Hotel Les Mars: A 16-room boutique hotel that feels like you are staying in a European estate, but you are in the heart of Downtown Healdsburg.
- At check-in you are greeted with a glass of bubbly, and then shown to your room. Each of the rooms are huge – almost 500 square feet, including a fireplace, beautiful marble bathroom with spa/soaking tub and, we all agreed, the most comfortable beds we have ever slept in! The four poster canopy beds are a signature of the hotel, the custom mattresses are available for purchase through the hotel, along with the linens and down pillows and comforters. We are seriously considering…!
- A french style breakfast is served in room each morning between eight and ten. We loved starting our day with French press coffee, croissants, fresh fruit and yogurt. There are also options to order a full breakfast. The hotel hosts a nightly wine and cheese reception with wines from favorite local wineries and turn down service includes the most delicious treats. The mini bar is complimentary and the hotel has a no tipping policy.
- The service was impeccable. The staff greeted us by name the entire time and could not have made us feel more at home. One evening the scheduled winery didn’t show up to conduct the tasting, so the staff ran across the street to the Gustafson tasting room and brought back wine for us to try. Plus, the location of Hotel Les Mars is perfect. It’s a quick walk to any restaurant or shopping in Downtown Healdsburg.
- Chalkboard: Adjacent to Hotel Les Mars, Chalkboard is a bistro with a small plates menu, perfect for sharing! The emphasis is on local seasonal ingredients. Many of the ingredients used come from the gardens of the nearby Chalk Hill Estate Vineyards. Our evening began with shots of pumpkin soup- so good 🙂 The duck confit pasta blew our minds and the raw bar was excellent. The wine list was stellar and the sommelier had great suggestions for us. We enjoyed our meal here so much that we had a really hard time not coming back a second night, but with so many other dining options to try, we just couldn’t!
- Vallette: Fairly new to the dining scene in Healdsburg, Vallette is getting rave reviews and we agree! Owned by two brothers and housed in a building that once belonged to their great-grandmother, the history and family vibe is great- as well as the food. We started with foie gras special- wonderful! While everything we had was outstanding, the duck breast and crispy black skin cod were highlights.
- Scopa: This hidden restaurant (located underneath a Barber Shop sign) is a delicious spot for dinner. It’s tiny, so reservations are a must! Start with a bottle of sparkling rosé to have with appetizers. We shared the burrata, chestnut budino and Sicilian olives. The rib-eye for two was incredible, Nonna’s tomato-braised chicken is a must and you can’t go wrong with any of the pasta dishes. The only thing we didn’t try was the pizza- next time!
- Willi’s Seafood and Raw Bar: We’ve eaten at Willi’s a few times before and it never disappoints. The small plates restaurant makes for a fun dinner with family or a group of friends. We shared about twelve dishes, each one better than the last. Must try: tuna tartare, bacon wrapped scallops, flash fried calamari and the cast iron fish and chips.
- Healdsburg Shed: Located across the street from Hotel Les Mars, the Healdsburg Shed is a farm to table café, coffee shop and local housewares shop. Each morning we wandered over for lattes before taking off to a day full of vineyards.
- Flying Goat Coffee: Another great coffee shop in Downtown Healdsburg within easy walking distance of Hotel Les Mars.
- Gott’s Roadside Burgers: Located in St. Helena, this is a perfect stop for lunch between winery visits, if you’re wine tasting in the area. We ate here before our Schramsberg tasting and tour. It has a great, casual atmosphere and some of the best burgers we’ve had. Must try: Burgers, crispy brussels sprouts and ABLT (avocado, bacon, lettuce and tomato). Also, we love that despite the fact you’re eating outdoors, the wine is served in Reidel stems 🙂 Be prepared for a line!
- Campo Fina: This is a fun lunch spot owned by the same family that owns Scopa. We had one of the best salads we have ever had and the pizza was perfect. Loved!
- Copain: Our first vineyard visit and tasting, and definitely one of our favorites. Just a few minutes drive from Healdsburg, Copain is set on a rolling hill overlooking the Russian River Valley. The views are breathtaking and the winery is such a peaceful place. Our wine tasting included little bites of local cheese, fruit and salami to pair with each wine. We loved the French style that Copain strives for in its wines. After our tasting, we got a glass of wine and sat in the Adirondack chairs overlooking the beautiful valley- heavenly!
- Jordan: We had a lovely time on this tour and tasting. We walked the grounds and learned a lot about the history of Jordan and the estate. They have had the same winemaker overseeing the winery for 33 years! Our tasting was paired with delicious bites prepared for each wine by the resident chef.
- Chalk Hill: A beautiful property in Russian River Valley. We loved the Chardonnay and the Merlot. The tasting views were incredible and a Hummer tour of the 1,000 acre property was the icing on the cake!
- Roth: Located across the street from Chalk Hill. On the recommendation of Chalk Hill, we went here for a picnic lunch in between tastings. Roth is a super laid-back and fun place to be. All the tables are outside, there are huge Jenga blocks, corn hole and other games to play and the lunch is such a fun idea. You order sandwiches and they come “make your own” with meat, cheese, bread, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and sides – all in a darling hamper. We all said if we lived near the area we would come on the weekend to relax.
- Lancaster: We loved visiting Lancaster and experiencing the wine tour inside the caves. Afterward, it was so beautiful sitting outside under the trees enjoying some of the delicious Lancaster wines.
- Schramsberg: This was at the top of the girls list – for the bubbles of course! The tour was super impressive (we learned how to saber!) and the sparkling wine was just what the doctor ordered after tasting a lot of reds!
- Iron Horse: Known for their sparkling wine and Pinot Noir, this was a hit for all of us. The winery is practically in the middle of nowhere, actually in the midst of the vineyards where the grapes are grown for each of their wines. The views were incredible, we loved the laid back vibes and the wine was delicious.
- Others to try near Healdsburg that we have done on previous trips: Garden Creek, Truett Hurst, Bella, Preston, Paul Hobbs and Williams Selyem.
Many of these wineries are by appointment only, so be sure to check before you go. Once we decided where we wanted to visit, Hotel Les Mars did a wonderful job of scheduling our tastings for us. We received a VIP welcome everywhere we went 🙂
Things to do (other than wine tasting):
- Walk around downtown Healdsburg: Healdsburg is such a charming town. There are so many well-known restaurants, art galleries and wonderful shopping. All within a few streets!
- Horseback Ride through the vineyards. This is our number one “to do” for our next trip. One of the rides is through Chalk Hill Estate. We can’t think of anywhere more beautiful to horseback ride!
- Hot Air Balloon Ride: Something we have yet to do, but would love to try on our next trip!
- Rent Bikes: Rent bikes and explore the area. The rolling hills are beautiful and quaint spots for lunch just outside the city.
- Drive: Some of our favorite drives are in the area. The trees, hills and beautiful wineries and ranches make driving a joy. You are also pretty close to the coast, so you can drive out to the coast for a fresh seafood lunch and exploring!
As you can see, there is so much to do in Healdsburg and the surrounding areas. We have already started our list of where to taste, eat and what to do for our next trip there! If you are wondering about taking a baby to Wine Country, we highly recommend it! Everyone was so kind and accommodating. There was only one winery where William was not allowed on the tour, due to liability issues of exploding bottles, but the staff was so kind and brought Jean tastings of all the wine, while she and William enjoyed the grounds. We would love to hear from you if you are planning a trip in the future!