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Madrona Manor

Bliss in Healdsburg wineries at Madrona Manor

Sep. 13th, 2018

Where does a wine-loving foodie fancy a stay? Probably somewhere surrounded by a couple hundred wineries, a Michelin star restaurant and luscious garden on site. I recently discovered this perfect “somewhere” in Healdsburg this summer at the Madrona Manor, a 19th-century timeless Victorian mansion that overlooks acres of gleaming wineries.

I love a long history of any property, and the Madrona Manor certainly has one. In 1879, a wealthy San Franciscan bought up 260 acres of land in the area for just over $10,000. He named the area “Madrona,” a local term used to describe the native flowering plant found throughout the Dry Creek Valley area.

Madrona Manor

Over the years, the 17-room, three-story mansion shrunk to eight immaculately maintained acres that became a family residence, country inn, and venue which was added to the National Register of Historic Place in the late 1980s. Additional suites and private cottages were built, adding to the manor’s allure as a fantastic location for weddings and big groups.

Madrona Manor

Strolling the lush grounds, it was further evident to understand what made Madrona Manor a prime event location or a quiet spot for a retreat. A fleet of gardeners keeps the grounds manicured around the clock with dozens of rose shrubs, vivid succulents, and a functioning garden that was bursting with lilies the size of softballs and butter lettuce when I was visiting. I found a hammock in an area dedicated to citrus trees, which brimmed with Meyers lemon, Blood orange, and calamondin, a type of dwarf mandarin orange. The amount of pump lemons and oranges weighing down the trees almost looked fake. “Welcome to Napa Valley,” a gardener said and smiled as I stood holding a branch with five or six jumbo lemons.

Madrona Manor

The manor makes good use of its greens. Garden cocktails include the “Frond of Our Garden” with bozal mezcal, fennel, estate persimmon, and rosemary and the crisp “Rhubarb Moscow Mule” with Vodka, rhubarb, lime and ginger beer. I sampled both one afternoon on the spacious porch that overlooks wineries and the town of Healdsburg just a three-minute drive away. Towards the back of the manor, the restaurant led by Chef Jesse Mallgren, treats guests to al fresco dining in the summer that overlooks the grounds and the site of the manor’s romantic weddings, a picturesque lawn framed by blossoming trees and lilies. Though the gardens could easily steal the dining show,

Madrona Manor

Mallgren ensures guests are delighted with his evolving menu, which he’s been perfecting at the manor since 1999. The Restaurant has secured a Michelin star for 10 years in a row, and rightfully so. Mallgren, like so many chefs of the Sonoma area, source nearly all ingredients within California or down the road, and one can taste this glorious freshness. I knew I was in for a treat the night we dined, and I was ready to splurge on the “I’ll Have One Of Everything,” a sampling of the entire a la carte menu in five courses. It did not disappoint, particularly the perfect charcoal grilled duck yakitori, the smoked egg appetizer, and luscious ricotta gnocchi.

Madrona Manor

This is the caliber of restaurant where picky eaters need not care about asking what’s on the plate: everything is so well prepared and fresh that preferences of not enjoying raw fish, egg or duck just don’t matter. For something a bit more casual, try out the three-course crispy fried chicken dinner, served exclusively on Wednesdays and inspired after the recent wildfires as a way to feed to displaced local residents. 

 

Madrona Manor

It’s impossible to stay at the manor and not feel the connection to the rich land that surrounds it, from the 200 wineries a drive away to the dozens of vegetables plucked feet away from the restaurant. One of my favorite specials offered is the Chefs Garden Tour which includes a private tour of the greenhouse, a 7-course dinner with veggies and fruits from the garden, and paired wines. I can’t wait to return in the fall for another season of treats at the Madrona Inn.  

Madrona Manor
Madrona Manor
Madrona Manor
Madrona Manor
Madrona Manor

Katherine Bond

Katherine Sutton Bond is a freelance travel and luxury item writer for Justluxe.com. She's traveled the world and sampled some of the leading hotels and destinations of the globe. She often covers luxury events and technology. ...(Read More)

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