When Jenny Hess visited her sister in Healdsburg, California, in May 2020 to get out of New York City during the pandemic, she was entranced by the area’s temperate weather, natural beauty and sophisticated food and wine culture.
The attraction endured — even when she had to flee for 12 days due to a raging wildfire behind her sister’s house.
So last October, weeks after the evacuation, Hess bought a 2,000-square-foot, three-bedroom, 3½-bath, fully furnished, renovated Victorian cottage three blocks from downtown Healdsburg for nearly $2.3 million.
Hess had no trouble getting affordable fire insurance, since she’s in the center of town, which is considered to be a lower risk than the surrounding hills. But she now constantly monitors fire activity maps and air quality indexes. She has a bag packed, ready in case she needs to leave.