Savor Healdsburg's simple pleasures

Where to go and what to do on a lazy summer day in California's Wine Country
Amy Wolf

Info: Healdsburg is about 65 miles north of San Francisco. Contact the Healdsburg visitor bureau (707/433-6935) for more details.

It's true: Healdsburg has gone upscale on us. There's Cyrus, the restaurant that's giving the French Laundry a run for its money, and Les Mars Hôtel, which feels more like Louis XIV's Loire Valley than today's Sonoma County.

But despite its elegant new trappings, Healdsburg is still, at heart, a simple country town.

Visit on a warm July day, when the mood is lazy, summer produce is ripe, and fall-crush madness hasn't yet begun. You'll remember why you first fell in love with this place.

HEALDSBURG FARMERS' MARKET

What: Local celebrity chefs buy their produce here. When: 4-6:30 Tue through Oct (between Healdsburg Ave. and Center, Matheson, and Plaza Streets); 9-noon Sat through Nov (North and Vine Streets).

MEDLOCK AMES WINERY

What: Ames Morison takes guests on tours of the oak- and madrone-covered hills around his 188-acre property, followed by tastings in the underground barrel room. When: By appointment only. How much: Call for details. Where: 13414 Chalk Hill Rd.; 707/431-8845.

PRESTON OF DRY CREEK

What: Lovely picnic grounds and baskets of warm bread made by Lou Preston are two reasons to visit this winery. Ask about the refillable jug wine, served most Sundays. How much: Tasting $5. Where: 9282 W. Dry Creek Rd.; 707/433-3372.

 

BARNDIVA RESTAURANT AND LOUNGE.

What: Hollywood glam meets Mr. McGregor's farmhouse. Sip pretty cocktails outside under Moroccan chandeliers. When: Lunch and dinner Wed-Sun, brunch Sun. How much: $$$$. Where: 231 Center St.; 707/431-0100.

BOVOLO

What: Excellent pizza and salads, amid the gourmet food and wine stalls. When: Breakfast and lunch daily, dinner Fri-Sun. How much: $$. Where: 106 Matheson St.; 707/431-2962.

WILLI'S SEAFOOD & RAW BAR

What: Seafood-heavy, Latin-influenced small plates. When: Lunch and dinner Wed-Mon. How much: $$$. Where: 403 Healdsburg Ave.; 707/433-9191.

THE GARDENER

What: Lots of outdoor furniture and a garden that'll make you green with envy. Where: 516 Dry Creek Rd.; 707/431-1063.