Alex and I have been living in Healdsburg for the last nine months and while it is neither one of our hometowns we feel like we belong here. This small town is just north of San Francisco and located in the heart of wine country. There are many ways to have a perfect day here but this is just our favorite.
Breakfast at Costeaux
Costeaux is the breakfast place in town. It a French bakery and cafe and the best part is they serve breakfast all day. I am and always will be a late riser and breakfast all day is a godsend plus if I am feeling indulgent I can always just eat macarons for breakfast 🙂 Costeaux has large open seating inside with a few communal tables which are always packed and a smaller outdoor patio which is perfect for people watching.
After indulging in a huge breakfast it is always nice to take advantage of all the outdoor activities available in the area from hiking Mt. St. Helena or a nice kayaking trip down either Lake Sonoma or the Russian River. While we may be having a drought in California there is still enough water to take advantage of a great kayaking trip down the river. There are many different companies that you can rent your kayaks from but my favorite is River’s Edge because they are located at the end of town and you can walk there. They will pick you up from here and drop you off up river. You can spend a leisurely morning kayaking down the river and soaking in the scenery.
After a morning of kayaking it is definitely time to eat again. Willi’s Wine Bar is the perfect spot for an afternoon lunch. Willi’s specializes in small plates and fresh oysters. Their fish tacos are to die for and do not miss their chorizo queso dip with fritos. They also have a great local wine list as well which will set you up perfectly for an afternoon of wine tasting.
Healdsburg is really all about wine so you do not want to miss out on wine tasting while you are here. Downtown Healdsburg has tasting rooms all over the square so you will be hard pressed to find one you don’t like. Our favorites however are Williamson Wines and Cartograph Wines. Williamson Wines specializes in food and wine pairings and their tastings are always paired with cheeses. Also their tasting is always free! You cannot beat that. Cartograph is on the opposite end of the square and has amazing dry riesling and gewurztraminer on tap. We also are addicted to their use of maps and constellations in their designs.
I would recommend a late dinner reservations so you have time for some pre-dinner cocktails at Spoonbar. Spoonbar is the best cocktail bar in town. If you are interested in learning about the expansive world of spirits this is the place to come. The spirits list is more of a novel and there is no where else in town you can get cocktails that rival any bar in San Francisco. My personal favorite is the Pisco Sour and Alex always goes for a classic Bombay Sapphire Martini. If it is a beautiful summer evening I would suggest one of their amazing mai tais as well.
The best place for a casual and fun dinner is Baci. Baci is the best Italian restaurant we have come across since we moved back from Rome. It has all the classic Italian dishes I love like gnocchi bolognese and bucatina amatricana plus it has some inventive dishes like the burrata with sauteed leeks and sun dried tomatoes. Baci’s atmosphere is always so warm and opening and it is a great restaurant to sit and have a few bottles of wine with friends and a great meal.
While Baci has amazing dessert we just had an fantastically awesome ice cream and pie shop open up in town called Noble Folk. The ice cream and pie menus change seasonally and yes you can get just a slice of pie or get it al la mode. Currently they have roasted pumpkin ice cream, apple cider cinnamon ice cream and of course they have roasted pumpkin pie although I am dying to try almond blackberry blueberry.
After Dinner Drinks
If you still have room for more at this point (this is a perfect day after all so obviously you are allowed to have a bottomless stomach) the best way to end your evening in Healdsburg is to get an after dinner drink at Bergamot Alley. Bergamot Alley is the best place to schmooze with the locals and try some incredibly funky wines. For a city inundated with wine it can be difficult to stand out but Bergamot always does, perhaps it is because they serve only old world wine. And not just French and Italian wine but Hungarian and Croatian as well. If you are looking for interesting wine than this is the place to go, plus they have sake, champagne, local beers and grilled cheese!
So there you have a perfect day in Healdsburg; I think we managed to fit all of our favorite places. If you manage to do all this you cannot have a bad day in the best little small town in wine country.
Meet Ashley and Alex
Ashley and Alex are passionate travelers, foodies and boozies who travel to get to know the culture of a place. Visit their blog or find them on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to follow their adventures around the world.