After he closed Cyrus, the Healdsburg, Calif., restaurant for which he’d earned two Michelin stars, in 2012, it took the chef Douglas Keane a decade to scout the dream locale for his new restaurant.

Mr. Keane lastly landed final yr at a former prune-packing plant overlooking vineyards the place the Russian River snakes by the Alexander Valley. These vineyards will not be in Healdsburg, Sonoma County’s unofficial gastronomic headquarters, however eight miles north in blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Geyserville.

“Geyserville is actual, rural wine nation: Farmers are out at 5 a.m.,” mentioned the 52-year-old chef on what drew him to the city. “Everybody is aware of one another’s title; there’s a yearly tractor parade.” The brand new model of Cyrus is placing Geyserville on the itineraries of extra vacationers, who’re having fun with the city’s buzzy bar and classy eateries, the house items store that looks like a beefed-up flea market, and intimate, tucked-into-the-landscape wineries.

The entire city could also be simply two blocks of Wild West-looking storefronts, however its charms take a complete weekend to uncover. Right here, a number of the highlights.

In Japan, there is no such thing as a culinary expertise held in greater regard than kaiseki, the formal, multicourse meal that showcases seasonality with dishes served elegantly however with out pretense. At Cyrus, Mr. Keane, who has visited Japan many instances, presents his model of kaiseki by a California lens, a paean to native agriculture (although a couple of elements come from far-flung spots). The presentation wows with a whisper.

The meal unfolds in varied places all through Cyrus’s 8,000 sq. ft. It kicks off with champagne and snacks that play on totally different elements of style: candy, bitter, salty, bitter and umami. Company (there are 4 seatings of 12 diners 4 evenings every week) collect within the leather-accented lounge or exterior among the many olive timber, the place the Mayacamas Mountains and surrounding vineyards shimmer on the floor of the reflecting pool.

For the subsequent programs, the group proceeds to a moodily lit space adjoining to the open kitchen, the place diners are invited to roam the kitchen as programs like sake-steamed abalone with shio koji corn consommé are being prepped. Whereas diners ogling cooks in a gastronomic kitchen just isn’t new, a midservice invitation to work together with them is.

Extra substantial savory dishes are served within the eating room, the place floor-to-ceiling home windows give the panorama middle stage. Among the many dishes: a seared scallop bathed in matsutake-mushroom-spiked dashi; a fillet of beef, cooked sous-vide after which plancha-seared; honey-glazed goat’s milk shokupan bread alongside custard blooming with puffed barley and nasturtium and mustard flowers. The meal culminates in a cocoon-like room with a chunk of black-sesame-and-dark-chocolate pavé and a parting present: boxed goodies that hit the 5 tastes once more.

Fifteen programs is so much. However Mr. Keane’s umami- and acid-forward strategy (that means he makes use of much less dairy and carbohydrates) interprets right into a lighter-feeling meal. (Price: $295 with out pairings; an extra $280 for wine pairings or $140 for nonalcoholic pairings.)

You get a way of Geyserville as quickly as you’re taking the exit ramp off Freeway 101 and encounter a area of enormous sculptures by varied artists — a 25-foot-tall metal horse mid-gallop, a towering man made from wine barrels and a galvanized-steel trout with blue-cereal-bowl eyes — in a previously derelict lot, because of a collaboration between Geyserville Neighborhood Basis and the landowner, Bryce Jones. The sculpture backyard is ever altering and generally contains installations of native college students’ paintings; most items are on the market.

Although Geyserville correct extends between two exits on Freeway 101, the precise city is tiny: It’s one most important drag with a handful of family-run companies working from buildings that look straight out of “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Child.”

There may be Gin’gilli’s Classic Dwelling, a Thirties Ford dealership turned flea market emporium with 45 distributors promoting every little thing from previous instruments and kitchen devices to traditional toys and funky tote baggage made from Pendleton blankets. (A stall with patched and studded classic Levi’s offers some style forwardness.)

Bosworth & Son has occupied its constructing since 1904, first as a mortuary, then a wagon-painting store and, lastly, a normal retailer that offered feed and, later, {hardware}. Now, it’s a cowboy hat and Western put on store that doubles as a museum. In 2018, the present proprietor, Gretchen Crebs Bosworth, 51, mixed 4 generations’ price of household pictures and memorabilia with relics donated by the neighborhood to inform the story of the city’s evolution. On show: dozens of Nineteenth-century pictures that includes the city’s early settlers in lined wagons and log cabins and timeworn kitchen instruments like a “pitter splitter” from the times when the crops had been primarily apricots and prunes as a substitute of grapes.

Geyserville’s eating places are supremely Twenty first-century on the design and taste fronts. Nook Venture, which inhabits the previous components division of the Lampson Ford Dealership, serves up craft beer and a easy menu of dishes like tacos and sandwiches made utilizing regionally sourced meats and produce ($12.50 to $20). On faucet are darkish and lightweight beers, ales, pilsners and lagers, together with ciders and laborious seltzers with whimsical names like Surly Temple.

Inside the biggest of the city’s buildings, the husband-and-wife staff of Sonja and Dino Bugica, each 47, run Diavola, a trattoria-style pizzeria with Neapolitan sass. Pizzas with toppings like pork stomach and Sicilian meatballs ($22) are the calling card of the restaurant, however there are additionally housemade pasta ($25 to $26) and dishes like brick-roasted hen with seasonal beans and greens ($32) that nod to the last decade that Mr. Bugica spent cooking in locations like Forte dei Marmi and Pisa, in Tuscany. The sass unfolds on the plant-draped patio the place laundry (together with naughty lingerie) dangles from a clothesline à la the alleys of Naples.

The couple additionally personal the bar and reside music house subsequent door, the Geyserville Gun Membership, named for the constructing’s former life as a taking pictures vary. Cocktails just like the mezcal-based She-Satan ($13) are good, however the atmosphere is what wows. A mash-up of taxidermy, blown-glass-antler lighting and salvaged claro walnut tables with kicky metalwork offers the place the sting of a Brooklyn lounge.

Alongside the identical promenade, Catelli’s, an Italian mainstay for many years, affords classics like cheese ravioli ($23.50) and hen Parmesan ($26). And close by Fermata, which opened in 2022, has raised the city’s espresso sport. The house owners, Ellen Lin, 40, and Jefferson Drudge, 47, not solely supply barista-made drinks and pastries, but in addition showcase the wares of native makers and open their house for reside music.

Most of those companies have exuberant floral bouquets on their counter tops. Their origin? A pollinator backyard created by Mr. Jones of the general public sculpture backyard. He hand delivers them, at no cost.

The wines from the tasting rooms in Geyserville most likely received’t be out there in your nook wine retailer. Small, family-run operations imply bottles are offered primarily by wine golf equipment and native distribution. In distinction to bigger wineries, tastings at these vineyards are carried out by oenology-obsessed managers who are likely to get so engaged with storytelling that they usually neglect the gross sales pitch. Which, in fact, is a part of the attraction.

The Pedroncelli vineyard, which describes itself as “on the massive finish of small,” started supplying grapes to households in 1927. Put up-Prohibition, it developed right into a premium model with 14 varietals. Tastings embody an appreciation of the vineyard’s historical past, which incorporates the Pedroncelli household’s function in putting the Sonoma County appellation on labels, and the appointment of Montse Reece as its first feminine winemaker in 2015. The tasting rooms are lined with household pictures and have redwood from the winery’s unique Forties tanks on the partitions and ceiling. Tastings begin at $20.

The Mazzoni household has been concerned in grape rising and winemaking in Geyserville since 1897, when Giuseppe Mazzoni, together with scores of different Italians, immigrated to Sonoma to work for the Italian Swiss Colony. The Zialena vineyard is run by two of his great-grandchildren, the siblings Lisa and Mark Mazzoni. The smooth metal-and-wood-sided tasting room the place guests pattern cabernet and zinfandel displays the modernity that they carry to the 120-acre winery. Tastings begin at $30.

As a collective, Locals Tasting Room affords an expansive expertise the place guests can do varietal tastings from eight small-batch wineries. Opened in 2002 as the primary impartial collective tasting room in California, it’s now owned by Dick Handal, 82, and his daughter, Doralice Handal, 51, who imbue the vintage-barware-filled tasting room contained in the Bosworth constructing downtown with a welcome-to-our-family vibe. “We encourage guests to find lesser-known varietals not usually related to California, akin to verdelho, grenache blanc and graciano,” mentioned Ms. Handal. Spotlight: Winemakers are routinely readily available to pour and hang around with guests. Tastings are complimentary.

If the climate is heat sufficient — that is California, in any case — head over to Lake Sonoma, within the coastal foothills. Fringed with reside oaks and rugged terrain, this recreation space, an outgrowth of the development of Heat Springs Dam in 1983, affords climbing and a lake with 50 miles of shoreline and a marina the place sport boats, pontoons, stand-up paddle boards, jet skis and kayaks could be rented by the hour.

There may be one frill-free 41-room lodge on the town, the Geyserville Inn (charges begin at $335). An alternate is the simply reopened Madrona Lodge in Healdsburg (about an eight-minute drive), whose co-owner is Jay Jeffers, a famous San Francisco inside designer. Mr. Jeffers deftly reworked the Victorian mansion right into a 24-room inn brimming with patterned wallpaper, assertion lighting, luxurious textiles and a dynamic mixture of paintings. A wraparound veranda and pool space are splendid perches to soak up the spectacular surroundings (charges begin at $650).

To really work together with what locals name “Geyserville grit,” you might e-book a classy barn turned one-bedroom cottage on a personal farm inside strolling distance of Geyserville’s outlets. The farm and rental are a part of a nonprofit owned by the animal rescue advocate Danae Blythe Unti who makes use of all proceeds to shelter the goats, wild mustangs and cows that you simply’ll see roaming the property ($325 per evening).

Observe New York Instances Journey on Instagram and join our weekly Journey Dispatch publication to get skilled recommendations on touring smarter and inspiration to your subsequent trip. Dreaming up a future getaway or simply armchair touring? Try our 52 Locations to Go in 2023.

Supply hyperlink