Two Days In Healdsburg

We spent the weekend in wine country, a trip we'd been looking forward to for months. Wine country is usually gorgeous in October, with sun-dappled vineyards and crisp fall breezes and pumpkin patches dotted every few miles. So great was my excitement for this trip that I had even, in preparation for it, bought myself some special wine-tasting sunglasses. In these sunglasses, I imagined, I would be a sort of Betty Draper Meets That Woman From Sideways figure, laughing merrily as the mid-afternoon sun caught my face over the rows of ochre vines. I would be wearing a headscarf, perhaps, and riding in a convertible. Never mind that I owned neither. 

The weather, however, had other plans. The weather saw my special wine-tasting sunglasses and raised me two blustery days of torrential downpour. The weather cackled at my hubris and dumped a 48-hour waterfall on my head, a waterfall that didn't let up from 9am Saturday to 9pm Sunday. (Although this, of course, only made me very glad that I'd brought my special wine-tasting wellies.)

What? I never claimed to pack light.

As well as being a sort of anniversary do-over, this trip was going to be our great escape from the neverending task of Working On The House, an endeavor that, while fun, has become decidedly Sisyphean in nature. But rather like the first-time parents who wonder if they should just call the babysitter really, really quickly to check in on their kid the first night they go out on a date,  we couldn't stop ourselves from thinking about the house. "Do you think it's okay?" we'd ask each other at first. "Do you think we'll get back in time tomorrow to finish up that caulking by the kitchen sink?"

We'd had reservations to go skydiving while we were up in the area, but with the weather being the way it was, the skydiving guy called us on Saturday and said he thought we'd better postpone. To Sean's disappointment---and my well-acted disappointment but actual relief---we were left to find slightly less hardcore ways to spend our time.


Thanks to a very generous wedding gift from our friends Alison and Nathan, we were staying at the Healdsburg Inn on the Plaza, which put us right in the middle of town. From here we could walk (or slosh, umbrellas in hand) to the tasting rooms of Toad Hollow and Selby, both of whom offer generous pours for absolutely no money at all. At Toad Hollow, I bought a bottle of Risque bubbly, which that link there calls "softly effervescent" and I just call really delicious/will be good for mimosas.

Earlier in the day, we'd driven up through Guerneville, where we'd taken the tour at Korbel and then sipped some free champagne; afterwards, we drove into town for lunch at Boon Eat + Drink, home of the world's most incredible truffle fries.


That night, after wine and hors d'oeuvres at our hotel---accompanied by a rather nail-biting game of checkers; do not underestimate how you'll find your entertainment when there's a monsoon raging outside your door---we braved the rain and headed across the park to Spoonbar, where we had a late-night bite to eat. They do something to their hummus there that I think might possibly be illegal; stud it with crack, perhaps? Lace it with pixie dust?

On Sunday morning, the rain having still not relented, we wound our way back to San Francisco. Our culinary tour not yet quite complete---some people go to wine country for, well, wine-tasting; we, however, seem to go for food-tasting---we pulled over at Gott's Roadside in St. Helena for burgers, garlic fries, and a mint chocolate chip shake.

The theme of our food was green.

And now we are back: full, happy, and perhaps a whole dress size larger than we were when we left. Tomorrow I am off to Las Vegas for work, where it promises to be a steady seventy and sunny. I shall be bringing the wine-tasting sunglasses, although they will be debuting a new role as The Vegas Sunglasses (For Two Days Only). I shall not be bringing my wellies.

Lots more pictures from our trip here. You have been warned that it was raining hard. We are not responsible for the state of our hair.


Amber, theAmberShow
Oct 25, 2010

Your hair in that first photo is awesome.

Oct 25, 2010

Of course the food theme was green. It is northern California after all.

Oct 25, 2010

Love the sunglasses! Mind if I ask where you got them?

Nothing But Bonfires
Oct 25, 2010

Thanks! I just got them at TJ Maxx. They're made by Betsy Johnson.

Camels And Chocolate
Oct 25, 2010

We also spent the weekend away--in Carmel Valley--and while we got waterfalled on during the drive home, it was pleasantly pleasant in the valley, with sun and warmth and all those sorts of novelties we've been lacking in San Francisco for the past year. But Healdsburg,'s got to be my favorite town in Wine Country!

Savvy in San Francisco
Oct 25, 2010

I so hate the rain, but was excited to break out my wellies too! I wore mine to the playground with the bambinos.

Oct 25, 2010

Wait until the weather clears and then allow for a whole day at Preston Vineyards. Just up the road in Dry Creek, it is the most magical, secret (on a weekday), romantic little spot. They have a mellow tasting area but the real bliss lies in the grounds, their gardens, wood fire bread oven (you can buy their bread inside, their own wheat ground on premises), bocce court and tall pine trees for a change of scenery. A super-refreshing, different way to do wine country. ps. Their wine is pretty killer too. All organic and biodynamic...but good too!

pps this is a unsolicited plug. I just looove it there.

Alice Q. Foodie
Oct 25, 2010

How fun! I love the wine country in the rain. My first trip ever was during a rainy, misty weekend in December, and I absolutely fell in love with it. We were actually in SF this weekend (from San Diego) enjoying the rain. Silly me though - brought my wellies, but didn't wear them since it wasn't raining when we left the house and I thought I'd look unbearably stupid if it stayed dry all day. Glad you had a lovely time!!

Oct 26, 2010

Please precede the remainder of your blog posts with a disclaimer:

WARNING. May contain pictures of amazing food and induce you to remember with anguish that all you currently have in your cupboards is maple syrup and tea bags.

Oct 26, 2010

My husband and I spent a few days in the Finger Lakes (upstate NY wine country) for our one-year anniversary a few weeks ago. It also decided to be 55 deg and raining the entire time. It started Sunday evening soon after we got to town and stopped Wednesday afternoon. We left Wednesday morning.

But of course we still had a great time, and it looks like you guys did too!


We stayed there last year and adored it.

A. Tee
Oct 27, 2010

I'll be visiting SF from Toronto in a couple weeks, and have been told I cannot leave SF until I indulge in some Gott's Roadside. Now it makes sense!

Oct 28, 2010

I love that picture of your man with his hand on the fireplace mantel. He totally looks like he's about to knock that camera out of your hand and ravage you. Come to think of it, he kind of looks like that in every picture... admit it, you rubbed some of those garlic fries behind your ears!

Nov 11, 2010

Is the Gott's Roadside what used to be Taylor's Refresher? I need to go back to wine country, ASAP. Siorry for teh rain, but glad you still had a great weekend away!

May 18, 2016

None can doubt the veactiry of this article.

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