I’m admittedly picky about where I stay on vacation. Often, I prefer to stay at the boutique hotel or bed and breakfast over a corporate hotel brand. And we did exactly that while we were in Sonoma for a wedding in August. Rather than stay at the hotel block – which was perfectly nice and did have the advantage of a pool – we chose to stay at a bed and breakfast just a few minutes away. It was almost the exact same price, but we knew that it would have a personal, cozy feel over our three day stay.
STAYING AT THE CALDERWOOD INN
We spent three nights at the Calderwood Inn in downtown Healdsburg. A charming bed and breakfast in a historic Queen Anne Victorian, it was in a perfect location for exploring the town. We were able to take a morning stroll down to the Russian River, explore the shops and restaurants, and walk home each evening after wedding festivities.
With a big front porch, I can’t even begin to tell you how wonderful it was to start each day sipping coffee and lounging on the porch swing, taking in the 65 degree sunny mornings. It’s that homey, comfortable feel that puts bed and breakfasts at the top of my list over hotels. Particularly if you’re staying for a few days, you get into a routine, settle into the common spaces of the house, and it begins to feel like your own. Add in a delicious, home-cooked breakfast every morning and, really, there’s no reason to ever leave (except $ and going back to the real world, of course).
A 1902 home built by John Miller, Calderwood Inn proudly boasts a spot on the California and Sonoma County Landmarks Registry. Throughout the Victorian home, you’ll see antiques and patterns that are accurate to the era in which it was built, yet don’t seem stuffy or old. It’s comfortable, relaxed, and bright, yet references its history in every detail. The Bradbury and Bradbury wallpapers and ceiling papers are nod to the designs of William Morris, and the intricate woodworking accents on the furniture are incredible.
We stayed in the Jaxon Keys room because we were trying to stick to a budget during our 12 days in California and it was the least expensive room, likely due to the European style shower (a shower head in a tub), however the room was a perfectly good size with a darling little window seat and an arm chair, which gave Adam two places to sit and read while he inevitably waited for me to get ready every day and evening.
Also, it’s worth noting that while we missed this every evening due to other plans, there is a wine happy hour each evening. And I can vouch that the homemade cookies they put out are scrumptious.
THE WILSON WINE FAMILY
One of the biggest perks of staying at Calderwood Inn? It’s owned by Wilson Artisan Wineries, a group that owns 9 bed and breakfasts and many wineries throughout the Sonoma County region. As a guest of one of their properties, you’re able to enjoy a free tasting at any of the wineries – which you quickly realize is a huge savings when tastings can run $20+ a pop.
We took full advantage of this perk and, throughout our visit, we stopped by Wilson Winery (unbelievable views!), Matrix Winery, Mazzocco Winery, and Rockpile Vineyards (right downtown!). I’d recommend all of these vineyards, and, if you refer back to my wine tasting post, you can read more in detail about each visit.
I still have one more post from Healdsburg up my sleeve but, in the meantime, make sure you check out all the other posts I’ve written so far. There’s my recap of a stay at Haydon Street Inn, an evening at Madrona Manor, the Foodie’s Guide to Healdsburg, and a Guide to Wine Tasting in Sonoma. Plus, you can read about how I packed for 12 days – and 50+ degree temperature swings – in California.