My kids don’t like mushrooms. But when they recently visited the California Wine Country, they didn’t get enough of them. While hiking through the Sonoma County Wine Estate Forest, Jack and Leah roamed the mud, digging into fallen leaves in search of a camouflaged hat. “Children are great foragers,” Donna Del Rey replied when asked the owner of Relish Culinary Adventures in Healdsburg, California, to hunt wild mushrooms. -Suitable for 6 and 9 years old. That was true and they weren’t just gathering. They packed and stored samples in our bags. Big, small, trampled and slimy. It didn’t matter. And if you were disappointed that you couldn’t eat any of what we found, it was all good for them.
Indeed, most travelers come to Sonoma County for wine, not Kinoma. Then again, most arrive without young children. But this fall, I faced a travel dilemma. My husband was approaching a milestone birthday. She wanted to postpone the plan for a pandemic and do something more exciting than serving homemade cakes in San Diego.
“”Healdsburg feels more rustic than Napa’s cousin.“
We were short of childcare, so the kids had to come with us and we wanted them to be absent from as few schools as possible. I found that I could fly to the wine country, which has many luxury hotels and delicious restaurants, in just 90 minutes. However, it is also a very adult destination, designed for prolonging meals and relaxing in the tasting room. Many wineries, and some hotels and restaurants, completely ban children.
One new exception: Montage Healdsburg, a 258-acre outpost for luxury resort brands that opened in early 2021. Located between Alexander, Dry Creek and the Russian River Valley, Healdsburg is one of my favorite wine country settlements. Where the village of Pomo used to be, it attracted new settlers during the gold rush and eventually became the center of agriculture. Prohibition declared Healdsburg a “prune belt buckle” when the vineyards were replaced by fruit trees.
The vines are back in the 1970s, but today dozens of notable wineries are scattered throughout the area. Still, it feels more like a laid-back, rustic, real town than Napa’s cousin, but Healdsburg has great restaurants. Since 2016, there is a Japanese-style single thread, one of California’s six Michelin-starred restaurants. SingleThread has a policy of no children under the age of 12, and the tasting menu is given a $ 425 leading tab. But that was another reason for choosing Healdsburg for a birthday trip. After many failures to secure the appointment, I put her husband and I on the waiting list and crossed my fingers. I will think about childcare later.
The montage wasn’t disappointing, either in appearance or for the family. There are floor-to-ceiling windows, decks overlooking vineyards and oak trees, and modern bungalows with outdoor fire pits.
Staff were able to welcome the children with one of the brand’s signature montage merit cards, track their completed local activities and receive badges. We played pickleball (easy with small arms and old knees) in the morning and afternoon and took archery lessons. Both are free. After that, adults enjoyed a cocktail in the lobby overlooking a row of vines, and children ate a bar of hot chocolate and cookies.
It was a wrong season for horseback riding and river kayaking, but we found a lot to get us hooked in and around Healdsburg. On a rainy afternoon, I browsed Copperfield’s Books, which has a decently sized kids section, and ate ice cream at Noble Folk Ice Cream and Pie Bar a few doors down. I thought I would just go through the Charles Schultz Museum in Santa Rosa, but the kids parked in the education center for hours and tried their strips.
Sonoma County didn’t have a weekend of wine, but there was a workaround. After arriving in Healdsburg, I received an email from Single Thread providing a table. Babysitters can indulge in a 10-course dinner and a hangover.
Child-friendly wine country
Healdsburg is about a 90-minute drive from San Francisco. Charles M. Schultz-Sonoma County Airport is just 15 minutes from the town and welcomes direct flights from 12 western cities.
Among Sonoma’s latest luxury resorts Montage Healdsburg, Spacious rooms, 2 swimming pools and a kids club on 258 acres of grounds. From $ 1,200 per night for up to 4 people
Century-old Costo French bakery The mainstay of brunch and pastries. Modest, French-influenced Valet overdelivery. Cheese and pork boards are a good appetizer for the family. Oakville grocery Wood-fired pizzas, gourmet sandwiches and salads are served in the main square of Healdsburg.Carnivorous families can head to Journeyman Meat Co., Ltd. For homemade aioli and salumi board burgers. Noble Fork Have something for every sweet tooth.Adults only Single thread It is temporarily closed, but is scheduled to open by April.
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