Sonoma Saturday: Healdsburg to Forestville
Today was too beautiful to spend inside, so I made a small excursion with friends that I thought I would share with you. First we hiked around Lake Benoist at the relatively new Riverfront Regional Park in Headsburg on Eastside Road.
This is the site of a former rock quarry on the Russian River. The quarry holes are now two decent sized lakes and a popular fishing spot. We took a trail off the main lake and sat on a park bench tucked on the hillside overlooking the Russian River, watching two fishermen below on a little cove. They told us they caught 2 steelhead and 3 catfish, and put them all back in, but had a good time doing it. The steelhead are protected and they didn’t have a taste for catfish.
I have brought the horses over here several times to ride–it is not a huge park for horse back riding (300 acres) but it is level with good footing so it is a good place to get some easy work in, and you can do a bit of a little gallop towards the back of the lake–the track is pretty broad and there are equal amounts of shade and sun, plus stunning panoramic views towards Mt. St. Helena. The park itself is bordered by sprwqling vineyards that extend all the way north to downtown Healdsburg. There is a very large stand of redwoods with some serious picnic tables and other facilities. The Eagle Scouts were there today sanding the tables and otherwise manicuring the grounds.
At lunchtime we headed over to Forestville. Forestville is a little town tucked between Sebastopol, Healdsburg and Guerneville with some good restaurants and shops, plus a couple of excellent restaurants (Mosaic and the Farmhouse). There are some beautiful country properties and ranches in the area which people might overlook when searching Sonoma County.
A welcome addition to downtown is the Nightingale Bakery which makes some seriously good baguette and other artisan breads, plus they sell local gourmet cheeses–great place to stop for picnic supplies. Another favorite daytime spot is Aioli Gourmet Deli. It is tiny but they make excellent soups and sandwiches plus gourmet takeout fare.
Afterwards I headed back towards Sebastopol for a shopping expedition at Andy’s Produce Market on Gravenstein Highway North. People come from all over West Sonoma County for their locally sourced produce and bulk supplies of grains and spices.