Nestled between Fitch Mountain to the east and a low range of mountains to the west, Healdsburg offers welcoming bed and breakfast lodging options just 75 miles north of San Francisco (15 miles north of Santa Rosa), off Highway 101. One of the first towns in Sonoma County, it was originally home to the Pomo Indians. The town (pronounced Heelds-burg) is named for Harmon Heald, an unsuccessful gold miner and entrepreneur from Ohio, who purchased the 100 acres at auction for $200 and built a store and a post office in what is now downtown Healdsburg. The years following the Gold Rush brought many new settlers to the rich agricultural area to establish farms and trading posts.
Once upon a time, the agricultural crop that the area was known for was prunes. Today, the prunes are gone, and the town is transformed into a world-class destination, with elegant inns, popular restaurants, upscale shops, art galleries, antique stores, and tasting rooms. Yet, present-day Healdsburg still holds onto its charming small-town persona. The historic Spanish-style plaza hosts summer concerts and food, craft, and antique fairs.
While many come to explore the Wine Country crossroads of three wine appellations – Dry Creek, Russian River and Alexander Valleys – the area is also known for recreation, wildlife, history, architecture and family activities. The nearby Russian River and Lake Sonoma offer fishing, boating, canoeing and swimming. Another favorite pastime is bicycling on scenic wine country roads.
Healdsburg is home to the Sonoma County Wine Library. The collection includes information on the science and technology of growing grapes and making wine, the business and economics of the wine industry, the history of wine worldwide and the history of wine in Sonoma County. It houses 5,000 books, subscriptions to more than 80 periodicals dealing with wine, more than 1,000 rare wine books dating back to 1512, photographs, prints, wine labels, 16mm films and videos.