Originally Posted by tlegray
I'll be in San Francisco at the end of the month and have decided to take a day trip to Healdsburg area and possibly the Sonoma Valley. I'm most interested in the northern valleys...Alexander and Dry Creek. I'm looking for Winery, Restaurant, and Gourmet Shop rec's. Scenic drives and hidden parks are a plus too. Especially parks on the Russian River. I will have a car and I love getting off the main road.
It's been years since I've been to Healdsburg. Is there still the town square with shops and restaurants? How big is Geyserville these days?
Any other rec's are appreciated.
My wife and I get out there at least once a year. It's absolutely beautiful country out there.
Eat in Healdsburg...there are lots of good restaurants. Wine Spectator did a cover story on Healdsburg back in May...maybe look around the web site. I like the brew pub there (Bear Republic) but there are some more upscale-type places, too.
For wineries, Sonoma County is HUGE. There are some very distinct regions which produce different types of wines. The Russian River valley along River Road has Pinot, Chardonnays, and the Korbel Champagne Cellars. The Alexander Valley has Clos du Bois and lots of great reads. One of my favorite areas is along West Dry Creek Road in the Dry Creek Valley. There are some really cute wineries that produce great Zin. Finally, the Sonoma Valley itself along rt. 12 has Chateau St. Jean and St. Francis, which are well worth the trip. Benziger is a great winery to visit; they have interesting history and a commitment to biodynamic farming (kinda like super-duper organic). Sebastiani in downtown Sonoma's cool, too. They've been there for like a century or so.
We always stay in Santa Rosa in the Railroad District. There's a couple of chain hotels (a Courtyard and a Hyatt spa place, I think) and you can walk to about a half dozen restaurants as well as a couple of good local, non-chain coffee shops for your morning fix. Hopefully they still have all the Snoopy statues around in Santa Rosa, and you can always visit the Charles Schultz museum.
You could easily spend a week there...have fun!!!