Today I’d love to share with you my recent travels to Northern California for a dear friend’s wedding, and as we drove past San Francisco, via the Golden Gate Bridge, we were treated to some of the most glorious scenery I’ve ever witnessed. Vineyards abounded all along the highway and the inroads of small towns and bigger cities, until we reached the historic town of Healdsburg in Sonoma County, where we spent a few fun days. Thousands of years ago, Sonoma was home to the Pomo Indians, but now ranks as a top seller of fine wines. Now, I ask you, is this not a beautiful sight?
Healdsburg was voted one of the Top Ten Smallest Towns in America due to the three most important award-winning wine producing regions of Dry Creek, Alexander and Russian River in Sonoma County. Healdsburg population is 11, 254. After the Gold Strike in 1849, many who didn’t find riches in gold, found something almost equally beneficial in this verdant rich farmland.
In 1857 there was a “squatters rights” war called the Westside Road War and Harmon Heald, an Ohio entrepreneur was one of the winners and Healdburg was founded. Harmon Heald was quick to construct a post office and general store in what is now called Downtown Healdsburg. He laid out a town grid and sold lots for $15 each and plotted his town in the Spanish style plaza design. The plaza still stands today and is host to free concerts, picnics and lively events. The town flourished with the arrival of the Northwestern Pacific Railway. Here are some pics of the plaza and a gorgeous horse sculpture near the entrance of City Hall. And of course, where do we choose to eat lunch while in Healdsburg in the heart of wine country? Well, at a brewery, of course! I’m not sorry, the fish and fries were delicious!Oh and the dessert was wonderful too.
As we toured around the amazing wineries of Sonoma and the miles and miles of vineyards, I found many that have been in business for over 100 years!
Here we are attending the wedding in Santa Rosa, just 12 miles from Healdsburg at the Paradise Ridge Winery. I tell a harrowing story on Facebook about how we got completely lost in the maze of vineyards and if not for a lovely older couple guiding us out, we would never have made the wedding in time. But in the end, we did and much fun was had.
I love learning the history of regions we travel. I find it so intriguing how towns get started and get their names. Do you love learning tidbits about places you visit? Does your town have an unusual history? Do you drink wine (if so, what’s your fav?) or are you more a beer or soda kind of person? I’d love to give away a backlist book and other goodies to one blogger today. Winner announced over the weekend! Be sure to check back!