Sunday, July 17, 2011

Kid-Free Tuesday In & Near Healdsburg by Scott Krueger

Tangerine was the mimosa flavor of the day today, and I continued to drink this crazy Kool-Aid of unconventionality with uncomfortable pleasure.
As this was our final day in Healdsburg (yes, it was originally billed as a, “ Parents’ Kid-Free Week…”, like many parents’ kid-free encounters, they do not always last as long as originally planned), we decided to explore this charming town during the light of day. Prior to doing so, we felt compelled to take a quick morning trip just northeast of town to pay homage to a long-standing pillar of zinfandels in this region. We have enjoyed the full bodied, peppery zins from Ridge ( for a couple of decades, and agreed that we had to make this very short pilgrimage in order for our wine tasting week to be complete.
Ridge’s second winery, on Lytton Springs Road, recently completed a remodel of their tasting room and patio. We were quite fortunate to be guests on their new patio, having enjoyed a variety of their outstanding offerings while sitting within a few steps of the vineyards rolling out over the southern hills. This casually California, elegant facility met our high expectations, and has matched their high quality wines.
Top down on our two-seat, no room for kids, convertible, we made the short 15 minute return to the center of Healdsburg in search of a casual lunch and a pallet cleanser. In addition to its very central location amidst hundreds of wonderful wineries, Healdsburg happens to be home to Bear Republic Brewery (, makers of some of the finest micro-beers in the U.S. Bear Republic not only served up expectedly tasty beer, they also took their rightful place on the long list of delicious eating options that Healdsburg offered during our stay.
We spent the balance of the afternoon strolling around Healdsburg’s central square with no sense of urgency, visiting doors opening to tasting rooms, shops, and galleries. A fantastic lazy afternoon.
It was time. Our wine tasting week (or so) was over. We bid farewell to our new favorite vacation valley and headed south, back toward the bay area, and ultimately an airplane. We did this with great comfort in the fact that within a short time we will be able to be drinking the fruits of our vacation within our own mansion.

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