The Madrona Manor, Healdsburg
Like I’m always telling my nephew, take any two powerful figures, fictional or otherwise, from just about any medium of storytelling, and you’ll notice that, whoever they are, they have two things in common: They’re landowners, and they’re not afraid to drink booze in the afternoon.
Warren Buffet. Probably a bigger fan of the ol’ booger-sugar, but Buffet’s also emblematic of the Rich Old White Guy who keeps a New England mansion for a summer home and does his deals at two in the afternoon with an Old Fashioned in his hand.
Colonel Sanders. While not depicted as such in any of KFC’s advertising, it’s known perfectly well he’s in his element standing on a wrap-around porch he owns with a mint julep in his hand while the sun is high.
Jesus H. Christ. The guy turns water into wine and “He’s got the whole world in his hands, the whole wide world, in his hands.” That’s the king of both boozing and landownership.
Now, with the economy being what it is and me having been born in the early ’90s, so that I was going to high school during the time I should have been investing in foreclosed property, owning a piece of land in an actual, legal sense is a boat that I and those like me have missed.
So that’s why I come to The Madrona Manor in Healdsburg, to play pretend that I’m Colonel Sanders.
Technically a boutique hotel (whatever that means), it’s a big ol’ mansion that overlooks a vineyard. It’s a perfect place to walk the grounds, sit on the porch in a rocking chair, swirl a drink in your hand and imagine yourself as the heir to an oil or cattle ranching empire. And, ironically at the same cost as a down payment on a house, you can even stay the night.
As a bonus for any of those nighttime guests, the place is rumored to be lightly haunted. So like the bourbon cocktail in your hand while you muse on the life you could have had, the spirits will accent your stay. — E.D.