Wednesday, February 19, 2014

It's DIY Winter in Healdsburg

Have you ever wondered if there is more to do in Healdsburg than wine?

In February and March, there are a plethora of fun, interesting, Do It Yourself (DIY) kinds of events to sign up for that don't have a thing to do with wine.

Here is a brief list:

  • DIY Bike Tours from Wine Country Bikes. $39 pp for Trek Hybrids.
  • Dry Creek Peach Wreath Making (from leftover peach branches)
  • Soapbox Series at Francis Ford Coppola Winery.  Guest speakers every Friday, stumping about their passion (craft brewing, local fisheries, astronomy, etc.).
  • Cheesemaking Workshop (two-day) at Relish Culinary.
  • Crochet a Windowpane Scarf at Purls of Joy, $15, call to sign up. 707.433.5697.
  • Make Kumbucha, Water Kefir & Lacto-Fermented Sodas at Healdsburg Shed. $50
  • Wild Mushroom Foray at Relish Culinary
  • Healing Through Nature at Dragonfly Floral, $195
  • Garden to Glass Cocktails at H2 Hotel. $50
  • Jazz on the Menu to benefit the music program at Healdsburg Schools. 
  • Interactive Greek Cooking Class at Taverna Sofia - How to Make Baklava.  $120
  • Chamber Music at Healdsburg Shed, $25.
  • Beauty of Blossoming Branches, a how-to on forcing flowering branches. Dragonfly Floral, $95.*
If you book a full-priced room with us, we will apply up to a $50 credit, for any of these classes.

There are, of course, many wine-related fun activities, food pairings, wine blendings, barrel tastings, wine cave tours. So, get out that creative or energetic hat, and come on up to Healdsburg.  We still have plenty of rooms.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Love is in the air.

It's that time of year when our thoughts turn particularly to our life partners, our husbands, our wives, our children, those we love, and something special we can do for and/or with them.

Here at the inn, we are lucky to get to play a part in romantic getaways for Valentine's Day.  We have been the landing spot for couples to get engaged, we sometimes provide the lodging for bridal parties, families of the bride, families of the groom, friends of the bride or groom.  Healdsburg is a wonderful destination for weddings and our inn, the Haydon Street Inn, is a particularly romantic spot.

We have nooks and crannies where you can hide away and relax.  There are tables and chairs on our patio tucked into the garden where you can relax and read a book.  There are chairs in the front yard and when it's warm enough, a hammock in which to relax.  Or, grab that book (or Kindle) that you haven't been able to finish and enjoy the porch swing or rockers on our wraparound porch.  The scent of the flowers and trees nearby waft by and it's hard not to relax and enjoy.

We offer sparkling wine we can have chilled and ready for you when you arrive, to toast the start of a nice weekend.  We also offer chocolate covered strawberries and our homemade candied walnuts, or a bouquet of flowers to greet you when you arrive.

But if Valentine's Day is not your thing and you need an excuse for a getaway; what about a girls' getaway weekends, mother-daughter trips, wine tours, craft beer tastings, cheese tastings, food tours, DIY class weekend, hiking, biking or kayaking weekend. There's so much to do and see and feel and taste.

We currently have some guests from Michigan who are thoroughly enjoying Healdsburg and Northern California.  It's extremely cold and snowy where they are from, and our moderate an extremely warm winter has them entranced.  They are amazed by the fruit on the trees, the flowers that are in full bloom, and the intoxicating scents from the winter buds like our daphne.

So if you're looking for a great little getaway, a romantic interlude, or are just sick and tired of seeing snow, Healdsburg is the place for you.  We hope to see you soon.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Coffee or Tea?

Life is full of choices.  The morning cup is an easy one.  All you have to say is yes.  Whatever warms you, stimulates your taste buds, makes you feel good, helps you get your morning started...that's what you should drink.

When we knew we were buying a bed and breakfast, we wanted to serve local coffee and tea.  But we wanted a coffee that would suit all of our guests.  Now that's a tall order.  We looked for one with bold flavor, but not burnt.  We wanted a delicious aroma, but no acidic bite.  We wanted one with hints of chocolate, with rich flavor and color.  One with good coffee flavor, but not too strong, and certainly not too weak.

We searched out local coffee roasters, explained our mission, and got samples.  We began our coffee tasting with about 25 different pounds of coffee.  Enlisting John's siblings as helpers with our coffee tasting, we began our quest.  We brewed two different pots each morning...tasted them, discarded or kept the ones that we liked.  The ones we liked would then get compared to a new flavor and so on.  The coffee that we settled on is roasted in Healdsburg, by our neighbors who also live in Healdsburg, and it's delicious!

We decided on Wolf Coffee Wake-up Blend.   Not only is it a delicious cup of coffee, with deep, rich flavors, no burnt taste, smooth, not acidic, but it's also organic and fair trade.  It makes us feel good about the coffee we drink and the coffee we serve our guests.

We serve a drip style in our dining room when you come down for that first cuppa joe.  And then on the breakfast table, we treat you with a french press.  We add a hint of cinnamon to our french press, and the results are and extra rich and delicious mouthful.

But what about tea?  We found a wonderful brand of tea that is from Novato, California--Republic of Tea.  The names of their teas are a little quirky and we liked that.  Like, British Breakfast instead of English Breakfast, and Ginger Peach Longevity Tea.  These teas are full of flavor, and we have all the typical flavors, but a few special flavors like the Ginger Peach or Blackberry Sage.  We also offer green tea and some herbal varieties.

So whatever your "cup-o-tea" is, we have something that will be just right for you.  Come visit soon and enjoy a cup with us.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy New Year! What's new?

The holidays were wonderful.  We had warm, sunny days and cool nights.  There were parties to attend, family time and even a little down time.  So, as the ball dropped and the new year came in with a bang...what will be new for 2014?

At the +Haydon Street Inn we are in the midst of our winter remodeling and maintenance activities. John is replacing a slightly worn out and dated bathroom with a gorgeous new shower and a new vanity with lots of counter space and storage.  That room also got gorgeous, new, wood windows that will offer lots of light in that bathroom.  Stay tuned for pictures.

We're painting, cleaning, restaining, refinishing, repairing, replacing and making things look great for our guests.

We are also reassessing how we do things, so we can be as ecologically sound as possible.  We send our food scraps and yard waste to be composted.  We recycle our paper, glass and plastic. Our old magazines are taken to the local hospital for their rooms and waiting rooms.

We are replacing as many of our standard light bulbs with power saving ones.  Each room as their own A/C unit, so room temperatures can be controlled individually.  To save on power and water resources, we give our guests the option to reuse their linens.  Of course, we are happy to replace towels when requested (simply by leaving them on the floor).  We have replaced older plumbing with more efficient models.

We grow some of our own herbs, vegetables, press our own olive oil, use the lemons, oranges and limes that grow in our yard when we bake, and candy the walnuts from our huge walnut tree that shades our parking lot. For our efforts, +TripAdvsior has awarded us the Green Leader Silver Level.

We hope that if you've never been to +Healdsburg, you will be a "new" guest for us in 2014. Happy New Year.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

"I'm dreaming of a White Christmas"

Christmas Tree at the Haydon Street Inn

Welcoming Front Entry Way

Well actually, that's a lie.  We're both happy we don't have "white" Christmases anymore.  We like seeing pictures of them elsewhere though--the trees laden with snow, the streets all sparkly and white.  Our weather forecast is highs in the 60s in the daytime and lows in the 30s at night.  We can deal with that, and enjoy the evenings by the fire.

Holiday Wreath from Star (Thanks, Star)
This weekend are one of the hosts of the Victorian Inn Tour in Healdsburg.  From 2-4 pm, the general public is welcome to browse through the Haydon Street Inn (and five others in Healdsburg, CA), sample our delicious peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, enjoy the Christmas decorations and carols that we play. The inn will smell, feel and look like Christmas.  It's fun to see how many will dress up in their Christmas finery for the tours.  We collect $5 for a food donation to benefit the Healdsburg Food Pantry.  Our local food pantry serves over 2,500 people every week.  We are happy to contribute.

On Sunday and Monday, the Healdsburg Community Chorus will be presenting their "Jingle Bells" concert; on Sunday at 3 pm, and Monday at 7 pm at the Healdsburg Community Church.  Tickets are $18, available at the door. I understand it will probably be a sell-out crowd, and possibly standing room only!  Hooray.

Also in Healdsburg during the holiday season is the "Presents Project."  This project, spearheaded by one of our friends, has people "adopt" families who would normally not have a very merry Christmas, and each person gets to submit a Santa wish list.  The children who wish for bikes ALWAYS get them.  Most of the wish list items are filled.  It's a loving, sharing, giving, wonderful event.

Because our families are mostly far away, we get to spend our Christmas holiday with our Healdsburg "family" and friends.  It's a wonderful, friendly place where we landed, and at this time of year (and many other times too), we are reminded of how grateful we are to be where we are and we give thanks.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

We don't hibernate in the Winter!

What do we do when the temps drop, the chance of rain is high, and the occupancy plummets?  We do projects!  It's our fix-up time of year.  We paint, repair, replace, rebuild.

In past years our projects included remodeling some of the bathrooms.  We added rainfall showerheads to all of the bathrooms.  Retiled where the tile was old or in poor condition.  We added ceiling fans in all of the guest rooms.  We replaced old and worn fixtures with newer ones.  A few years ago we built a wood-fired pizza oven on the patio.  We have repainted or redecorated most of the rooms.

This year, we are remodeling the bathroom in our Queen Deluxe room.  Previously, the Turret Room had a smallish shower and a pedestal sink.  We have torn out the old tile down to the studs.  We are adding a large vanity so there will be plenty of counter space.  We will completely retile and expand the shower.  This bathroom also has two very large windows that provide lots of natural light.  We are replacing the windows, as they were in poor condition, with beautiful wood windows.  They will not only enhance the beauty of the room, but also improve its energy efficiency.  More pictures to come.

Although we are remodeling, the Haydon Street Inn is still open!  So, come on up and enjoy this slower-paced, more relaxed time of year in wine country.  We also offer wonderful Winter Specials...we hope you will take advantage of them.

And for that person who has everything, we offer gift certificates for holiday gift giving.  Please give us a call to arrange a certificate.

Stay warm and Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

In the Land of Fruits and Nuts

The morning radio broadcast said it is in the 20s!  Brrrr! The sun is already up and the temps are supposed to warm to a brisk 50.

As I sit here writing, I am looking out over our Meyer lemon tree full of gorgeous fruit.  I can see our lime tree a few feet away, and know that our blood orange and clementine trees next to them are full of fruit. It makes it so much easier to accept the cold.

The Meyer lemon tree gives us (and our neighbors) lemons twice a year.  We use them for the zest and juice in our cooking.  When we get enough to juice, we juice the lemons and freeze the juice.  We use the fruit from our orange tree along the driveway in the same way, and serve little slices during wine hour sometime so that our guests can try the sweet and tangy flavor.

We have a century old walnut tree shading our parking lot.  It yields walnuts in one harvest that will last us the entire year.  We freeze them and then candy them and leave them out for our guests.  In 2012 that old tree yielded 26 gallons of nuts.  That's a lotta crackin'!  Luckily, NFL season begins simultaneously with walnut season.  So, Sunday is walnut cracking day.

In the fall we pick olives and press our own oil.  That also goes on our wine hour plates for dipping.  The oil is so delicious.  It's herbaceous, nutty, peppery, buttery.  I'm sure if we pondered that long enough we could think of other wine-like descriptors.  This year, we will begin to offer small bottles of our oil for sale.  We also cure our own olives, again a wine hour offering.

In the spring we also get a small, yellow, French variety of plum, Mirabelle, as well as a small red plum. They are bite sized and delicious and our guests enjoy them when we leave a bowl out to share.

We grow lemon thyme, oregano, basil, peppers, lemongrass, tomatoes, figs, and this year we planted Santa Rosa plums, peaches (with three varieties), and a sweet cherry.

Come and visit our little slice of the Garden of Eden here in wine country, Healdsburg, California.