Wine country getaways are always a good idea, so when I decided to celebrate my 25th birthday in Healdsburg, you can bet I was anxious and excited to stroll the square, sip on a variety of wines and experience the culinary goodness that is Sonoma's farm to table movement. We headed north around 11am from San Francisco and were happily checked into our amazing hotel and sipping wine by 1pm. From an urban city to a suburban oasis of easy parking, warm temperatures and a guaranteed good time, Healdsburg is the absolute perfect day trip or weekend getaway from San Francisco. Presented to you here, is your modern guide to Healdsburg.
During our stay, we called h2Hotel Healdsburg our home away from home for the night and let me tell you, this may have been my most favorite hotel I have ever stayed at. It is centrally located and every tasting room, restaurant and boutique are in walking distance. This is super necessary if you plan on to indulge in a glass or two of wine. H2Hotel offers bike rentals free of charge for three hours if that's more your thing, you can ride around the plaza in these crisp white cruisers. This eco-chic hotel is one of kind and the living roof, vibrant lobby, exceptional staff and perfectly designed guest rooms all combine to create this dream hotel. Curious of the other features that make this hotel sustainable? Click here to read more about their passion to go green!
When we got to our room, the sun was lighting up the beautiful wood details in the room and I instantly felt right at home. And then of course, the bathroom was just beautiful. Seriously that shower? Could it get any better? Well yes, it can. Every single room (36 total) at H2Hotel has either a patio or a balcony to enjoy a pre-dinner glass of wine or act as a perfectly space to read a book in the early morning. Our king size bed was super comfortable and it was obvious that the bedding was high quality. Hallelujah! The bamboo flooring pairs perfectly with the eco feel of the entire room and hotel as well. There is something about a well designed aesthetic to a hotel room that can completely change the vibe of a trip. We unfortunately didn't get a chance to use the solar heated pool because the following day was much cooler, but it appeared fabulous from what I saw. Without a doubt, this is my go to hotel in Healdsburg.
The hotel restaurant and bar, Spoonbar is just another added bonus to the modern design and culinary expertise of Sonoma county. Vibrant cocktails garnished with edible flowers, a delicious and inventive dinner menu, bright accent pieces and the open floor plan makes Spoonbar super cute! The evening we stayed at h2Hotel, there was a special St. Patrick's Day event taking place and one of the bartenders from The Buena Vista Cafe was there serving up Irish Coffees. It was an obvious choice that we had to stick to our San Francisco nature and have a few before dinner, especially because all proceeds went to charity.
"Some of the most satisfying and modern food in Sonoma County” --San Francisco Chronicle
While there are many tasting rooms around the town square and of course several wineries within driving distance of downtown Healdsburg, you must save time for Banshee Wines. The instant I walked into this tasting room it was as if I entered my dream apartment with enough wine, natural light and colorful, modern decorations to feel right at home. From bright pillows, to stand out rugs, amazing accent furniture pieces and a light fixture to perfectly balance it all out, this is the place you'll want to stay a while.
When we sat down in the two large chairs the staff refers to as "the honeymoon suite" we swirled, smelt, and sipped their curated wine tasting flight. Beginning with a crisp Rose and finishing with a variety of Pinot Niors, Banshee Wines was definitely among my favorites of wines too. We purchased a bottle of their Chardonnay and enjoyed it before heading to dinner that evening. The ladies who worked in the tasting room that day made the experience very special with their knowledge of wines and down to earth personalities. Banshee Wines is definitely a must stop!
Another great spot to grab lunch, baked goods or even just wine and dessert is Costeaux Bakery and Cafe. We stopped here and had a great meal and because it was my birthday, they generously brought me a slice of a St. Patrick's Day version of their Princess cake with a pink candle. How sweet right?! We chose to sit outside because the weather was in the mid seventies, but they also offer a large section of inside seating as well.
Another tasting room I recommend visiting is Portalupi Wine. It was really interesting and fun to speak with co-owner Jane Portalupi about the Italian influences her family and herself bring to Portalupi Wines. After learning that many of their wines pair amazing with food, we were eager to taste a generous sampling of their red wines. I am a huge red wine fan and was happy to see the great variety of Pinot Noirs and other reds Portalupi makes.
The bright tasting room and vibrant purple couches create a relaxing atmosphere where you'll want to stay a while. Inspired by Jane's grandmother, Portalupi has an awesome line of "Vaso di Marina" wines bottled in adorable inspired milk bottles. They are a great alternative to the classic wine bottle and I could definitely see myself re-purposing the jar into a flower vase. Because Portalupi Wines are referred to as Italian Wines, you can get your hands on a few recipes that pair well with each variety of wines. The Portalupi's are genuinely committed to creating delicious and award winning wines and it I learned a lot by visiting. Be sure to stop in, say hello and spend time chatting over the tasting menu. I can bet you'll have an enjoyable experience while learning a great deal about the Italian influence that shines through their wine and food pairings.
A must stop for all curated goods, a farm fresh cafe menu and a coffee and fermentation bar can be found at Healdsburg Shed. Recently opened on the edge of the square, you can easily spot it's bright while exterior and airy and bright interior from a block or two away. This spot is seriously stunning, offering farm fresh eggs, beautiful locally grown flowers and healthy options form their cafe.
Feeling like grabbing some things to go? Shed offers a great deal of gourmet fresh packaged foods with a variety of interesting soft drinks, juices, and of course, wines! Even if you aren't hungry, be sure to stop in and take a look all the gifts and goods being sold.
Do you have any thoughts or questions about the town of Healdsburg? Do you ever go up to Sonoma County? Let's keep this going! For even more road trip inspiration, weekend getaway guides and local San Francisco secrets, lets chat on Twitter, follow along with my adventures on Instagram and connect on Facebook.
This post was made possible, in part, in partnership with h2Hotel, Banshee Wines and Portalupi Wines. As always, all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the companies that make Sunshine Daydream a little brighter!