Haydon Street Inn ~ Home Away From Home

Healdsburg, California has turned into quite the “wine country living” town. It’s always had the flavor, but it’s more sophisticated today than ever. With the addition of Hotel Healdsburg, along came many retail shops that have created a more stylish town to visit. The charm is evident everywhere you go.

For those of us who love to travel and still want to enjoy the comforts of a home environment, Haydon Street Inn in Healdsburg offers that reassuring warmth. It’s placed in a quiet residential neighborhood, yet it’s very close to the hub of Healdsburg’s Plaza. This allows visitors the luxury of walking from your accommodations into the charm of a town with heavy Spanish influences. Typical of these quaint, Spanish-influenced California locales is a park. They’re always placed right in the heart of the city, where all gather and are welcomed. Healdsburg’s plaza is used to the max. Jazz concerts are typical on many summer late afternoons. Art, crafts, and antique fairs delight visitors on a consistent basis. And, late afternoon reading is often enjoyed by those locals who have the luxury of that pastime.

Haydon Street Inn’s rooms are a perfect complement to the town. The inn has all the elements of a home-away-from home. Rooms are bright, cheery, and each one is unique in true Victorian style. Their Website shows each room, so take a look at their Website. I’m including the image of where my husband and I stayed, because I really fell in love with this room. It was an immediate “connect.”

As with all B&B’s, each of the “Bs” is very important. With Haydon Street Inn, they’ve paid close attention to their “Bs.” Innkeepers John Harasty and Keren Colsten are proud new owners, and have provided luxurious comfort with the first B – the beds. Who doesn’t go to a B&B with high expectations of a luxurious bed! Slipping into deluxe slumber is what we all crave, in our homes and in our homes away from home. We’re drawn to great B&Bs like moths to a flame, because they offer what we’ve left behind and won’t compromise in our travels. It’s always fun to enjoy how someone else’s hospitable and decorative flair puts a room together, and Keren has outdone herself. My only regret was there wasn’t more time to really enjoy Haydon Street Inn. (I’ll explain at the end of this blog, about what brought us there.)

The second “B” – breakfast – is where John shines. A former executive chef at Churchill Downs (for 12 years), John now creates a morning feast that must certainly be an easier gig than his last one… Consequently, having a smaller group to prepare for has allowed his creative side to flourish, and benefits all of us who are lucky enough to enjoy the fruits of his labor. This is NOT a continental breakfast in any way, shape, or form. It’s an absolute culinary delight. For anyone who’s come to wine country to “rise and shine and go drink wine”… this is the pace to start… with a hearty “from the heart for the best start breakfast.”

Here’s the menu… They feature a delicious three-course meal every morning, accompanied by French pressed Wolf Coffee (you can also choose from a large selection of gourmet tea), fresh OJ, entrees may include Eggs Benedict, Stuffed French Toast, Citrus Blueberry Pancakes, Croissant Egg Strata, or one of many styles of quiche or omelet. We had a mushroom quiche that was amazing. We also had tasty potatoes, a side of bacon, fresh-baked breads, homemade scones (that were perfect), muffins, fresh fruit and yogurt… It seemed like it would never end (only because I eat so little, or I end up wearing it… you know how that goes).

The bottom line is no one will go hungry at Haydon Street Inn, and it’s an amazing delight. According to their site: “With 48 hour notice, a special diet can be prepared for you, and continental breakfasts are available for early departures.”

Another advanatage of a B&B are the new people that you’ll meet while traveling. Robert Hanf and Kathy Dutney (left) shared our breakfast table, and were wonderful to visit with. The guests who sat with Cheryl were Ellen and John Foley. Both couples were from out of state, and we all shared early morning commraderie as if we had known each other for a long time, before setting off on our separate wine tours.

Why I was lucky enough to be able to enjoy Haydon Street Inn?…. It goes back to my earlier blogs about Sergeant First Class Cheryl Dupris. Cheryl sent an Email to me, asking where to taste Petite Sirah in California. I created a full-blown 10-day itinerary for her that would also take me away from my life; little did I know that in the beginning. As her guide, her visit to California wine country threw me into a whirlwind tour for which there has never been anything comparable– to my knowledge. (Nor could I ever do this again… for anyone for any reason.)

Wining and dining daily with the masters:

  • Winemaker Bruce Devlin of Ballentine Vineyards
  • Pat Roney of Girard
  • Ken Swanson of Stags’ Leap Winery
  • Carl & Cherie Lyle of Deer Ridge Vineyards
  • Jim Concannon and Jim Ryan of Concannon Vineyard
  • Dave Pramuk of Robert Biale Vineyards
  • Bunny, Holly, and Judd Finkelstein, and their executive chef Pat Burke… all of Judd’s Hill
  • Leo and Evelyn Trentadue, Annette Trentadue, National Sales Manager Ned Carton, and Winemaker Miro Tcholakov of Trentadue Winery
  • Tony and Susan Foppiano Valera, Louis and Paul Foppiano, Foppiano Vineyards
  • David & Lana Mounts of Mounts Family Wines
  • Dan Teldeschi of F. Teldeschi Winery
  • Julie Pedroncelli St. John of Pedroncelli Winery
  • John Staten of Field Stone Winery
  • Bryan Del Bondio of Markham Vineyards
  • George Moskowite of Moss Creek Winery

These are all either winemakers, proprietors, presidents, or as in the case of Ken Swanson of Stags’ Leap, a wine educator… This wasn’t the usual walk into a tasting room. This was a walk on the VIP side… right into their hearts and homes.

When I began the process for Sergeant First Class Cheryl Dupris, I never intended to become part of a ten-day pilgrimage extravaganza. My life’s much too busy to even consider doing such a thing. Once the ball got going, however, I realized she’d never get from A to B to C to D without a guide, and I took my life onto a different path… One that I created for her, but was enjoyed by both of us. When a second room was offered by Haydon Street Inn, and I thought, “What better way to chronicle her story than to live it.” I’m a writer, and write about what I know. I realized that this story was going to allow me to have an understanding of Haydon Street Inn from a first-hand experience, not even knowing if Cheryl and I would have time to discuss her evening (Haydon’s only seven miles from my home, so I didn’t have to be there logistically. It was a choice for having one more of life’s little stories that made the decision.)

What’s best about this entire experience? A revelation came from Keren in our back-and-forth communications, long after Cheryl had returned to New York City. Keren shared this with me about what prompted John and her to become involved in Cheryl’s Petite Pilgrimage: “John’s brother is Navy Intel…so we sincerely support the military…there are just so few opportunities that we can demonstrate and not just voice our support…this was a one in a million.”

Well, they’re one in a million. Haydon Street Inn is from the heart, and home is where the heart is… Home away from home on Haydon Street.

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