Wine Country Insider’s Guide
Where to Stay
Awash in sage and earth tones, Hotel Healdsburg (25 Matheson St., Healdsburg; 800/889-7188 or 707/431-2800; hotelhealdsburg.com; doubles from $380) has a lobby surrounded by a constant stream of activity, like jazz dinners and wine tastings. The spa treatments (especially the wine-and-organic-honey wrap) are sublime; the restaurant, Dry Creek Kitchen, is run by acclaimed chef Charlie Palmer, a hotel co-owner.
A streamlined, vaguely Scandinavian aesthetic (Icelandic sheepskin rugs; polished concrete floors) rules in the six light-filled freestanding bungalows at the Duchamp Hotel (421 Foss St., Healdsburg; 800/431-9341 or 707/431-1300; duchamphotel.com; doubles from $350).
Great Value With just four cottages on 550 acres, it’s easy to find solitude at the Other Place (Boonville; 707/895-3979; sheepdung.com; cottages from $140), hidden more than a mile down an unpaved road. The décor is deliberately simple, all the better to let the scenery be the star.
Great Value Everything seems art-directed at the four-room Apple Farm (18501 Greenwood Rd., Philo; 707/895-2333; philoapplefarm.com; doubles from $175)—from the honor-system harvest stand to the arbor-shaded table for alfresco dinners. A homey breakfast of toast and the farm’s own addictive jam awaits each morning in the kitchen, the setting for weekend cooking classes ($625 per person).
Where to Eat & Drink
Pig is something of an obsession at Bovolo Restaurant (106 Matheson St., Healdsburg; 707/431-2962; lunch for two $30), a petite café at the back of Copperfield’s Books. You can get the house-made bacon on a salad, in a sandwich, on pizza, or on pasta. Or throw dietary caution to the winds and dive into the pork-cheek sandwich.
A special-occasion meal in Sonoma County doesn’t get much more lavish than one at Cyrus (29 North St., Healdsburg; 707/433-3311; dinner for two $260), where chef Douglas Keane’s eight-course dinners are an unabashed love letter to foie gras, pork belly, and lobster.
There might only be two entrées and a handful of starters on the menu at the Boonville Hotel (14050 Hwy. 128, Boonville; 707/895-2210; doubles from $125; dinner for two $72), but each dish captures the essence of the season. The duck comes from Sonoma and the fruit from the Apple Farm, and the greens are harvested in the garden. The 10 rooms are cheerful and unpretentious.
As in a small-town version of Cheers, you’ll see the same faces reading the paper or tucking into a bowl of homemade granola at the friendly Mosswood Market & Café (1411 Hwy. 128, Boonville; 707/895-3635; breakfast for two $10).
Fresh ingredients and a surprisingly good wine list set Libby’s (8651 Hwy. 128, Philo; 707/895-2646; dinner for two $28) apart from your average Mexican restaurant. The carnitas are excellent, but so is the Caesar salad: lightly dressed and sprinkled with crunchy tortilla strips.
Where to Shop
The most fashion-forward boutique in town, Arboretum (332 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg; 707/433-7033; arboretumapparel.com) specializes in stylish, sustainable attire for men and women—from organic cotton T-shirts by Turk + Taylor to an Edun dress in sapphire silk.
Vintage furnishings with an industrial-meets-schoolhouse bent (drafting tables, Thonet chairs) are arranged into photo-ready vignettes at 14feet (325 Center St., Healdsburg; 707/433-3391; 14feet.net).
A well-curated general store, Bates & Mailliard Farmhouse Mercantile (14111 Hwy. 128, Boonville; 707/895-3996) turns everyday items like Mason jars and balls of twine into exquisite collectibles.
San Francisco to Healdsburg: 70 miles
Healdsburg to Boonville: 45 miles
Boonville to Philo: 6 miles
Spotlight: Anderson Valley Wine Tour
Don’t let the aw-shucks, mom-and-pop atmosphere of these tasting rooms fool you—this region is a must for oenophiles in the know.
1. Standish Wine Co. The most photogenic tasting room in the valley, in a 19th-century wooden building once used for drying apples. 5101 Hwy. 128, Philo; 707/895-9213.
4. Toulouse Vineyards Founded by retired fire captain Vern Boltz, this small, deceptively humble operation produces much-lauded wines and exceptional grapes. 8001 Hwy. 128, Philo; 707/895-2828.
8. Esterlina Vineyards & Winery Located in the hills, with panoramic views. Tastings are accompanied by bowls of Goldfish and Cheetos—a savory (if irreverent) touch. 1200 Holmes Ranch Rd., Philo; 707/895-2920; esterlinavineyards.com; by appointment only.