ARTS, EVENTS USHER IN HOLIDAY SEASON
In normal times, December is perhaps the most glorious month in Healdsburg. The town is decorated with lights. Carolers roam the plaza. Businesses dole out free hot cocoa and cider to warm shoppers as they do their thing. Of course, this year is different—Covid-19 is still very much a threat, and Sonoma County resurrected shelter-in-place orders starting at midnight on Dec. 12. The global pandemic might have prompted temporary closures around town but there’s certainly still plenty of events and special promotions to explore.
Technically, Healdsburg hasn’t exactly “reopened” just yet. Nevertheless, the Healdsburg Creative Reopening Project is in full effect. This effort, sponsored by the Healdsburg Chamber of Commerce and funded in part by Creative Sonoma and the National Endowment of the Arts, is a series of public art projects that launched in late November and will run through January 2021. The installations include public art from local artists such as Jake Messing and Alice Sutro, as well as pieces by other artists from around the county. The project comprises murals, light exhibits, and self-guided tours. Healdsburg resident Jessica Martin, herself a luminary in the local scene, curated the program.
Before the latest shelter-in-place order, SingleThread restaurant had rolled out yet another unique dining opportunity—a tented outdoor dining room designed to immerse guests in the flavors and scenery of Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island. Put together by internationally renowned interior designer Ken Fulk, the Usu-Zan experience featured a menu that spotlighted produce and artisan pieces from around Hokkaido, where SingleThread owners Kyle and Katina Connaughton lived during their time in Japan. The 9-course dinner culminated with a dish served in a donabe, or clay pot, for the table. Though restaurants had to shut down outdoor dining until at least January 9, the Connaughtons expect to bring back Usu-Zan when things open again. The special experience costs $375 per person and runs April 2021. We invite you to enjoy the gallery of photos below. They will blow you away!
Two women-run Healdsburg brands have teamed up to create a special gift pack for the holiday season—a set that comprises the ingredients for French 75 cocktails. The gift comprises one bottle of blanc de blanc bubbles from Amista Vineyards (and winemaker Ashley Herzberg), one bottle of gin from Sipsong Spirits (which was founded by Tara Jasper), a bottle of Absinthia Absinthe, and all other necessary ingredients to make French 75s. There’s even a recipe card. Kits are available directly from Sipsong and cost $89 apiece.