a half-pound gummy bear we got you covered...
HERE for hours and contact info
Bear Republic Brewery: In the middle of beautiful California wine country we somehow managed to find a brewery! Nic enjoyed the Lucha libre ale while I had a delicious draft pear cider.
Unti Vineyard: (Picture at top of this post) Once we finished lunch and walking around town for a while, Nic used Yelp to find a vineyard to go do a wine tasting. We stumbled upon Unti, a vineyard about 5 miles up the road with great reviews. Unlike many other vineyards, Unti requires an appointment for tastings but they were flexible and had free space that hour so we headed over shortly after calling. This is a small family owned vineyard and the wine was great. The tasting fee is $5 but waved when you buy a bottle. We ended up buying two - a Zinfandel and a Cuvee blanc! The owner was very knowledgeable and they have a nice but small picnic area outside if you wanted to bring your lunch and enjoy it with some wine.
Unti - 4202 Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg, CA 95448 – 707.433.5590
What to Eat:
Lunch: There are tons of restaurants in the area but I would recommend having a gourmet picnic at one of the many vineyards as you enjoy the view and your wine. Head over to the Dry Creek General Store for yummy gourmet sandwiches, baguettes, cheese, fruits and meats to create your perfect picnic. Most vineyards have picnic tables on site for you to set up shop. It's really not a bad way to spend an afternoon.
Scopa: In case you couldn't tell already, Nic and I LOVE a good meal and love to try new restaurants so when I say this was the best dinner I have had in California I am NOT messing around. Scopa is AMAZING!!! I had read fabulous reviews of this place on Yelp so I made a reservation about a month ago since I had heard it gets crazy busy. It was SOOO worth it. The food here is all local, organic and fresh and DAMN it was so good. We shared a couple of delicious appetizers and then Nic got a homemade pasta with a boar ragu and I got a bubbling cauldron of fallin-off-the-bone chicken attop some ridiculously awesome creamy polenta. I'll stop now, before I make you uncomfortable, but let's just say I loved my meal! The atmosphere is fun and a little crowded since it's a small and so busy but that worked perfectly for us. The whole meal with a glass of wine each, appetizers and entrees cost us less than $100 which is definitely on the affordable side of things compared to most fancy wine-country restaurants. PEOPLE -- you have GOT to try this place!
Scopa: 109A Plaza Street. 707.433.5282
Most hotels or B+Bs in Wine country are either ridiculously expensive or require a 2-night minimum. We really wanted to stay somewhere nice but did not want to spend $300 or stay for two nights. Thus we stumbled upon the Windrose Romantic Cottages just south of Healdsburg. For about $180 a night these little cottages come with small kitchenettes, outdoor grills, a living room with cable tv and breakfast. Ours also had a great little outdoor area with a large hot tub.
The kitchen was a little dated looking but had everything we needed if we actually wanted to cook a meal. For breakfast they had stocked it with some fruit, cereals, milk and then a waffle iron and batter to make two belgian waffles in their cute little waffle maker. Nice touch!
The owners were very nice and friendly and the cottage was clean and comfy with some cute details like a claw foot tub with bath salts and the works. We will definitely stay there again!
Here's our little living room...
Oh yeah, and they had an emu in the yard...
All in all it was a great weekend. If you're planning a trip to wine country anytime soon hit up Healdsburg and let me know what other hot spots you find!