If shopping at a mobbed big-box store on the day after Thanksgiving isn’t your brand of kibble, consider a trip to the charming Sonoma County town of Healdsburg, where merchants all around the plaza are celebrating the start of the shopping season with a Downtown Holiday Party from 5-9 p.m. Nov. 25. Seasonal food and wine combined with special sale prices at boutiques and tasting rooms are sure to get you in the holiday mood. And what’s not to like about photos with Santa, a brass quintet, free carriage rides and a host of entertainers adding their brand of spice to the mull?
Many stores and tasting rooms around the square welcome canine visitors. Two of them, Fideaux and Healdsburg Dog House, specialize in canine paraphernalia and gifts. Be sure to treat your pup to a cup of doggie ice cream (peanut butter and honey or sweet potato and molasses are the lap-happy flavors) at the Dog House. You might also be tempted to dress Daisy up with a holiday “ruff,” about $15 at either store.
Dining with Daisy can be a challenge in winter, but depending on weather, she can join you on the patios of popular restaurants such as Barndiva, Willi’s Seafood & Raw Bar or Sake-O. Be sure to call ahead to see if the patio is open or if a table can be set and a heater lit just for you and yours.
Of the 20 tasting rooms on or near the plaza, we’re partial to Topel and Portalupi, where the canine welcome is especially warm. For running off steam, Villa Chanticleer Dog Park offers 1.5 acres of off-leash fun just a short drive from downtown. Photo: Bodie laps up doggie ice cream from Healdsburg Dog House – Janet Fullwood