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Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Haydon Street Inn: So nice I stayed there twice

Haydon Street Inn, Bed and Breakfast

Because I'd offered to come back up to Healdsburg to help my new friend Tracy, of the Wine Road, learn how to use the Wine Road's new GF2 Lumix camera for their company blog, they returned the favor by offering me a night's stay at the Healdsburg B&B of my choice! Imagine my surprise!

Velvet Covered Hangers

It was an easy decision. I asked to stay at the Haydon Street Inn again because, like a dope thief, I'd accidentally taken stolen two of their velvet covered hangers on my last visit. This was a perfect opportunity for me to return the "hot" hangers and rid myself of the cloud of guilt that had been "hanging" (ha ha, pun intended) over me for the past month. LOL

Co-owners Keren and John both laughed at me that I'd been carrying around guilt because they hadn't even noticed the hangers were missing.

But all kidding aside, even if I hadn't taken their hangers I still would have asked to stay at Haydon Street Inn again simply because I loved my first experience there so much.

Garden Room, Haydon Street Inn

This time I stayed in the cozy and quaint Garden Room. With shuttered windows that overlook the garden, a reading chair, a room air conditioner, and soothing pale blue walls I once again had no problem falling asleep that night when my head hit the pillow. And this time I hadn't sampled 19 wines that day nor was I on Dramamine. I did however, wake up at 4:15 AM that morning for the sunrise photo shoot on Baker Ridge. Even then, I credit the serene energy of the room as the reason I was so easily lulled to sleep.

Water, chocolates, B&B

And here's something funny I've noticed. At the Haydon Street Inn each room comes with complimentary bottled water and wifi. In larger hotels they will nickel and dime you for each of these amenities. For instance while I was in Seattle my hotel charged $3.00 for a bottle of in-room water and $14.95 for room wifi access, some of my conference counterparts were at a hotel that charged $8.00 for the same bottle of water and $13.95 for wifi in their rooms! I joked I'd sell them my bottle of water for $4.00. LOL. But seriously, this is a good reason to help support small businesses who give you both exceptional service and value at the same time.

B&B, Shower

Until I get a wide angle lens for my GF2 I'm so glad I have my little iPhone magnetic fisheye lens to help me get shots like this one. In the Garden Room the toilet is in its own little room called a "water closet" and the sink and walk-in marble shower (it's a beauty) are in a nook at the far end of the room.

Living Room, Haydon Street Inn

Upon my arrival the daily "wine time" was taking place where the inn's guests are able to socialize and chat over libations and finger food. As three couples, Keren and I chatted, I realized I was having a really terrific time. Eventually we disbanded and many of us wandered off to downtown Healdsburg in search of dinner.

I wasn't terribly hungry. Perhaps because of that I couldn't seem to find anything irresistibly appealing. Well, except for my brilliant plan to go to ZiN and order three desserts for dinner. Bwa ha ha. As I walked almost every block of downtown I ran into two of my "inn" mates on their way back to their car after dinner.

I finally gave up and hopped in my car but decided to drive out from the Healdsburg Plaza just a bit further than I'd walked. Eventually I stopped at a red light and across the street, and I saw it. Almost hidden at the end of a small strip mall, was a Japanese restaurant called Sake 'O.

Tropical Sushi Roll, Salmon, Mango, Avocado, Tobiko

They had the perfect dish. I ordered their Tropical (sushi) Roll which was salmon, mango, avocado and two colors of tobiko. It was a perfect portion and one of the best sushi rolls I've ever had!

I later learned from my friend Tracy that Sake 'O has one of the most extensive wines by the glass selections of many of the Wine Road's wineries.

B&B Breakfast Table

The next morning I got up an hour early and headed downstairs to take some pictures of the yard. I found John busy in the kitchen and the table already set for breakfast.

Hammock, Fire Pit Table, Inn Sign

Outside there was a hammock ready and waiting to be used. Sadly, I get motion sick in hammocks. #SucksToBeMe. There was also a neat table with a fireplace built into it. I'd love to have a fireplace table like this in my own backyard. And I still want that outdoor pizza oven I spotted on my previous visit!

Blue, Pink, Blooming Hydrangeas

Around the property the hydrangeas were all in bloom. I was trying to get a close up of one of them but was distracted by Haydon the cat who would have purr-ferred I pay attention to him instead. I started it when I petted him on the front porch when I first stepped outside. Just like that he knew he had me.

Black and White Cat
That's Haydon using his unblinking eyes to hypnotize me into petting him.

He is such a cute cat! Look at that face. And those feet! His dainty front paws turn outward which was funny to me. I'm pigeon toed and Haydon has duck feet. In the final picture he stares rather disdainfully at the flower that was drawing my attention away from him. As he rolled on his back before me how could I not set down my camera to give him some scritchy scratches?

Strawberry, Herbs, Mulberry

I also found herbs, ripe strawberries and a huge mulberry tree bearing fruit! I wish I had a mulberry tree! I'd be making mulberry smoothies, ice cream and sorbets. I'd even try making a galette! I've wanted to learn how to make one since having them in BerkeleyCarmel, and Healdsburg. :)

Blooming , White, Jasmine, Alyssum, Gardenia

There were also some delicate summer whites that included jasmine, alyssum and gardenias.

Macro Image, Succulent, Dew Drops

One last picture of a succulent covered with morning dew and it was time for breakfast. Tracy from the Wine Road was coming to join us because we had one last place to visit for a photo stop before I headed back to San Jose.

Breakfast, Strawberry Soup, Grapefruit Orange Juice, Oat Muffin

That morning John had prepared another outstanding meal for us. We began with an orange/grapefruit juice blend. The grapefruits came off a neighbor's tree across the street! The juice was served with a warm, freshly baked, Oat Bran Cranberry Muffin and a spoon full of Strawberry Soup. If you like strawberry jam you'll love John's Strawberry Soup!

Bourbon, Fried Apples

Our second course was Bourbon Fried Apples with thin strips of cinnamon and sugar encrusted pastry crust on top. So, here's the thing. I love apple pie filling. I love the crust on top of an apple pie. I don't like the crust on the sides or bottom. I mean I eat them because they're there but I don't particularly care for them. So this was a perfect, top crust only, apple pie solution to the anti-side-and-bottom-pie-crust dilemma I've battled my entire life. LOL

The afore mentioned galettes are another viable solution. Because the crust is free-formed and not in a pie pan, the sides brown just like the top leaving me only the bottom crust to deal with.

Pancakes, Bananas Foster

Our main course was Pancakes Banana's Foster. Another first for me. I don't like pancakes. Well, I guess I mean I don't like pancakes except for John's. No offense to my mom but I remember the pancakes from my childhood as being kind of doughy and bland. John's pancakes were flavorful and the cake itself was neither too wet nor dry. They were pancake perfection. And the Bananas Foster was so tasty (when isn't butter and brown sugar a winning combination?) I didn't even add any syrup to my plate.

Vacation Rental, B&B, Healdsburg

After breakfast Tracy and I lingered a bit chatting with Keren who had been taking care of all of us during breakfast.

Before we left we took one last peek into the Cottage Suite out back.

Bed and Breakfast, Master Bedroom

This is where I'm planning on staying when hubby and I come up to photograph the harvest in August or September. We just need to decide when and make a reservation. I really want to take pictures of pendulous clusters of purple grapes hanging from their vines before they're picked and turned into wine.

Interiors of Cottage Guest House
The Cottage viewed from the Garden Room and what it looks like inside.

Walking through the cottage your mind can't help but imagine how perfect it would be to live there. Imagine every morning having a three course breakfast (as beautiful as it is delicious) ready and waiting for you at 9:00 AM, being just a few short blocks away (walking distance) from Downtown Healdsburg, and a short drive to any vineyard in the Dry Creek, Alexander or Russian River Valleys. That would be a wonderful life :)

My thanks to the Wine Road for the overnight stay and to Keren and John for their hospitality. It was another experience that is making me realize that Healdsburg has quickly become my favorite place to visit.

Tomorrow I'll show you where Tracy and I went after breakfast. A clue: It was once featured on The Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives with host Guy Fieri.

To be continued...

Wine Road - Northern Sonoma County
"Founded more than 30 years ago, Wine Road is an association of wineries and lodgings in the Alexander, Dry Creek, and Russian River Valleys of Northern Sonoma County. From its modest beginning as an organization of nine wineries, it has grown into a spirited constellation of more than 150 wineries and 50 lodgings." Read more. . .


Haydon Street Inn
321 Haydon Street
Healdsburg, CA 95448


Sake 'O
505 Healdsburg Avenue.
Healdsburg, CA. 95448.
(Behind the West America Bank)
Closed on Mondays.

Past posts from Healdsburg include:

A return to Sonoma's Wine Road: Merriam Vineyards, Soda Rock & Hanna Winery

Wine Country Weddings: Say I Do on Baker Ridge at Thomas George Estates

Wineries, tasting rooms and the beauty of nature in Dry Creek Valley

The Wine Road Russian River Valley Wine Tour

Touring the Alexander Valley with the Wine Road

The B&B to stay at while touring Sonoma's Wine Road Featuring the Haydon Street Inn

I went on a Sonoma County Wine Country Adventure! Includes the list of bloggers I was on the Wine Road with for three days.

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