It's true: Healdsburg is as amazing as everyone says it is. First, there’s that perfect town square, surrounded by tasting rooms filled with beautiful people, boutiques tempting at every turn, and swanky restaurants glowing at dusk. And then there’s Les Mars Hôtel, which feels more like Louis XIV's Loire Valley than Sonoma County. What may have once been a sleepy country town at the north end of the Sonoma Valley is now one of the classiest destinations in California wine country.
"Tasting rooms filled with beautiful people, boutiques tempting at every turn, and swanky restaurants glowing at dusk."
One of the best places to anchor your explorations of surrounding Sonoma AVAs, Healdsburg has plenty to offer in its own right. Locally grown produce gets the spotlight here, and the twice-weekly (June through October) farmers market is a model of fresh, local, and sustainably grown fruits and vegetables. Stop in at Healdsburg Shed, an expertly curated haven of kitchenware, cookbooks, and garden tools. Be sure to try a seasonal house-made shrub (a vinegar-based drink) and wood-oven pizza, and see if there’s a class or workshop you’d like to attend (topics include gardening, cooking, sustainable living). Pick up artisanal cheeses and a fresh crusty loaf at tempting Oakville Grocery and have an impromptu nosh in the square. Finish the day with a decadent meal of pork-belly biscuits, Hamachi crudo, and squid-ink pasta at Chalkboard.