"A Less Crowded Weekend in the Wine Country" Top 5 Page for this destination Healdsburg by Callavetta

Healdsburg Travel Guide: 109 reviews and 275 photos

My Favorite Way to Visit

I have the good fortune of living a mere hour and a half south of here so a day trip is not out of the question. But I frequently hear from people around the US who say... "headed for Napa! Tell me what I must not miss" My answer is try the road (slightly) less traveled.
The Russian River/Alexander Valley/Dry Creek Valley roads are dotted with wineries; some large, some small. It is easy to spend a day by car, bike, or even chauffered limo to a few of these places and have a wonderful, uncrowded, unhurried time.

The area is also replete with fabulous restaurants, offering up local specialties. And charming inns and B & Bs inviting the visitor to linger.

Area maps are available at most of the wineries. Pick your route for the day with 4 or 5 that you'd like to see. Make sure to mix maybe one big with 3 or 4 small, family wineries. These are the ones where you will most likely meet the vintner and get an opportunity to talk shop. This is by far the most interesting way to spend the day. Only take one actual winery tour. They are all relatively similar and cut into your time.
While you will be given a very small sample of each wine, they add up! Keep in mind that if you try each of the wines they pour at each winery you will have the equivilent of a glass of wine per winery! Please designate a driver. If you're on a bike, be mindful of cars on the narrow, winding roads.

Don't forget to stop for lunch. You can purchase some wonderful picnic items in some of the shops in the area or stop at one of the restaurants. I will be telling you about some of my favorites.

My favorite way to see any area is by bicycle and each season makes this destination delightful in its own right. But if wine tasting is on your agenda it might be a little more difficult (amazing how that alcohol seems to go right to the quad muscles when you hit the first hill!). And of course the correct way to approach a great day of wine tasting is with a designated driver. If you have to beg, borrow or steal (ok, rent) a convertible is the ideal vehicle because the vistas are incredible and you don't want to miss anything.
Alternatively, there are limo services that will chauffer you through the area. We once were taking a bike break at one winery's picnic table when one of these pulled up and the inhabitants all ran into the winery to sample while the chauffer set up a gourmet picnic outside.

Planning your trip

www.wineroad.com provides visitors with a great interactive map for planning their trip. The website is complete with information about the wineries, accommodations and even many of the great restaurants fond in Sonoma County.

A perfect drive

There's nothing quite so pleasant as a drive through the Dry Creek, Alexander and Russian River Valley Vineyards. Of course, finding oneself there on a day like this recent May weekday really adds to the joy. We had the roads to ourselves, the tasting rooms were mostly empty and the employees eager to chat, and the weather was perfect for a top down day.

The traveling Scot proclaimed, "I could live here!"

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Beautiful any season
  • Cons:Some weekends can be very crowded
  • Last visit to Healdsburg: Apr 2003
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (14)

Comments (21)

  • RickinDutch's Profile Photo
    Jun 19, 2012 at 10:42 AM

    Had to return to one of my favoriite spots in California. Thanks for sharing.

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Dec 18, 2009 at 1:29 PM

    You have good tips and pictures here. I have been around the area, but not right here, and now miss that and hope to see in the future.

  • icunme's Profile Photo
    Sep 8, 2009 at 1:42 AM

    Delightful tour of many small unique vineyards - my kinda road trip. Concerts at RS top it off. grazie, mille grazie!

  • amandajayne81's Profile Photo
    May 23, 2009 at 1:05 AM

    Interesting pages and interesting town. We plan to visit in September. Can't wait.

  • travelgourmet's Profile Photo
    Mar 4, 2009 at 1:45 AM

    I loved Healdsburg Plaza and the shops. My favorite winery was Lambert Bridge in the Dry Creek area.

  • ATXtraveler's Profile Photo
    Oct 18, 2008 at 10:08 AM

    The Russian River is absolutely beautiful. Thanks for the information here.

  • kyoub's Profile Photo
    Apr 26, 2008 at 12:06 PM

    A delightful place to spend a week-end. Good food, good wine, and good company. Sounds perfect, we don't expect you to remember all the details.

  • sourbugger's Profile Photo
    Mar 19, 2008 at 1:39 PM

    lovely little page, hic !

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    Oct 10, 2007 at 11:54 AM

    Day trips are the best kind of adventuring I think. You never know what is your next door neighbor. Love the info about the Vino! Thanks for sharing!

  • johngayton's Profile Photo
    Jun 12, 2007 at 6:36 PM

    Not a prison anymore - now a "drying-out" clinic - HIC!!


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