Although it’s one of Sonoma County’s oldest cities, new home communities like this one offer charming homes in this northern city.
Small town preserves historic identity in 21st century world
Incorporated in 1867, Healdsburg is one of Sonoma County’s older cities, named for Harmon Heald who opened a trading post on the Russian River there in the 1840s. The Russian River runs along the west side of town, Fitch Mountain rises in the east and vineyards extend in every direction, giving Healdsburg a distinct identity and irresistible allure to locals and visitors alike.
Healdsburg’s heritage is evidenced by the charming town square and surrounding Queen Anne Victorians, small farmhouses and California bungalows along tree-lined streets; its modern vitality is illustrated by its dynamic business sector, culturally active population and many civic organizations. Quiet and sleepy just a few decades ago, Healdsburg has experienced a resurgence of commercial activity in recent years as restaurants, boutiques and wineries have opened or expanded in response to tourist demand.
Like most Sonoma County communities, Healdsburg offers a mix of newer and older housing. Homes just one or two years old offer light, bright floor plans. Vintage homes along Matheson or Johnson streets with their old-style streetlights include features rarely found anymore. In the hills home-seekers find custom homes with stunning views of Dry Creek Valley, many on parcels ranging from two acres to enough to ranch or plant a vineyard.
Like Windsor to the south, Healdsburg’s small, secure atmosphere makes it popular with families raising children. The recently completed Grove Street skate park and Healdsburg Swim Center are popular attractions as are the Tuesday and Saturday Farm Markets. The Healdsburg Future Farmer and 4-H Country Fair and Twilight Parade celebrates both the future and historic importance of agriculture in the area. The Healdsburg Unified School District offers complete K-12 education and a thriving Boys and Girls Club provides after school and summer opportunities.
Not surprisingly, many of Healdsburg’s community events involve the area’s famous wineries. The Healdsburg Wine and Art Festival in May is a benefit for the Healdsburg Museum. In June, the Healdsburg Arts Council presents jazz in local vineyards during the Healdsburg Jazz Festival, and over the Taste of the Valley weekend visitors are invited to the nearby caves and cellars of Alexander Valley wineries to sample wine and food. Local holiday celebrations include the Parade of Lights at Trentadue Winery which includes music, wine and food.
* Population: 10,722