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Healdsburg Highlights - December 2016


Healdsburg Highlights - December 2016

I am thrilled to be taking over the Healdsburg column in The Sonoma County Gazette, a guide to what is happening and what matters in our County.

A lot has happened in Healdsburg lately. If you happened to be around over the extended Halloween weekend, you saw first the dogs complete for best costume during the rainy Howl-o-ween parade on Saturday and then brought the kids back to the Plaza on Halloween night to trick-or-treat among the local merchants. What an amazing treat the participation of the downtown merchants is for all of us so don’t forget to shop locally over the holidays!

The elections saw marijuana become legal and the forced use of condoms in porn to be illegal. Our three elected city council members include Shaun McCaffery, David Hagele and Gary Plass (incumbent). School Board representatives will be Judy Velasquez, Jami Sur Kiff and Aracely Romo-Flores.

Local Jim Wood stays as State Assemblyman for the 2nd District and Jared Huffman will continue as our US Congressman while Kamala Harris goes to the US Senate. The most divisive issue on the local ballot was Measure R, which, if voted in, would have created more affordable housing and force developers to double the low income housing they planned in future developments. Although a planned growth measure is in effect in Healdsburg, R would have allowed the city council to decide on development plans and a majority of residents apparently object to the plan given how the vote came down on election day. Councilman Eric Zeidrich, owner of Healdsburg Lumber, resigned the day after the election after campaigning hard to pass Measure R. 

Beth Costa and The Wine Road had another wildly successful Food and Wine Affair ( and next up for this organization that brings three wine valleys  (Russian River, Dry Creek and Alexander) together is Winter Wineland in January.  Before then there is plenty to do over the holidays in Healdsburg

Before your big turkey dinner, think about a Turkey Trot with the Healdsburg Running Club then recover the next day with the big Downtown Healdsburg Holiday Party, November 25, 4-8 PM with a visit from Santa at 5 PM.  Black Friday is also an excellent day to hit some winery open houses.  Some of the highlights are Bubbles and Oysters at Amphora ( and the Alexander Valley Open House at eight different wineries (  The Kiwanis Christmas tree lot opens November 25 and the weekend also kicks off holiday teas at the Hotel Healdsburg.

On December 3rd, the Hospice Tree Lighting takes place on the Plaza and Costeaux Breakfast with Santa starts this weekend through Christmas.  I still have my daughter’s ornaments from her days dining with Santa at Costeaux, a family tradition.  Also the the 3rd is Dragonfly Florals’s Holiday Gift Soiree, the Alexander Valley Ladies Aid Christmas Bazaar and Chateau Diana’s Open House.  December 3-4 are also the traditional performances of Healdsburg Ballet’s “The Night Before Christmas” and the Senior Holiday Dinner is on the 4th at Villa Chanticleer.

Healdsburg Dine Around begins December 7 and Madrona Manor’s Dickens Dinners start December 8, reservations 707-433-4321.  The Healdsburg Chorus and Community Band had performances throughout the month ( and

There is much more to talk about and more events being announced every day.  Check frequently to really enjoy the holiday season.

My wine and food discovery lately was the Westwood “Annadel Gap” Pinot Noir with Willi’s Seafood Bar’s almond-crusted petrale sole.  I also found the well-priced Shannon Ridge Vigilance Saugvignon Blanc we drank on Halloween to be perfect with either their rotisserie chicken or Thai Kale Mezzaluna.

Local highlights (where you will find locals!) include the 4;30-6:30 $6 happy hour at Chalkboard (Mediterranean menu now), Healdsburg Golf Club’s $3 nightly happy hour with bbq on Fridays and Spoonbar’s month of fab and cheap Pisco cocktails. Also Monday Night Football at Villa Chanticleer is great food and cheap drinks among lots of big TVs.

Barbara Barrielle is a long-time publicist who began writing four years ago with a specialty in food, wine, travel and entertainment. Barbara also acts and produces films and has a feature film “Veracruz” releasing in early 2017. She also has two documentaries in production, including one on motorcycle road trips and another on crush.

Barbara worked in the wine business for years and owns a small vineyard. She loves to cook and bake and try foods and wine from everywhere. Extensive travel throughout the world, especially as a single mother, has been formative for Barbara and Charlotte, her incredibly savvy college student daughter.  She lives in Healdsburg and Los Angeles.