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Walnut Creek Magazine

Great Small Town Getaways - Healdsburg, CA

Mar 26, 2016 11:37AM ● By Fran Miller

By Fran Miller and Pam Kessler

Population: 11,254

Distance from WC: 80 miles

What your money can buy? Median home price: $615,000

 Healdsburg has come a long way since its agricultural days drawing star chefs, vintners and restauranteurs from around the globe. Located about 90 minutes from Walnut Creek, the tiny Sonoma Valley town sits at the crux of three world-class wine growing regions—the Russian River, Alexander and Dry Creek Valley. Mix-in the vineyard vistas, charming boutiques, art galleries, and delicious cuisine, and after a weekend in Healdsburg you may not want to leave. 

The streets lining the historic downtown plaza are a wine lover’s paradise filled with tasting rooms and lounges – La Crema, Banshee, Kendall Jackson, Thumbprint Cellars, and Ferrari-Carano. Destination restaurants have proliferated in Healdsburg, with eco-conscientious proprietors leading the charge. Here are a few of our favorite places to eat, shop and sleep:

 Already a Healdsburg classic and lively gathering spot, people stop just to take photographs of this remarkable building by Jensen Architects. Inside SHED, the legendary food and garden emporium features a café, a ‘pantry’ stocked with kitchen basics, and outdoor wood-fired grill weekends. ( Former Dry Creek Kitchen Chef Dustin Valette and his brother Aaron Garzini recently opened Valette, rocking the food world with their locally sourced dishes served in the historic building once owned by their great grandfather.  (

 For more informal fare, check out Pizzando. ( A wood fire oven bakes amazing pizzas heaped with the freshest seasonal ingredients. Or swing over for lunch at Bear Republic. The brewery's well-appointed patio is the perfect spot to sample classics such as Racer 5 IPA. Food-wise, you'll find burgers and bites, plus local cheese and charcuterie(

Shoppers will love Studio Barndiva, an art gallery and bar featuring an eclectic collection of wire art, paintings, and sculptures. ( The gallery also runs the Healdsburg Modern Cottages, a private compound of nestled just off the town square surrounded by sculpture gardens, a very private pool and lounging green. ( For the ultimate in luxury, try the 16-room Relais & Chateaux Hotel Les Mars, where you’ll be greeted with champagne and provided insider access to proprietor Bill Foley’s wineries such as Roth and Lancaster. (

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