Lodging in Healdsburg
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Bella Luna Inn
The Irish Rose Inn
The Raford Inn
Brief History: Healdsburg is one of the first towns in Sonoma County. It was originally home to the Pomo Indians. The years following the Gold Rush brought many new settlers to the rich agricultural area to establish farms and trading posts. Healdsburg is named for Harmon Heald, an unsuccessful gold miner and entrepreneur from Ohio, who purchased the 100 acres at auction or $200 and built a store and a post office in what is now downtown Healdsburg. The agricultural crop that the area was known for was prunes. Today, the prunes are gone, and its Wine Country élan has transformed the town into a world-class destination, home to elegant bed and breakfast inns, a foodie Nirvana with Michelin star restaurants, trendy upscale shops, antique stores, stylish wine hospitality rooms, and visitors driving Porsches and Range Rovers. Yet, present-day Healdsburg still holds onto its charming small-town persona. The historic town center still hosts small town events including summer concerts, local parades to honor vegetables, dogs and the town merchants and town picnics. Healdsburg Wine Country Christmas finds the town decorated and sparkling with a number of delightful events for all ages.
Considered the economic heart of Northern Sonoma County, is a tourism haven. While many come to explore the Wine Country crossroads of three world class wine appellations of the 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 water recreation including fishing, boating, canoe trips and swimming. The local wineries offer tasting and tours. Another favorite pastime is bicycling on wine country roads that offer scenic rides. Art galleries and museums display fine art. There are a variety of cultural events like the Wine and Art Festival and jazz concerts. Nestled between Fitch Mountain to the east and a low range of mountains to the west, Healdsburg is located 75 miles north of San Francisco (15 miles north of Santa Rosa), off Highway 101.
Four outstanding features of our town: 1. Healdsburg laid out a town complete with a central Spanish-style Plaza, which remains one of the few examples of early California town planning still in existence. 2. You can fly into the Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County airport, take a taxi to Healdsburg and enjoy the entire town on foot for the remainder of your stay if you stay in town. 3. Healdsburg ties with the town of Sonoma for the most Zagat-rated restaurants. 4. There are more than 100 winery hospitality and tasting rooms with a Healdsburg address.
What distinguishes our town from other towns in the California Wine Country:
- All three Wine Country Inns in Healdsburg have a wine connection. Irish Rose Inn houses a winery, Camellia Inn started a winery known as Camellia Cellars and the Raford Inn overlooks vineyards.
- Three of the world’s finest wine appellations: the Dry Creek Valley, Alexander Valley and Russian River Valley call Healdsburg home.
- Healdsburg area businesses have more than 30 chocolate events annually.
- The Russian River runs through it, mountains and valleys surround it and the landscape is dotted with vineyards and orchards.
- No other town in California Wine Country offers all the things that Healdsburg offers: More then 14 art galleries, 7 antique stores, 4 bicycle tour companies, a brew pub with more then 20 microbrews some of which can only be tasted in Healdsburg, 4 Canoe and Kayak tour suppliers, cooking classes with famous wine country chefs, Steelhead fishing and a Steelhead festival, Saturday and Tuesday farmers markets spring through fall, a golf course, 3 museums (2 are one-of-a-kind the Hand Fan Museum and the Wine Museum), 2 premium olive oil producers, 1 gourmet peach orchard with more then 20 varieties, 5 spas, swimming, 2 tennis courts, 1 live theater and 1 movie theater, 16 tour companies that include touring in everything from feet to rickshaws to helicopters to classic muscle cars, 3 stores dedicated to accessories, 3 candy shops, 2 upscale clothing consignment shops, 14 upscale clothing stores, 4 gourmet delis, 18 open-to-the-public farms, 1 international gourmet store, 1 eco-friendly store, 4 health clubs, 6 Wine Country living stores, 4 jewelers, 2 pet boutiques, 32 Wine Country restaurants, 2 luxury soap makers, 1 lavender grower, 1 rose grower, 3 nurseries, 3 hometown bars and 25 wedding locations in one zip code and less than 4 square miles.
Our town’s best kept secret: Healdsburg is the home of The Sonoma County Wine Library. The wine library collection includes: 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 dealing with all aspects of wine, subscriptions to over 80 periodicals dealing with wine, more then a thousand rare wine books dating back to 1512, photographs, prints, wine labels, 16 mm films and videos.
Recommendation for the best way to spend a day in our town: Take a stroll around Healdsburg and discover the treasures and treats of small town individuality that make Healdsburg so special. World class shopping, renowned art and sculpture, spa treatments, organic locally grown produce and artisanal breads, wines and cheeses, intimate bed and breakfasts, independent bookstores and a treasure troves of antiquing are some of the pleasures to spending a day in Healdsburg. Then explore several of Northern California's finest regional wine appellations, including Alexander Valley, Chalk Hill, Dry Creek Valley, and Russian River Valley. Centrally located to over 100 world class wineries and tasting rooms, Healdsburg is the ideal place to discover all the best that Sonoma County wine country has to offer. Beyond the town square are incredible hiking, biking, canoeing, camping, redwoods, rowboats and hot air balloons for aerial views of it all. There is no end to the entertainment in which to partake, or the divine relaxation in which to luxuriate. Have a spa treatment, sip some wine, or take a nap out on the lawn as you take in the tunes of the weekly bands that play in the town square all summer long. Barrel taste wines as the buds bloom into spring. Enjoy a Dickens caroling come winter and watch the wineries hit high gear come fall. Healdsburg is truly a one-of-a-kind experience, a small town for all seasons.
Healdsburg famous citizens: Jim Cullom (November 5, 1925 – March 4, 1998) was an American football guard in the National Football League for the New York Yanks. He played college football at the University of California and was drafted in the 17th round of the 1950 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins.
Jack Sonni (born December 9, 1954, Indiana, Pennsylvania, United States) is a writer, musician, marketing executive with an emerging web presence as a cultural commentator and best known as "the other guitarist" in Dire Straits during the band's "Brothers In Arms" era.
Celebrity chef Charlie Palmer is an American celebrity chef, restaurateur, and author. His restaurants have included Aureole in New York, Aureole in Las Vegas, Alva, Astra, and Charlie Palmer Steak in Washington D.C. He has received three Michelin stars. Palmer appeared as a guest judge on Top Chef season 6 and has previously employed contestant Bryan Voltaggio.
General George J. Eade is a retired United States Air Force four star general who served as Deputy Commander in Chief, United States European Command (DCINCEUR) from 1973 to 1975.
Paul Emil Erdman (May 19, 1932 - April 23, 2007 in Sonoma County, California) was one of the leading business and financial writers in the United States who became known for writing novels based on monetary trends and historical facts concerning complex matters of international finance.
Cyrus Alexander (1805–1872) was an early settler of Sonoma County, California. He was born in Pennsylvania, and his family soon moved to Illinois. In 1831, Alexander was in the Rocky Mountains trapping for the Sublette fur company. He arrived in San Diego in 1833, where he worked for Captain Henry D. Fitch and became a Mexican citizen. In 1840, Alexander embarked on a scouting expedition for a suitable tract of land for a cattle ranch for Fitch and came to the Russian River Valley. From 1841 to 1845, Alexander managed Fitch's Rancho Sotoyome grant under an agreement that at the end of four years, Alexander was to receive two square leagues of land and part of the ranch stock.
Henry Delano Fitch received the Rancho Sotoyome land grant, near Healdsburg, California, in 1841 with the help of his brother-in-law Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, and began to develop it.
Harmon Heald, an Ohio businessman who had been squatting on Rancho Sotoyome since 1850, purchased part of the rancho—giving the city its official founding date. In 1867, Heald’s eponymous small town was incorporated.
Colonel Roderick N. Matheson: City Builder and Civil War Hero
Franklin Bedwell – One of the leaders of the Bear Flag Revolt. Died November 10, 1886, Healdsburg, CA. Buried Oakmound Cemetery, Healdsburg. Headstone. Stockton's Life Guard. Famed mountain man - fur trapper.
Matheson, Roderick Nicol (b. 1826 d. October 2, 1862) was Civil War Union Army Officer. A native of Scotland, he was residing in Healdsburg, California at the outbreak of the Civil War. Heading back east to New York, he was commissioned as Colonel and commander of the 32nd New York Volunteer Infantry. He commanded the regiment during the spring 1862 Peninsular Campaign, the Sugust 1862 Secind Bull Run Campaign, and the Antietam Campaign the following September. He was killed in action at the September 14, 1862 Battle of Crampton's Gap, Maryland.
Helen Eileen Beardsley (née Brandmeir, formerly North, April 5, 1930 – April 26, 2000) was the mother of the famous blended family of twenty children — eight by her first marriage to Richard North, ten stepchildren from the first marriage of her second husband Frank Beardsley, and two that she and Frank had during their marriage. She wrote a book (Who Gets the Drumstick?) about her family's experience. That book inspired two motion pictures titled Yours, Mine and Ours, a 1968 version starring Lucille Ball and a 2005 remake with Rene Russo.
Jess Jackson (born February 18, 1930 and raised in San Francisco, California) is an American wine entrepreneur and self-made businessman. He started the Kendall-Jackson wine empire with the family's 1974 purchase of an 80-acre pear and walnut orchard.
Ariana Richards (born September 11, 1979) is an American actress and professional painter. She is best known for her roles as Lex Murphy in the film Jurassic Park and as Carol Wetherby in the film Prancer.
Ralph Waldo Rose (March 17, 1885 – October 16, 1913) was an American track and field athlete. He was born in Healdsburg, California. A giant of a man at 6' 5 1/2" and 250 pounds, Rose was the first shot putter to break 50 feet. His world record of 51' 0", set in 1909, lasted for 16 years. won seven National AAU titles in the shot, discus and javelin. A competitor in three Olympic Games, Rose compiled a medal total of three golds, two silver and one bronze. At the 1904 Summer Olympics in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, he won the shot, was second in the discus, third in the hammer throw and sixth in the 56-pound weight throw.
Raymond Burr (May 21, 1917 – September 12, 1993) was a Canadian-born actor, primarily known for his title roles in the television dramas Perry Mason and Ironside. His early acting career included roles on Broadway, radio, television and in film, usually as the villain.He won two Emmy Awardsfor the role of Perry Mason, which he played for nine seasons between 1957 and 1966. His second hit series, Ironside, earned him six Emmy nominations, and two Golden Globe nominations.In addition to acting, Burr owned an orchid business and had begun to grow a vineyard in Healdsburg. He was a collector of wines and art, and was fond of cooking. Raymond Burr Winery is a favorite vineyard to visit.
Newsworthy Happenings: 1871 Opening day of the new San Francisco and North Pacific Railway in Healdsburg. Unlike many other small towns in Sonoma County, Healdsburg could offer those high school graduates the option of a college education. After the private Healdsburg Institute failed financially in 1881, the Seventh-day Adventist Church purchased the four-year old building. For a quarter of a century thereafter they ran it as Healdsburg College. In a town of only 4000 an estimated 700 people from Healdsburg saw military service during WW II. Healdsburg had the first ferry across the Russian River in 1859. The first Healdsburg Wheelmen meet, held at the old Matheson Field on August 11, 1895, caused great excitement locally. An estimated crowd of 500 turned out to watch the strictly amateur cyclers avoid ruts and chuckholes on the track during eight breathtaking races. Healdsburg is internationally famous among bicyclists for its scenic, rural back roads. The Annual "Healdsburg Harvest Century Bicycle Tour" is held every July. Del & Ray Lewand of the Camellia Inn founded the first association of bed and breakfast inns. This was the forerunner to the California Association of Bed and Breakfast Inns.