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Editor and writer Lauren Parvizi

How to Spend an Ideal Day in Healdsburg

Posted by Lauren Parvizi on May 25, 2016
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  • Boutiques line the plaza in Healdsburg, California, picture
    Photo credit
    Photo: Courtesy of Dry Creek Inn
    Photo caption
    Healdsburg's tree-lined downtown exudes small-town charm, with a variety of boutiques and restaurants for visitors to patron.
  • The Healdsburg Plaza downtown, picture
    Photo credit
    Photo: Courtesy of Dry Creek Inn
    Photo caption
    Situated in the heart of downtown is the manicured Healdsburg Plaza.
  • The Villa Piazza at the Dry Creek Inn in Healdsburg, picture
    Photo credit
    Photo: Courtesy of Dry Creek Inn
    Photo caption
    The Dry Creek Inn is centrally located, just a five-minute drive from downtown Healdsburg and the Dry Creek Valley.
  • A room with a king bed in the Villa Toscana at the Dry Creek Inn, picture
    Photo credit
    Courtesy of Dry Creek Inn
    Photo caption
    A room at the Dry Creek Inn's Villa Toscana features a king bed, a gas fireplace, and a soaking tub.
  • Flying Goat Coffee in Healdsburg, picture
    Photo credit
    Photo: Lauren Parvizi
    Photo caption
    Downtown's Flying Goat Coffee is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike.
  • farro salad with speck ham at SHED in Healdsburg, picture
    Photo credit
    Photo: Lauren Parvizi
    Photo caption
    The farro verde salad with speck ham, heirloom beets, broccoli di cicco, bread crumbs and wild mustard at SHED.
  • The Dry Creek Valley sign in Sonoma County, picture
    Photo credit
    Courtesy of Wine Growers of Dry Creek Valley
    Photo caption
    The Dry Creek Valley, a short drive from downtown Healdsburg, is home to numerous wineries and tasting rooms.
  • Dry Creek Vineyard tasting room in Healdsburg, picture
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    Photo: Courtesy of Dry Creek Vineyard
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    Try the signature fume blancs and zinfandels at Dry Creek Vineyard's warm and welcoming tasting room.
  • The tasting room at Quivira in the Dry Creek Valley, picture
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    Photo: Courtesy of Quivira
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    After sampling the wines in Quivira's contemporary tasting room (pictured), wander the one-acre garden.
  • Exterior of Valette restaurant in Healdsburg, picture
    Photo credit
    Photo: Courtesy of Valette/Chris Hardy
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    Owned by two local brothers, Valette features a seasonally driven menu with unexpected flavor combinations.

In Healdsburg, Calif., wine country-chic meets backroads charm—and it’s a match made in weekend-getaway heaven.

My stay began with a restful night at the centrally located Best Western Dry Creek Inn, greeted by the hotel’s complimentary wine tasting. The next day, I made the five-minute drive downtown for a caffeine-boost at Flying Goat Coffee, where I watched locals and visitors alike linger over lattes and muffins (in both gluten-full and gluten-free varieties).

After fueling up, I wandered the manicured Plaza, the heart of the town since its incorporation in 1867. The town’s early days are evident in the facades of the surrounding buildings. Inside, stylish storefronts house contemporary boutiques, fine art galleries, hip tasting rooms, and inspired eateries.

Just off the Plaza I visited a more recent development, SHED, to shop curated food products and housewares before settling down to lunch. My order included a texturally inspired salad of chewy farro, speck ham, and crispy breadcrumbs tossed with sweet roasted beets, tender broccoli, and bright dollops of hot mustard.  

Ready to indulge my thirst, I made my way to the Dry Creek Valley, happy to find the landscape lush, covered in old oak trees and acres of neat, rolling vineyards. I savored the rich red fruits of the old vine zin at Dry Creek Vineyard and enjoyed a lesson in biodynamic farming at Quivira.

I wound down the day at Valette, opened last year by two brothers in the same space that once housed their great-grandfather’s bakery. The eclectic menu changes often and features unexpected combinations reminiscent of well-loved flavors. The night I dined, the house-made semolina pasta included fava bean tips, hummus and pancetta, reminding me of ham- and pea-studded mac and cheese. It was an appropriate sendoff in a town where old and new make a perfectly balanced pairing.

Watch the video to see more from Healdsburg's top eateries, including a bonus spot on the Plaza dishing up delicious pie: