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Friday, September 28, 2012

B&B Review: Sonoma Wine Country's Haydon Street Inn

On my most recent trip to Healdsburg I stayed at my favorite B&B the charming Haydon Street Inn. (Admittedly, it is the only B&B I've stayed at on my three trips so far but I love everything about it so I haven't ventured forth to try any others.)

The parlor (lower right) hosts a wine happy hour each evening.

One of the inn's best features is its location is perfect! Nestled just a few blocks from the Plaza in downtown Healdsburg, you can easily walk to dinner or wander about shopping or visiting a spa.

The interior is decorated in a modern victorian style so it's not filled with lacey doilies or curtains, which was good since hubby was with me and doesn't care for overly feminine, fru fru decor.

On my first visit I stayed in the Rose Room and on my second visit the Garden Room. This time we stayed in the Turret Room, a queen deluxe room. Upon entering any room at the inn you'll always spot a tray with complimentary chocolates and bottled water which is a very nice touch as larger hotels often charge $4 to $8 for a bottle of in-room water.

We checked in just past 3:00 PM. As soon as I walked In I was thinking eeeeeek I love this room! The first thing I noticed was the slanted ceiling. That's because we were staying above the round front porch below so we were beneath a pitched section of the roof. The next thing I noticed was the stained glass window over the bed. It was a lovely touch!

Hubby called dibs on the tall side of the ceiling since he's about nine inches taller than me. He thought the far side of the bed area looked cramped. I thought it was cozy and was very much looking forward to curling up in it that evening.

The room is so special. It includes a vintage armoire, a gas fireplace, and right beside it, across from the bed was a small, claw foot, bathtub! Above the tub is an air conditioning unit we turned on in the late afternoon. It quickly brought the room to a comfortable temperature.

The luxury! The sad thing was I never did make time to try out the tub but it's funny how being near luxurious amenities, even if you don't use them, can make one feel pampered nonetheless. If you stay in the Turret Room bring an old fashioned, printed on paper book and slip into the tub for some R&R. The sky light would make a perfect reading light during the day.

The Turret Room also includes a mini fridge could hold leftovers from lunch or dinner, a bottle of wine, or a wine country picnic foods grocery run from Jimtown.

While the bedroom has lost a bit of space due to the pitched roof, the bathroom makes up for it completely. It is large, light and bright. I loved the pedestal sink and double windows.

The shower was spacious and an elegant touch was that it is on the opposite side of the stained glass window over the bed. I'd never before thought of how stained glass could be used as an interior window. It was gorgeous. I would have taken a picture of it while I was in the shower but my camera isn't waterproof :)

Our first night went without incident. We opened the little window over the bed to let in some fresh air and I slept soundly through the night, which is unusual for me. Since returning from NYC in August I'd been suffering from insomnia again often sleeping as little as 3-4 hours each night :(

The next morning I awoke bright eyed and bushy tailed. I took a shower and headed downstairs to photograph the patio and garden.

We didn't come on a weekend so we missed out on sampling the weekend wood fired pizza made in the brick pizza oven co-owner (and former professional chef) John Harasty built himself.

And while I may miss out on pizza every time, I am always greeted by Haydon the cat during my morning photo sessions. He's so cute and friendly! If you love cats pet him. He will love you forever. I love him equally. With a face like that how could I resist? That's hubby's hand petting him. Hubby loves cats so it was no hardship for him and it allowed me to get a nice shot of Haydon from further away. Normally he's all over me and walks directly into the camera each time I aim it his way.

Visit Healdsburg in early September and you'll see grapes everywhere! Even the B&B had a tiny, bonsai-like, grape vine with a single cluster of grapes ready to harvest. So cute!

There's something about the soft morning light that I love when it comes to photographing flowers.

There were tiny drops of water on many of the flowers. I wasn't sure if it was from a sprinkler or if it was morning dew.

Either way there is something visually poetic about seeing glistening fresh flowers early in the morning. It's something I never take the time to enjoy at home but It's become part of my ritual when staying at the Haydon Street Inn. This time of year there weren't a lot of flowers in the garden but I've come to realize that quantity isn't necessary for enjoyment. Just find a single flower and look at it. Really see it and it can fill your senses no matter how petite it may be. It's almost a meditative way of enjoying flowers.

At 9:00 AM it was time for breakfast. This is another of the inn's best features. The food is always fantastic. The table was set, guests were heading downstairs and I was kind of dreading how hubby, the picky eater, would do being served a three course breakfast.

Our first course was a spoon of fresh peach soup and a freshly baked, cranberry, oat bran, mini muffin. I loved both. Hubby declined to try either. This caused one of the other house guests to ask if he was a picky eater. As he regaled them with his story of dismay that the previous evening Campo Fina didn't serve Coca Cola®, Innkeeper John, who made us our wonderful breakfast, couldn't help but over hear and notice that hubby wasn't even touching his food.

So when he brought out the second course he mentioned the fruit had been marinated in Coke. *wink wink* :P Hubby ate the fruit. Not because he believed John but because he likes fruit.  LOL

Our main course was a Monterey Jack Cheese Omlet with spinach pesto. There was also a small, house made, sausage patty which hubby did eat. The rest of his breakfast? He passed on.

Some of my friends think it must be mortifying for me that hubby is such a picky eater. Others, friends and strangers alike, wonder how we ever even became a couple since I enjoy food so much and hubby once said if he could take a pill to not have to bother with eating he would. But the thing is I try to be understanding that I can't expect or force him to learn how to enjoy food more any more than he can force or expect me to enjoy food less. Clearly we have different taste buds so it's not unusual to find me gushing over a dish and hubby's opinion will be more along the lines of "Meh, it's ok."

Our second night was a bit more eventful. It all began with a long day of sight seeing and a glass of wine at dinner. Yes, I drank this entire glass of wine! It was the same 2009 Botrytis Chardonnay I'd sampled back in May from the Russian River Vineyards.

Botrytis (pronounced Bow-try-tis) is a sweet dessert wine similar to an ice wine. The Botrytis occurs because of a special mold, Botrytis cinerea aka Noble Rot, that causes the grapes to lose their water content concentrating the sugars to produce a very sweet wine. Ice wine is made from grapes allowed to over ripen and "freeze" on the vine which also reduces their water content and concentrates their sugar. They, along with muscat/muscato wines, are the only wines my over sensitive, super taster tongue is able to enjoy.

After dinner we stayed late on the property taking pictures so we didn't get back to our room until sometime after 10:00 PM.

I set up my camera's flash card to download the pictures I'd taken that day and laid across the foot of the bed watching the images whiz by as they loaded into my computer. As I recall within moments I fell asleep. I do remember waking up at least two times and noticing my pictures were still loading so I fell back to sleep each time.

At one point I remember hubby trying to wake me telling me to change my clothes, brush my teeth and get ready for bed. Allegedly, I told him to leave me alone or I would punch him. Probably in the face. This mean streak has nothing to do with the wine. I often get angry at him for waking me at home when all I've had to drink is water. But I can't help it. I'm really not thinking clearly the moment I wake up. I think it's because usually it's so hard for me to fall asleep once I do I resent being forced to wake up.

So the funny part came when hubby wanted to go to bed. I'd made it clear to him not to mess with me so I think he was too scared to say anything because the truth is I really would try to hit him in my sleepy stupor. The problem, was that since I was lying across the entire foot of the bed he couldn't fit in the bed himself. Hmm, what to do?

The next morning he told me he had to grab me by my ankles and spin me around 90Âș to point me in the correct direction for sleeping. Then he moved to the side of the bed, grasped me around the shoulders/upper arm area and drug my still sleeping form higher onto the bed so that my head was on the pillow. LOL. I don't remember any of it.

LOL Flat Stacie and John at the Haydon Street Inn.

I was conked out. And it only took one glass of wine. Well, a day of hiking in a redwood forest, tromping around Downtown Guerneville, hiking up Baker ridge at Thomas George Estates to shoot for three hours then dinner and winding down with a glass of wine before shooting some cool night photography at Russian River Vineyards. I'll tell you about all of that in my next wine country post.

The following morning was another glorious day in Sonoma. The sky was blue and the roses were in bloom out in front of the inn.

Breakfast began with a berry fruit smoothie served shooter style with. . .

. . . a warm mango scone. Hubby ate his mango scone which shocked everyone around the table LOL.

Our second course was fresh fruit artfully arranged on square white plates. I always feel as if I'm dining in a fine restaurant at the Haydon Street Inn. I've never been to another B&B or restaurant that plates their morning fruit so beautifully.

Our main course was a Spinach Frittata garnished with feta cheese and a red pepper coulis. It was DELICIOUS. Seriously, this was my favorite breakfast I've had so far. The eggs were light, moist and tender and the flavor so savory it made my mouth water as I was eating it. The next time I plan a trip to stay at the inn I just may have to ask what day will John be serving the spinach frittata and book accordingly :D

If hubby comes with me I'm bringing a cooler so that I can bring all of his leftover food home with me to eat when I'm back in San Jose.

Thank you to Innkeepers Keren and John for the delightful stay. I really think the Inn is perfect because of your friendliness, location, beautiful rooms, lovely garden and fantastic food. It's a combination that would make any guest feel comfortable and pampered. You make me want to buy a house next door so that I can pay you a monthly fee and come over for breakfast every morning. I know my eating habits would improve if you were my neighbors :)

To visit the Haydon Street Inn here's all you need to know:

Innkeepers: John Harasty and Keren Colsten
Haydon Street Inn - website
321 Haydon Street
Healdsburg, CA 95448 - click here for map
(707) 433-5228
(800) 528-3703

Past posts about the Haydon Street Inn include:

The B&B to stay at while touring Sonoma's Wine Road

The Haydon Street Inn: So nice I stayed there twice

The Wine Road Russian River Valley Wine Tour

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