Tips on trip to California

spage1July 31, 2005

My husband and I are going to San Fran the last 2 weeks of Sept. We want to stay in SF for at least 3 days and then rent a car, go into the wine country and drive up Hwy 1. We would like to fly back from our last destination if possible. Any suggestions on places to visit, restaurants and hotels, B&B's or anything you might think interesting. My husband is a wine enthusiast, I just like to drink it. I will need a constant infusion to drive up the 1 from what I hear. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

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roar

Wow...where to start...it would help to know your style. Is it up-scale or a little funkier? Judging by your profile, a little funky would be Ok.

I'll try to cover just the basics now, but pick up some books on California and read about some of the areas I mention. Flying into San Francisco or Oakland is easy. Staying in the City is wonderful and there is plenty to see and do. Driving up Highway 1 is, well... "very special." Depending upon where you start and expect to finish, it can provide some spectacular scenery, but consume a good deal of time in doing it! Flying back from your last destination could prove to be a challenge as there are no major airports North of SF until you get to Portland Oregon! There are a number of small airports that can provide a hop to one of the major ones, but that can take some time and cost a bit too.

Wine country is a special place as well, but it is not just Napa. Most of California has become "Wine Country" as some very good wines come from way south in Santa Barbara County and East in the Gold Country in the Sierra Nevada foothills! Do keep in mine that late September can be a very exciting time in Napa-Sonoma depending upon the harvest, but, with all the activity, it can be a very busy time as well. I believe late September & October are the best time to visit though. It may be somewhat late for booking accommodations, or maybe not. IÂm sure you will find out!

For the time you have, I might suggest going north from SF to Napa & Sonoma Counties as you have planned. Napa can be considered the "up-scale" area, for some pretty good reasons, while Sonoma is a little more down-to-earth and the Russian River area of Sonoma could even be called somewhat "funky." Some amazing wines come from all of these areas though! All this is centered around, or near, highway 101 Continue North to until Cloverdale, then take Hwy 128 (some great wineries along this narrow two-lane highway too!) to Hwy 1 and Mendocino. If you can get accommodations in Mendocino, stay there at least two nights. Continue north on Hwy 1 to get your fill of ocean/cliff scenery to where Hwy 1 & 101 comes together at Leggett. Just North of here is the Costal Redwoods and many parks dedicated to these giants. Well worth spending some time in! Run back down 101, through Ukiah and consider ending your trip with a few days in San Francisco, instead of starting it there.

The Monterey Peninsula, seeing Monterey/Pacific Grove/Carmel and its "Wine Country" is another area that would be good to do, but it is South of SF. If you can map out the time, consider it though.

Well, this is way long enough, maybe too long, for tonight. Just remember, California is a very large state and be sure to check mileage/driving times as to not wear yourselves out and enjoy the vacation less.

All the best...

    Bookmark   August 2, 2005 at 3:37AM
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spage1

Thanks for your input, my husband has been reading and planning so it should be fun. Decided not to spend as much time in the vineyards as originally thought. Hes decided if you've seen one or two then the rest just follow suit. Are there some better than others that merit not missing? Any suggestions are appreciated. Thanks again

    Bookmark   August 9, 2005 at 7:25AM
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roar

Just read an article on the Wine Country's Hot Springs and thought you might be interested. Follow the link below and search for "soak & Sip"....have fun...

Here is a link that might be useful: Contra Costa Times Travel section

    Bookmark   September 2, 2005 at 12:48PM
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ctsuvgal

We took the wine train from Napa and had our own tour guide for Chandon. We only had one day and that's how we spent it. A day we will well remember.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2005 at 8:55PM
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cheryl_down_under

Hi, we spent a wonderful 10 weeks over in the US earlier this year. Part of that time was spent in San Francisco and we drove to Napa Valley for the day. The one winery that I can recommend is the V. Sattui Winery in St. Helena. They have a great deli there where you can buy cheeses, salamis, salads, breads (as well as disposible plates, cutlery and glasses) - and along with a great bottle of wine, you can eat at wooden tables under the shade of huge trees in the picnic ground. It was a fantastic setting - I really loved it - something I will remember!!!

    Bookmark   November 16, 2005 at 7:24PM
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krystyna4

hi,

i am a CA transplant of the last 8 years...and have started to really learn about wine.... The seasoned wine enthusiasts prefer Dry Creek Valley as a better experience than Napa which is the most commercial and snooty. Sonoma is v. nice, more scenic and also preferred over Napa....the wineries in Paso Robles (south of Monterrey, but it is too far as someone else pointed out..) my favorite is the Dry Creek Valley.. pick up a book... pick out two or three wineries and go for it... Seghesio is a perfect place to start.. I just opened a 2003 Home Ranch Zinfandel -- it was magnificent... I think it got a good Wine Spectator rating too ...

http://www.wdcv.com/wineries.asp
for more...

Bella Vineyard was fun - it is a cave built into a hill;
Frick Winery - small, personal, good - modest exterior...
Passalacqua has a great deck and view to enjoy a glass of wine. Skip Pedroncelli; Coffaro is a warehouse BUT they sell wine futures - great great deals - maybe you can get stuff sent...

One more hot tip - if you are on Route 1 - Jenner, CA (Russian River area)... a great restaurant with about a 270 degree view overlooking ocean and environs is called the "River's End Restaurant and Inn"... get yourself a reservation here.. it's a GREAT find....

By the way, September and October are the perfect months to visit San Francisco area. Summeritme can be v. disappointing and foggy. When making air travel plans, consider Oakland a good alternative if it turns out that way airfare wise..
SFO airport is 10 miles south of the city on the peninsula...

all the best

    Bookmark   January 24, 2006 at 12:19AM
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beaglebuddy

SF is full of agressive and mentally unstable homeless people (bums) because the city govt codles them, they flock there from all over the world. Also many criminals of all sorts, some dangerous and some just sneak theif junkies, also many transvestite prostitutes. Marijuana clubs on every corner, hypo needles are given out free, therefore they are often disposed of negligently as well. SF is the most family unfriendly city in America.
TBS, it's also a very beautiful city, just be careful especially at night. Stick to the nicer toutist areas. If you are really such a big wine fan consider staying there and visiting SF during the day.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2006 at 11:06PM
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