Warning: Before reading, carefully consider if you are truly the foodie and boozie traveler. This is not for the light-hearted or the light-weighted or anyone on a diet.
Only have a short time to visit? Perfect for that 3-day weekender from the BIG city (San Francisco). Here is your planned out food and booze itinerary so you skip what you don’t need and make sure to get in the places you MUST visit.
First, you need to book a room. We’ve heard of the AirBnB but the true Wine Country traveler books a lavish room starting at $150/night (off-season pricing). Your main food hub is in Healdsburg and can be turned into a walking and dining experience (check out the secrets to a successful Healdsburg wining and dining tour that’s self-guided).
Stay in Santa Rosa for the most inexpensive, Guerneville for funky, Geyserville for rustic views, and Healdsburg for high-end – I’d try to stay on someone’s couch and in return buy the host dinner.
Now, plan strategically. These are the areas to visit and how much to expect to pay (depending on how much you can eat and drink:
Day 1: North: (Healdsburg/Geyserville) Everything is walkable except the drive to Geyserville $200-$400
9:00 Breakfast at The Parish – New Orleans inspired breakfast and PoBoys. Don’t forget the fried pickles!
12:45 Back to Healdsburg, Take a look around The Cheese Shop – buy some exotic, creamy, funky, briny, just about anything cheese
1:15 AppeTEASERS at Bravas – Bacon wrapped dates and the Goat Cheese Tostada with one of their famous Gin & Tonics.
2:00 Lunch at Campo Fina – Best sandwiches in town, but don’t forget to order the buratta and the tuna salad. (lunch stops serving at 230 but you can still order buratta and arancini)
3:00 Walk around the plaza and stop into some funky shops: antique/ vintage stores, art galleries, book stores. Or relax in the plaza with your cheese. Mill St. Antiques, Harvest Antiques and Healdsburg Vintage
3:00 Wine taste:
thumbprint cellars – cool lounge (open until 6)
Hawley – creative art as well as wine and oh so hip (open until 6)
Gustafson – tasty and next to Hawley (open until 7)
5:30 Flight of beer at Bear Republic
Need a snack? Yes, but don’t fill-up, you’ve got some great dinner choices.
6:15 Sweet potato fries with truffle sauce at The Wurst
6:45 Cocktail Hour at Spoonbar. They have a book of great cocktails, it’s really hard to choose one. (examples here) Stay and have a few great plates: The flight of various fish preparations, thai beet boudin, roasted duck & brioche pudding)
I recommend 2 plates at each one:
7:20 Barndiva: yellowfin tuna sashimi, lobster risotto, crispy pork belly
8:30 Chalkboard: crudo of the day, beef tartar, one of the creative pastas, candy bar or seasonal doughnut (kitchen closes at 9)
Bergamot– Free concerts on Sunday, Hangout for a glass of wine or beer or sake: they’ve got a ton of bottles
Spoonbar – crafty cocktails, open seating
Day 2: West Sonoma County (Guerneville/ Freestone/ Occidental/ Bodega Bay/ Sebastopol/ Graton/ Forestville) $300-$400
8:00 I’d suggest a quick stroll or small hike at Armstrong Woods with all this eating!
9:30 Drive to Freestone to stop into Wild Flour for some of the best breads (wood fired in a brick oven). Pick up some coffee and breakfast bread such as the Jungle (bananas, walnuts, cardamom) or Egyptian (pear, fig, candied ginger) bread. Their olive rosemary bread sells fast!
10:00 If you are still hungry, stop by Howard’s for a real hearty diner breakfast done right. I had the salmon and eggs benedict yummm.
11:00 Head to Bodega Bay:
11:45 Patrick’s Salt Water Toffee – cute pink shack on the side of the Bodega Hwy.
6:00 Grab a pre-dinner bite at Underwood (Assiette de Fromage)
7:30 Head to Forestville for a Farmhouse Michelin star 3-course dinner (starts at $79 per person)
9:00 Backyard nibbles and wine (if you can fit it in after Farmhouse) – matzah ball soup, persimmon flat bread, rock rod or pot pies – the menu changes frequently
Head to Santa Rosa for your last night nightlife or the LGBT bar Rainbow Cattle in Guernville
9:55 Sift Cupcake & Dessert Bar (open until 10 Fri and Sat)
Toad in the Hole Pub – (best fish and chips)
Whisky Tip – beer pong, corn hole, jumbo Jenga
Belly Left Coast Kitchen & Tap Room – great beer selection
Day 3: (Santa Rosa/Petaluma/ Rohnert Park) $150-$250
9:00 Brunch at Spinster Sisters (House made kimchi and Bacon deviled egg)
10:30 Antique rummaging – Treasure House, Harry’s Second Hand Warehouse, Every Sunday The Forty and 8 Flea Market 7am -3 pm
11:30 Order a beer flight at Russian River Brewing Co. beer (blind pig ale, Row2)
12:30 Around the corner is Belly Left Coast for lunch and beer if you can fit anymore
1:00 Vintage shopping: Skirt Chaser and Hot Couture in Railroadsquare
2:30 Tastings at Cellars of Sonoma and Lost Canyon
4:00 A little Sumpthin’ at Lagunitas Brewing Co.
6:00 Hana Sushi in Rohnert Park before leaving (great sushi, given an OMG rating)