Sonoma County

• 07 June 2010

















This weekend I am heading to Northern California for a little reunion with my mom and sisters. We are flying in from across the country to enjoy a few days together and since I cannot remember the last time the four of us have been together, I'm definitely looking forward to it!

One day we are heading over to Healdsburg in Sonoma (with a stop at Woodhouse Chocolates in St. Helena on the way), and I'm curious if you have any recommendations as to what we should do/eat/visit, etc. We are not wine drinkers so our emphasis will be mainly on food, shopping and a pretty walk or two. The only thing on my agenda at this point is a treat at the Downtown Bakery :)

Any advice?

image via Sonoma County Tourism Bureau

33 comments:

  1. I attended a wedding rehearsal dinner at BarnDiva in Healdsberg. Wonderful atmosphere and cuisine. Highly recommend it.

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  2. how fun! you'll be 15 minutes away from my home. healdsburg is great (teeny tiny)-- we try to go a couple of times/month. but steph, we didn't really love Downtown Bakery. maybe we ordered the wrong things? It is one of the best areas for renting bikes and I like stopping in Oakville Grocery.

    look up the jimtown store (just 10 minutes from Healdsburg square). it's an amazing little drive with good, casual lunches. [& madrona manor and cyrus are supposed to the the #1s for Healdsburg if you're wanting that kind of culinary adventure ..]

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  3. Rutherford Grill is great, as is Oakville Grocery and Wine Spectator Greystone. Have fun!

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  4. I like The Girl & The Fig for lunch or brunch. Great outdoor garden if the weather is nice.

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  5. You might not be a wine taster, but V Sattui winery in Napa, CA has the best delicatessen of any I've seen. You can taste tons of their meats, cheeses and condiments. It's right on highway 29, close to St. Helena. We usually stop there and have lunch on their lawn. It's got great views and amazing photo ops. Have fun - your pic made me homesick!

    http://www.vsattui.com/

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  6. Scopa! It's a delicious little Italian restaurant run by a young lady restaurateur. I whole heartedly recommend Nonna's Tomato Braised Chicken- the best chicken dish I've ever had at a restaurant by far. http://www.scopahealdsburg.com/
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/listings/restaurants/venuetop2010?vid=303948

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  7. Have you ever read Jenna's blog called "Eat, Live, Run"? She lives and works where you are going and I know she would love to make suggestions. In fact, I think she just started a new job at the Kendall Jackson Winery (sounds like heaven to me). www.eatliverun.com
    She doesn't know me from Adam, but I have loved reading her blog for over a year.

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  8. Madrona Manor is amazing.
    Gorgeous relaxed setting, unpretentious service, phenomenal food - worth the price!

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  9. Woodhouse Chocolates is THE BEST! And don't forget to stop in to Dean & Deluca! Bouchon Bakery in Yountville is also a must....

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  10. Oooh I second the trip to Yountville. You will absolutely die if you get to see the French Laundry kitchen- see if you can have a tour. Eating there is on the life list, but at $250 a pop, I'd "settle" (hardly settling!) for Bouchon Bistro and their fantastic bakery.

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  11. we're on vacation in northern california as well, enjoy!

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  12. V. Sattui was my favorite. It is a deli and winery in one. Plus the place is just amazing.

    Dean and Deluca was fun too. Chandon has amazing fine dining cuisine.... we loved it.

    enjoy!

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  13. p.s. We ate at The Farm in Napa a couple of weeks ago and thought it was great. I think it would be a good one for mom + sisters.

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  14. My husband is from Napa so we've been to St Helena a number of times. We ate at the cutest little restaurant there for our anniversary. It's called Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen. It was so charming and the food was very good. The campfire pie was especially wonderful, like a s'more pie! We've also eaten at Rutherford Grill and I wasn't too impressed with it, just personal opinion. A link to the restaurant site:
    http://www.cindysbackstreetkitchen.com/

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  15. Agreed, the Jim Town store is cute and fun and a lovely drive … a good time for sisters and mom to visit. The Fig and the Girl too.

    I like to stroll around downtown Sonoma, pick food items up along the way and picnic in the Plaza.

    If you have spa time, keep the Sonoma Mission Inn in mind. Get a treatment and spend the day hanging out at the pool whether you’re staying the night or not. I love this place. http://www.fairmont.com/sonoma

    The gardens at Cornerstone can be fun to explore. http://www.cornerstonegardens.com/

    I like spending time in Jack London State Park just visiting the buildings or hiking.
    Official web site http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=478
    Unofficieal web site http://www.parks.sonoma.net/JLPark.html

    I think there’s a Farmer’s Market on Tuesdays, check it out if you’re there.

    Have a great time. Can’t wait to hear all about it.

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  16. You might enjoy popping into Copperfield's Bookstore:
    http://www.copperfieldsbooks.com/store_healdsburg

    Instead of driving directly up 101 from San Francisco, consider taking a detour to see Jaccuzzi Winery. It's got beautiful grounds perfect for a mid-day picnic and you can sample olive oils as well as (or instead of) wine.
    http://www.jacuzziwines.com/
    http://eclatdujour.blogspot.com/2010/01/california-trip-part-2.html

    I hope you have fun and please share what you end up doing/enjoying! I'm sure I'll visit the area again within the year.

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  17. P.S. If you drive through Petaluma and want some delicious food, consider checking out Cucina Paradiso. Also, Petaluma has a very cute and walkable downtown.

    http://www.cucinaparadisopetaluma.com/menu.shtml

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  18. If French Laundry is out of your budget check out Ad Hoc! It's another Thomas Keller restaurant in Yontville (you might have already been there). I have heard it's AMAZING, but haven't had the chance to get up there yet since they aren't open for lunch. FYI: They have a fixed 4 course diner menu than changes daily.
    http://www.adhocrestaurant.com

    I second Sonoma Mission Inn spa!

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  19. P.P.S (I promise I'm done after this) I just remembered a shop right in Healdsburg that's perfect for getting a light lunch:

    http://www.oakvillegrocery.com/stores/healdsburg_menu.php

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  20. I second the suggestions for Bouchon Bakery and Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen! Mmmm delish. Try Bouchon's macarons, the pain au trois chocolat, and other goodies. Another fun stop is Taylor's Refresher, which is now known as Gott's Roadside. Have a great time! The weather should be gorgeous.

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  21. Lots of suggestions! :)
    Olive Oil tasting -
    http://www.roundpond.com
    http://www.longmeadowranch.com
    http://www.mcevoyranch.com/html
    http://www.sholiveoil.com/store/ - casual in store tasing...no fee for tasting :)

    Bouchon Bakery

    Ad hoc - http://www.adhocrestaurant.com/ - casual & delicious! - I think it's about $50 per person for the pre fix menu- my favorite of the TK restaurants
    accross the street is the Napa Style store - Michael Chiarello place lot of cool kitchen / home stuff http://www.napastyle.com

    Hit Oxbow Market in Napa...probably good for about an hour visit. Kind of like the Ferry building in SF.

    Maybe Cheese tasting...

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  22. oakville grocery store, bouchon bakery, dean and deluca, there's a cute bookstore in calistoga, cafe sarafonia in calistoga, the solage resort in calistoga is also very nice and they have a michelin star restaurant there that is very delicious (as expected!).

    one of my favourite places ever! enjoy!

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  23. Have a fabulous time! I never knew one could go to Sonoma and not drink...I also don't. Can't wait for you to share your visit with us. Excited for you!

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  24. Recently stayed at the Solage Resort with some girl friends and we decided to go ahead and eat at the hotel one night - it was FABULOUS! We squeezed in one more meal there by having lunch before we left. Also tasty is Tre Vigne (italian restaurant).

    Outside of town (in Petaluma, I think) is a fun place (casual but good) called Willie's Wine Bar (I don't drink - I just really enjoyed the food and especially the desserts).

    Have a fun trip!

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  25. Willi's Wine Bar is in Santa Rosa. [And there is actually a Willi's Seafood in Healdsburg.] Monti's, also in Santa Rosa and owned by the same couple, is a good meal too.

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  26. I'm a lover of architecture, museums and gardens and Cornerstone Gardens in Sonoma is all three: it's an outdoor museum where they gave plots of land to various landscape designers and artists to create something. So cool. I haven't been in a few years but I just loved it.

    There's definitely more things to do in the area, but if you're looking for something fun to do for an hour or so, it's worth it.

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  27. I agree with honeysmom. Check out the Eatliverun.com blog!

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  28. If you're in downtown Napa, you won't want to miss having breakfast here!!!
    http://www.buttercreambakery.com/

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  29. I second the olive oil tasting (and vinegar, too). My sister and I had a ball driving the valley (do people call it that?) and sampling oil and vinegar. St. Helena Olive Oil Company has a nice tasting/retail building as listed here: http://www.sholiveoil.com/store/pages/Store-Locations.html

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  30. I understand that there will be a jazz festival in Healdsburg this weekend :-)

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  31. The Girl and the Fig for dinner in Sonoma- AMAZING. On a recent trip, we had to eat there twice because it was so good. Oakville Grocery is a must stop in Healdsburg.

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  32. LOVE Sonoma Valley (more laid back than Napa). We go every other year or so. I especially love Dry Creek Valley. Healdsburg is a great town.

    Oakville Grocery on the Healdsburg Square for picnic food, then take your picnic to a winery (ask around town for ones that have a great view; there're are lots!). You don't have to drink, just enjoy the view. There's one I can't remember the name of that has olive oil tastings and a great view...don't see it mentioned in any of he comments (I like their olive oil better than their wine).

    Barn Diva for sure! In Healdsburg right off the square.

    Girl and a Fig in the town of Sonoma for dinner.

    I could go on and on about wineries. Pack me!!!

    Xo,
    Linsey

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  33. My wife and I just got back from here! We posted a travelogue on our blog (hither and thither) if you want to check it out and (?) relive some memories?

    Aron
    www.babymine.net
    www.hitherandthither.net

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