Off the Beaten Track: Sonoma, California’s Stunning Wine Country

Sonoma County’s Healdsburg is a village of 11,000 people, centered around a 19th century town square — the ideal home base for your Sonoma adventure.

To truly stay off the beaten track, travel to Healdsburg on a weekday and avoid the crush of day trippers from San Francisco.

Suzan von Lengerke of Lake Shore Travel in Glencoe (847/461-5039) has loads of good advice about how to spend a very pleasant day (or two, or three, depending on how leisurely your pace) in Healdsburg. Here are her top recommendations:

Must Do

1. Visit the three separate appellations that converge in Healdsburg: the Russian River Valley, known for chardonnays and pinot noirs; the Alexander Valley, best known for cabernets; and Dry Creek, home of many amazing zinfandels.

2.    Pack a picnic and head to D. H. Gustafson Family Vineyards, overlooking Lake Sonoma with views of Mount St. Helena in adjacent Napa County.

3.    Try the complimentary food and wine pairings at Williamson Wines in Healdsburg. Proprietors Bill and Dawn Williamson manage a friendly, informative staff that’s always having fun. Join their wine club!

Must Eat

1. Go for salumi—Diavola Pizzeria & Salumeria is a rustic space centered around a wood-fired oven, in Geyserville.

2. Try the Neopolitan-style pizza at Rosso Pizza and Wine Bar, in Santa Rosa.

3. Time your trip to center around the Winemaker Wednesday dinners at Scopa. Located on the square in Healdsburg, a local winemaker spends an evening each week as a server in the restaurant.

Must See

1. Explore the Saturday morning organic farmers market in Santa Rosa.

2. Walk among the majestic giant redwoods in Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve.

3. Browse the plaza in downtown Healdsburg, with its charming shops, cafes, restaurants and wine tasting rooms.

Must Stay

1.    Hotel Healdsburg is a resort with a full-service spa and pool and a standout complimentary gourmet harvest breakfast.

2.    Duchamp Hotel offers six contemporary cottages in a grove of olive trees.

3.    Built in 1901, Healdsburg Inn has a prime location on historic Healdsburg Plaza.

Want to make it easy? Have Lake Shore Travel book your trip and make all the arrangements for you! Contact Suzan von Lengerke at 847/461-5039, or

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