saxwizerd45


quality posts: 9 Private Messages saxwizerd45

Hi everyone, I'm getting married in early August and we're bandying about the idea of doing the honeymoon in Cali. (We live in Chicago). I haven't done a lot of research yet so I don't have very many specific questions, but would there be one region that would be better for honeymoon-ing than others? What is the likelihood we could get some neato special tours, barrel tastings, etc.? Also, what is there to do besides drink, er, I mean, taste?

I know I'm being super-general with my questions here, but I'll clarify and add more as I think about this a bit.

Thanks!

It is well to remember that there are five reasons for drinking: the arrival of a friend; one's present or future thirst; the excellence of the wine; or any other reason.

sonadora


quality posts: 2 Private Messages sonadora
saxwizerd45 wrote:Hi everyone, I'm getting married in early August and we're bandying about the idea of doing the honeymoon in Cali. (We live in Chicago). I haven't done a lot of research yet so I don't have very many specific questions, but would there be one region that would be better for honeymoon-ing than others? What is the likelihood we could get some neato special tours, barrel tastings, etc.? Also, what is there to do besides drink, er, I mean, taste?

I know I'm being super-general with my questions here, but I'll clarify and add more as I think about this a bit.

Thanks!



We honeymooned in Sonoma in August a few years ago. Everything was fabulous. Besides wine tasting, we went hiking, kayaking, up to Mendocino to check out the artist colony, and out to Bodega Bay. I'd highly recommend Sonoma for a honeymoon...it's a bit less expensive and a little more laid back in my opinion. We always stay at a B&B in Cloverdale, which is outside the immediate winery area, but only about 5 minutes to the closest one. I love all the restaurants in Healdsburg, it's a great option to stay in Healdsburg as you can then walk to all the places to eat and drink at night.

annsalisbury


quality posts: 4 Private Messages annsalisbury

Depending on what you are interested in (besides drinking), I would suggest Sonoma and splitting your time between inland (for wine tasting) and coastal (just because). It's been awhile, but in coastal Sonoma, we stayed at the Jenner Inn, which was a nice B&B. Inland, (again, it's been awhile) we stayed at the Glen Elly (in Glen Ellen, right off Hwy 12 - one of the wine routes) and very much enjoyed our stay there as well.

speedoo


quality posts: 41 Private Messages speedoo

You might also consider Willamette Valley in Oregon. It's very laid back relative to Napa, far less commercialized and probably less expensive for the typical bed and breakfast.

Plus you can also spend some time out at the spectacular Oregon coastal towns and also in quaint Astoria.

kylemittskus


quality posts: 229 Private Messages kylemittskus

Lots of shopping in San Francisco.

There are hundreds of wineries that have little cottages which you can rent and enjoy the vineyards every morning.

"If drinking is bitter, change yourself to wine." -Rainer Maria Rilke

"Champagne is a very kind and friendly thing on a rainy night." -Isak Dinesen

saxwizerd45


quality posts: 9 Private Messages saxwizerd45
speedoo wrote:You might also consider Willamette Valley in Oregon. It's very laid back relative to Napa, far less commercialized and probably less expensive for the typical bed and breakfast.

Plus you can also spend some time out at the spectacular Oregon coastal towns and also in quaint Astoria.



Sorry, but Willamette is out. We're not huge PN fans.

Otherwise, sounds like Sonoma would be the way to go! I wondered if wineries maintained their own villas/cottages for renting out... I'm also glad to hear about the hiking/kayaking.

Thanks for the input so far... now I at least have a starting place to see if we want to do this!

It is well to remember that there are five reasons for drinking: the arrival of a friend; one's present or future thirst; the excellence of the wine; or any other reason.

saxwizerd45


quality posts: 9 Private Messages saxwizerd45

Anyone have any experience with vintnersinn.com?

It is well to remember that there are five reasons for drinking: the arrival of a friend; one's present or future thirst; the excellence of the wine; or any other reason.

saxwizerd45


quality posts: 9 Private Messages saxwizerd45

Also, any can't miss restaurants?

It is well to remember that there are five reasons for drinking: the arrival of a friend; one's present or future thirst; the excellence of the wine; or any other reason.

annsalisbury


quality posts: 4 Private Messages annsalisbury
saxwizerd45 wrote:Also, any can't miss restaurants?



Well, for very casual dining, I like Mary's Pizza. There are a number of restaurants on the square in Sonoma. In Healdsburg, I liked Zin.

Maybe check Yelp or Chowhound, and you might PM WineDavid as well.

kttest


quality posts: 2 Private Messages kttest

Taylor’s Refersher; This place is well known and their burgers and shakes are very good,

Azzuro Pizzeria ; We had dinner here, the pizza was delish

Alexis Baking Company ; The menu changes daily, but the breakfast was awesome, I think the best pancakes I’ve ever had.

Napa Valley Olive Oil Manufacturing Company;
This was a fun little store, run by an Italian guy, lots of imported goods.
Description: Sure you can pick up pretty bottles of Napa Valley made olive oil at a lot of local wineries. But savvy shoppers turn off Highway 29 at Charter Oak Street in St. Helena (the same turn as Ristorante Tra Vigne) and duck into the incognito shack of a shop known as Napa Valley Olive Oil Manufacturing Company. Draped in business cards from around the world, the clapboard confines offers excellent and well priced jugs of olive oil as well as Italian imports like dried mushrooms, pastas, cheeses, and basic picnic fare.


Soda Canyon Store; Good sandwiches for lunch on the Silverado Trail

Bouchon Bakery; Great for a sweet pick me up


Barrel Making; We found out about this too late, but they give tours on how the wine making barrels are made. It sounded interesting.

Deuce; was excellent, they are known for their pork shoulder dish and it was delicious!

Sonoma at the Sonoma Square Farmer's Market (we went on a Tuesday, not sure which days are the schedule) was a lot of fun, there was lots of food and people around.

The Jelly Belly Factory isn't far from Sonoma and their tour was fun.

- Krista
"Wine is the most civilized thing in the world." -Ernest Hemingway.
NYC Tastings Summary courtesy of HAK

kttest


quality posts: 2 Private Messages kttest
saxwizerd45 wrote:Anyone have any experience with vintnersinn.com?



Decent reviews on Tripadvisor.

- Krista
"Wine is the most civilized thing in the world." -Ernest Hemingway.
NYC Tastings Summary courtesy of HAK

saxwizerd45


quality posts: 9 Private Messages saxwizerd45
kttest wrote:
The Jelly Belly Factory isn't far from Sonoma and their tour was fun.



Oh god... if my fiancee sees this, we're going to spend at least three days there.

It is well to remember that there are five reasons for drinking: the arrival of a friend; one's present or future thirst; the excellence of the wine; or any other reason.

cheron98


quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98
saxwizerd45 wrote:Oh god... if my fiancee sees this, we're going to spend at least three days there.



Well CLEARLY to make her happy you should surprise her by taking her there

I saw HitAnyKey42 on wine.woot! and clicked "I want one!"

saxwizerd45


quality posts: 9 Private Messages saxwizerd45
cheron98 wrote:Well CLEARLY to make her happy you should surprise her by taking her there



Well, there goes a chunk of the wine budget... it shall be siphoned off into the "Bean Budget."

It is well to remember that there are five reasons for drinking: the arrival of a friend; one's present or future thirst; the excellence of the wine; or any other reason.

kttest


quality posts: 2 Private Messages kttest
saxwizerd45 wrote:Oh god... if my fiancee sees this, we're going to spend at least three days there.



haha don't worry you can see it all in a few hours!

- Krista
"Wine is the most civilized thing in the world." -Ernest Hemingway.
NYC Tastings Summary courtesy of HAK

saxwizerd45


quality posts: 9 Private Messages saxwizerd45
saxwizerd45 wrote:Also, any can't miss restaurants?



Howzabout restaurants that if you don't eat at least one meal there your life would be incomplete?

I'm thinking one over-the-top multi-course wine-paired-to-the-max gourmet extravaganza here. Where do we go for that?

It is well to remember that there are five reasons for drinking: the arrival of a friend; one's present or future thirst; the excellence of the wine; or any other reason.

lauratchi


quality posts: 5 Private Messages lauratchi
saxwizerd45 wrote:Oh god... if my fiancee sees this, we're going to spend at least three days there.



There is a Jelly Belly factory right across the Ill/Wisconsin border. No need to travel for that.

Little Vineyards Trio began the slow start to the slippery slope. it was alllllllllll downhill from there!

lauratchi


quality posts: 5 Private Messages lauratchi
saxwizerd45 wrote:Howzabout restaurants that if you don't eat at least one meal there your life would be incomplete?

I'm thinking one over-the-top multi-course wine-paired-to-the-max gourmet extravaganza here. Where do we go for that?



French Laundry? Wine David said he had an inn.

Sonoma was a really neat laid back little farm town. So not what I expected. Nice community feel. Napa was bigger, had the big box stores and such. Would go back to Sonoma in a heartbeat. Keep your hand close to your credit cards. They seemingly just wind up in the hands of people like Peter Wellington and Rich Little without any effort at all.

Little Vineyards Trio began the slow start to the slippery slope. it was alllllllllll downhill from there!

polarbear22


quality posts: 35 Private Messages polarbear22
saxwizerd45 wrote:Howzabout restaurants that if you don't eat at least one meal there your life would be incomplete?

I'm thinking one over-the-top multi-course wine-paired-to-the-max gourmet extravaganza here. Where do we go for that?


I really liked The General's Daughter. Although, I think I heard they closed and someone else is there.

French Laundry is supposed to be "the place", but we did not make it there.



Polar bears are meant to be clever, very clever. They are the Einsteins of the bear community. - Anonymous
Please donate to the 2014 MS Bike Ride
Want to read what SonomaBouliste has to say about wine?
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saxwizerd45


quality posts: 9 Private Messages saxwizerd45
polarbear22 wrote:I really liked The General's Daughter. Although, I think I heard they closed and someone else is there.

French Laundry is supposed to be "the place", but we did not make it there.



Indeed, the General's Daughter is no more... replaced by a place called "Estate," which seems to be good as well... was The General's Daughter an italian place?

A question totally unrelated to restaurants: What airport would you guys recommend flying into? San Francisco? San Jose? Oakland? Isn't there an airport in Santa Rosa as well? Also, we're planning on renting a car... good idea, bad idea? Seems like we have to if we're going to get around easily.

It is well to remember that there are five reasons for drinking: the arrival of a friend; one's present or future thirst; the excellence of the wine; or any other reason.

annsalisbury


quality posts: 4 Private Messages annsalisbury
saxwizerd45 wrote:
A question totally unrelated to restaurants: What airport would you guys recommend flying into? Also, we're planning on renting a car... good idea, bad idea? Seems like we have to if we're going to get around easily.



Yes, rent a car. Depending on where you are coming from, Oakland or San Francisco are the airports you will want. If you're a private pilot, there is an airport in Napa, and (IIRC) one in Healdsburg and another in Santa Rosa (which is near Sonoma).

lauratchi


quality posts: 5 Private Messages lauratchi
saxwizerd45 wrote:Indeed, the General's Daughter is no more... replaced by a place called "Estate," which seems to be good as well... was The General's Daughter an italian place?

A question totally unrelated to restaurants: What airport would you guys recommend flying into? Also, we're planning on renting a car... good idea, bad idea? Seems like we have to if we're going to get around easily.



We did a quick (Monday-Thursday) trip, flying into SFO late Sunday. Monday we did Muir Woods/Muir Beach, before going into Sonoma, leaving basically 2 days for wine tasting. Again, this was a quick trip and we just focused on Sonoma (mostly woot) wineries.

Car yes. If you go to Muir Woods, go a wee bit further to Muir beach. Oh yeah, its a nutty road to drive (being a flatlander as yourself) but totally worth it.


Little Vineyards Trio began the slow start to the slippery slope. it was alllllllllll downhill from there!

zmanonice


quality posts: 21 Private Messages zmanonice

Hijack question but related to this thread: assuming you buy from the wineries you visit, how do you get the wine home given the current airline restrictions? Do you have the winery ship it? We're thinking about a trip this fall to the area.

Z

polarbear22


quality posts: 35 Private Messages polarbear22

General's Daughter was not Italian. They had a nice menu with a wine pairing that was not restricted to Napa/Sonoma. Included some Italian and some Australian. Best meal we had on that trip. Etoile at Chandon also had a great pairing dinner, but restricted to their wines and Newton (a sister winery).

I concur with Laura to get a car and go to Muir Woods. We got there kind of late, and it was dark. Get there earlier if you can. We did not make it to Muir Beach, so no comment.

We had wineries ship when we got a full case, which was not many. We shipped back to ourselves via UPS, which was way too expensive. There was a place in Napa called Stagecoach (I think). Found out later that they would ship at similar cost to wineries. So after you get what you can cheaper at baggage rates via the airline, check them out.

Another restaurant to check out is Dry Creek Kitchen in Healdsburg. I heard really good things about that place. I don't recall the chef, and we did not get there to try it.

Polar bears are meant to be clever, very clever. They are the Einsteins of the bear community. - Anonymous
Please donate to the 2014 MS Bike Ride
Want to read what SonomaBouliste has to say about wine?
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saxwizerd45


quality posts: 9 Private Messages saxwizerd45
polarbear22 wrote:
Another restaurant to check out is Dry Creek Kitchen in Healdsburg. I heard really good things about that place. I don't recall the chef, and we did not get there to try it.



Dry Creek Kitchen looks promising... I think French Laundry is probably out... we're not going on that trip to save money, but $240 a head before wine is a little steep for us.

What about Tra Vigne... isn't that one of the "famous" restaurants in Napa?

It is well to remember that there are five reasons for drinking: the arrival of a friend; one's present or future thirst; the excellence of the wine; or any other reason.

bahwm


quality posts: 28 Private Messages bahwm
zmanonice wrote:Hijack question but related to this thread: assuming you buy from the wineries you visit, how do you get the wine home given the current airline restrictions? Do you have the winery ship it? We're thinking about a trip this fall to the area.

Z


We really like to travel using Southwest. They allow a second bag for free. So, if you are travelling as a couple, that allows a total of 4 bags. We took an empty wine shipping box with us with all of the styrofoam shipping forms. We wrapped it with twine and labelled it with name and address. On the way back, they made us sign a waiver that they were not responsible for breakage. But, everything arrived home safely.

May our love be like good wine, grow stronger as it grows older. ~ Old English Toast

kttest


quality posts: 2 Private Messages kttest
saxwizerd45 wrote:Dry Creek Kitchen looks promising... I think French Laundry is probably out... we're not going on that trip to save money, but $240 a head before wine is a little steep for us.

What about Tra Vigne... isn't that one of the "famous" restaurants in Napa?



We ate at Tra Vigne on the RPM tour and it was..OK. Didn't really wow me and I was a bit disappointed by it. It was packed though, so it is a popular spot.

- Krista
"Wine is the most civilized thing in the world." -Ernest Hemingway.
NYC Tastings Summary courtesy of HAK

polarbear22


quality posts: 35 Private Messages polarbear22
saxwizerd45 wrote:Dry Creek Kitchen looks promising... I think French Laundry is probably out... we're not going on that trip to save money, but $240 a head before wine is a little steep for us.

What about Tra Vigne... isn't that one of the "famous" restaurants in Napa?


That is why I did not recommend etoile at Chandon. Food was fantastic, but tasting menu with wine was like $180/person. We enjoyed the meal, but with wine restricted to theirs (and Newton), there had to be better wines.

Polar bears are meant to be clever, very clever. They are the Einsteins of the bear community. - Anonymous
Please donate to the 2014 MS Bike Ride
Want to read what SonomaBouliste has to say about wine?
Ddeuddeg Cheesecake Cookbook
My Cellar

saxwizerd45


quality posts: 9 Private Messages saxwizerd45
polarbear22 wrote:That is why I did not recommend etoile at Chandon. Food was fantastic, but tasting menu with wine was like $180/person. We enjoyed the meal, but with wine restricted to theirs (and Newton), there had to be better wines.



$180 a person w/ wine isn't too bad. I imagine w/ wine French Laundry would be around $300/person if not more. Pretty large difference there.

It is well to remember that there are five reasons for drinking: the arrival of a friend; one's present or future thirst; the excellence of the wine; or any other reason.

saxwizerd45


quality posts: 9 Private Messages saxwizerd45
kttest wrote:We ate at Tra Vigne on the RPM tour and it was..OK. Didn't really wow me and I was a bit disappointed by it. It was packed though, so it is a popular spot.



Thanks. I'm always a little wary of the super popular restaurants... we'll probably skip that one.

It is well to remember that there are five reasons for drinking: the arrival of a friend; one's present or future thirst; the excellence of the wine; or any other reason.

saxwizerd45


quality posts: 9 Private Messages saxwizerd45

Now for a totally different line of questioning: What are the can't miss Sonoma wineries? Obviously I'd like to hit Wellington, but I haven't been around here long enough to have purchased a lot of the other woot wineries from Sonoma. Isn't Saxon Brown out there?

It is well to remember that there are five reasons for drinking: the arrival of a friend; one's present or future thirst; the excellence of the wine; or any other reason.

annsalisbury


quality posts: 4 Private Messages annsalisbury
saxwizerd45 wrote:Now for a totally different line of questioning: What are the can't miss Sonoma wineries? Obviously I'd like to hit Wellington, but I haven't been around here long enough to have purchased a lot of the other woot wineries from Sonoma. Isn't Saxon Brown out there?



I would suggest doing one "part" of Sonoma county each day. If you are going to Wellington, then you will be in Sonoma Valley. I would suggest the tour at Benziger for fun. The wine people at the Wall Street Journal spoke highly of the food and wine pairing tasting at Mayo. It's been a few years since we were up there, but I would suggest (in no particular order):

Loxton, Buena Vista, Chateau St. Jean, Kaz, Ledson, Ravenswood (2 for 1 tasting coupon), Sebastiani, and Kenwood.

Y'all know your limits, but I have found that we can visit more wineries when my husband and I share tastings.

winefarm


quality posts: 7 Private Messages winefarm

Congrats! These are all good suggestions. I have a couple of ??
How many days are you planning to be in Northern California?
Are you a b and b, hotel, or rental house kind of couple? Do you mind moving from place to place, or do you want to hunker down and do day trips?

Here's my first stab, assuming a week stay.

Fly into SF. Spend first night in the City or Sausalito. Go to a musical or play or special dinner.

Day 2 get up early and drive out to Muir Woods/Point Reyes. Have Hog Island Oysters or kayak. (if you love the coast, stay one night in Point Reyes) Drive through Petaluma and check in to the Lodge at Sonoma or Trojan Horse Inn. Eat dinner at El Dorado Kitchen, Cafe La Haye or La Salette on the Plaza. If it is Tuesday, enjoy the Farmers Market.

Day 3 take early morning hike on the overlook trail behind the Plaza. Have breakfast at the SUnflower Cafe or EDK. Shop around plaza until wine tasting time. Have WD hook you up with some good wineries locally. If you'd rather bike, this would be a good day to bike around to the local wineries, Buena Vista, Gun Bun, Ravenswood, Castle, Hiway 12. Save $$$, buy dinner at Sonoma Market, bring back to hotel and hang out by the pool. Reward self with massage (if staying somewhere else, you can have a massagae therapist come to you) before bedtime. Get dessert in the bar at the hotel. There is very little night life in Sonoma during the week, so you aren't missing anything.

Day 4: Check out of Sonoma, head over to Napa. Visit glass blowers in Sonoma before you go. Stop at Artesa, Domaine Chandon, Nicholson Ranch, etc on your way. Hit favorite wineries there. Camp if you have to, but go to dinner at the French Laundry or Ad Hoc. Have splits of wine to save $$$ Stay somewhere close, because you will be drunk and full.

Day 5: Napa, Calistoga wineries. Check into Healdsburg accomodations that night after dinner at Cyrus (only if you don't do French Laundry, they are very $$$).

Day 6: Visit Dry Creek/Russian River area. This might also be a nice bike tour. The Russian River also has kayak rentals. You will have had way too much great food by now, so buy your food at Oakville Grocery on the square and enjoy a picnic there.

Day 7: Drive back down 101. Stop at Golden Gate Bridge. Go to new museum in SF, the California Academy of Sciences.

Feel free to pm with further questions or ideas. If you are more inclined to stay in one place, I would suggest a different plan. Also, there are many cheaper hotel options, but I do like the Lodge at Sonoma. It's a Marriott and if you call now, you might get to use Marriott points.

rpm


quality posts: 170 Private Messages rpm
winefarm wrote:Congrats! These are all good suggestions. I have a couple of ??
How many days are you planning to be in Northern California?
Are you a b and b, hotel, or rental house kind of couple? Do you mind moving from place to place, or do you want to hunker down and do day trips?

Here's my first stab, assuming a week stay.

Fly into SF. Spend first night in the City or Sausalito. Go to a musical or play or special dinner.

Day 2 get up early and drive out to Muir Woods/Point Reyes. Have Hog Island Oysters or kayak. (if you love the coast, stay one night in Point Reyes) Drive through Petaluma and check in to the Lodge at Sonoma or Trojan Horse Inn. Eat dinner at El Dorado Kitchen, Cafe La Haye or La Salette on the Plaza. If it is Tuesday, enjoy the Farmers Market.

Day 3 take early morning hike on the overlook trail behind the Plaza. Have breakfast at the SUnflower Cafe or EDK. Shop around plaza until wine tasting time. Have WD hook you up with some good wineries locally. If you'd rather bike, this would be a good day to bike around to the local wineries, Buena Vista, Gun Bun, Ravenswood, Castle, Hiway 12. Save $$$, buy dinner at Sonoma Market, bring back to hotel and hang out by the pool. Reward self with massage (if staying somewhere else, you can have a massagae therapist come to you) before bedtime. Get dessert in the bar at the hotel. There is very little night life in Sonoma during the week, so you aren't missing anything.

Day 4: Check out of Sonoma, head over to Napa. Visit glass blowers in Sonoma before you go. Stop at Artesa, Domaine Chandon, Nicholson Ranch, etc on your way. Hit favorite wineries there. Camp if you have to, but go to dinner at the French Laundry or Ad Hoc. Have splits of wine to save $$$ Stay somewhere close, because you will be drunk and full.

Day 5: Napa, Calistoga wineries. Check into Healdsburg accomodations that night after dinner at Cyrus (only if you don't do French Laundry, they are very $$$).

Day 6: Visit Dry Creek/Russian River area. This might also be a nice bike tour. The Russian River also has kayak rentals. You will have had way too much great food by now, so buy your food at Oakville Grocery on the square and enjoy a picnic there.

Day 7: Drive back down 101. Stop at Golden Gate Bridge. Go to new museum in SF, the California Academy of Sciences.

Feel free to pm with further questions or ideas. If you are more inclined to stay in one place, I would suggest a different plan. Also, there are many cheaper hotel options, but I do like the Lodge at Sonoma. It's a Marriott and if you call now, you might get to use Marriott points.



I could not suggest a better tour! Great ideas!!

Wine-tasting in 8 words:
Pull lots of corks!
Remember what you taste!

Krugsters


quality posts: 7 Private Messages Krugsters
winefarm wrote:Congrats! These are all good suggestions. I have a couple of ??
How many days are you planning to be in Northern California?
Are you a b and b, hotel, or rental house kind of couple? Do you mind moving from place to place, or do you want to hunker down and do day trips?

Here's my first stab, assuming a week stay.

Fly into SF. Spend first night in the City or Sausalito. Go to a musical or play or special dinner.

Day 2 get up early and drive out to Muir Woods/Point Reyes. Have Hog Island Oysters or kayak. (if you love the coast, stay one night in Point Reyes) Drive through Petaluma and check in to the Lodge at Sonoma or Trojan Horse Inn. Eat dinner at El Dorado Kitchen, Cafe La Haye or La Salette on the Plaza. If it is Tuesday, enjoy the Farmers Market.

Day 3 take early morning hike on the overlook trail behind the Plaza. Have breakfast at the SUnflower Cafe or EDK. Shop around plaza until wine tasting time. Have WD hook you up with some good wineries locally. If you'd rather bike, this would be a good day to bike around to the local wineries, Buena Vista, Gun Bun, Ravenswood, Castle, Hiway 12. Save $$$, buy dinner at Sonoma Market, bring back to hotel and hang out by the pool. Reward self with massage (if staying somewhere else, you can have a massagae therapist come to you) before bedtime. Get dessert in the bar at the hotel. There is very little night life in Sonoma during the week, so you aren't missing anything.

Day 4: Check out of Sonoma, head over to Napa. Visit glass blowers in Sonoma before you go. Stop at Artesa, Domaine Chandon, Nicholson Ranch, etc on your way. Hit favorite wineries there. Camp if you have to, but go to dinner at the French Laundry or Ad Hoc. Have splits of wine to save $$$ Stay somewhere close, because you will be drunk and full.

Day 5: Napa, Calistoga wineries. Check into Healdsburg accomodations that night after dinner at Cyrus (only if you don't do French Laundry, they are very $$$).

Day 6: Visit Dry Creek/Russian River area. This might also be a nice bike tour. The Russian River also has kayak rentals. You will have had way too much great food by now, so buy your food at Oakville Grocery on the square and enjoy a picnic there.

Day 7: Drive back down 101. Stop at Golden Gate Bridge. Go to new museum in SF, the California Academy of Sciences.

Feel free to pm with further questions or ideas. If you are more inclined to stay in one place, I would suggest a different plan. Also, there are many cheaper hotel options, but I do like the Lodge at Sonoma. It's a Marriott and if you call now, you might get to use Marriott points.



I copied this and saved it.


kttest


quality posts: 2 Private Messages kttest
saxwizerd45 wrote:Thanks. I'm always a little wary of the super popular restaurants... we'll probably skip that one.



I can't believe I forgot to mention Greystone at the CIA. It was excellent.

Wow, great itinerary WF!

- Krista
"Wine is the most civilized thing in the world." -Ernest Hemingway.
NYC Tastings Summary courtesy of HAK

polarbear22


quality posts: 35 Private Messages polarbear22
winefarm wrote: Eat dinner at El Dorado Kitchen, Cafe La Haye or La Salette on the Plaza. If it is Tuesday, enjoy the Farmers Market.

Buena Vista, Gun Bun, Ravenswood, Castle, Hiway 12.


We ate dinner at La Salette on WF's recommendation when we were there. We had a really nice meal there, and not too expensive.

rpm tout enjoyed Buena Vista and Gun Bun. I think we had some special treatment at Buena Vista, but the history and wines are worth the stop. Highway 12 (Generations of Sonoma) really appreciate wooters and take good care of us. They now have a tasting room on the plaza. I enjoy their wines.

Up in Healdsburg area, the view from Armida is great. The reaction to their wine on the tour was mixed. Their wines may be too "nueva California". I really like thier Maple Vineyards Zin. But worth a stop if you are in the area.

Polar bears are meant to be clever, very clever. They are the Einsteins of the bear community. - Anonymous
Please donate to the 2014 MS Bike Ride
Want to read what SonomaBouliste has to say about wine?
Ddeuddeg Cheesecake Cookbook
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winefarm


quality posts: 7 Private Messages winefarm
kttest wrote:I can't believe I forgot to mention Greystone at the CIA. It was excellent.

Wow, great itinerary WF!


Thanks, I started to run out of steam at the end. I agree with all of your recommendations and suggest weaving them in.

I don't get to eat dinner in Napa or Healdsburg much because I don't like to run the risk of anyone drinking an driving. That's also why I recommend changing hotels every couple of days if you want to see it all. Eat dinner where you sleep and this is no problemo. Note to self: find pregnant friend to be designated driver and go out to dinner in Napa and Healdsburg!

An alternative r and r trip would cover less territory. There is a lot of driving in this one.

You could do a Sonoma County/Napa County split. In that case I would stay in Calistoga and Healdsburg with drives South into Napa/City of Sonoma, respectively. It really depends on what kind of accommodations one likes/can afford.

PB and RPM, thanks for the seal of approval!

Airports: If you want to include Muir woods, ocean and SF, fly into SFO. Otherwise, Oakland or even Sacto are much easier and usually less traffic. A romantic first night in Oakland at the Claremont hotel would be lovely. Berkeley is a fun city to check out and then you're straight into Napa.
Sacto offers less traffic and is the easiest airport ever. It is more miles away, but probably the same time. It is very clean and easy. If you arrive after 3 at any of these airports you will encounter traffic that is unpleasant!!!!! Do not even think of trying to get up to Sonoma on the same day unless you leave the airport by 3 or after 6:30. (I may be overstating this, but I no likey traffic)

WD is romantic and would recommend SFO. (I avoid SFO and hiway 101 south of SF at any cost) The drive North through the city is very cool if you have time. If you fly Virgin you go into the International terminal which is a lot easier and newer.


saxwizerd45


quality posts: 9 Private Messages saxwizerd45

Holy guppy...

Thank you so much WF, kttest, pb, and ann, (and everyone else above) for your suggestions!

I can provide a little more info: I think we're planning on staying for 8 nights. As far as the B&B v. hotel thing goes, we've never actually stayed in a B&B so we really don't know what to expect out of one. I've always been interested in trying it, though! I think we would prefer to switch where we're staying as few times as possible while we're out there, but I think one move certainly would not be out of the question.

While visiting wineries will certainly take up a large part of the trip, we also want to do other fun stuff as well, like maybe a hot air balloon ride, some horseback riding, and seeing the redwoods would be nice. Of course, have to make time for some rest and relaxation just to enjoy each other's company. We don't get to do that a whole lot since my fiancee is a CPA at a large firm and I'm in law school. And speaking of law school, finals begin tomorrow, so I'd better make the rest of this quick and get back to studying!

I don't think we're too interested in staying in SFO or Oakland and would prefer to get out to wine country right away. Flying into Oakland looks good... airfare is on par w/ flying into SFO but car rentals are cheaper for some reason.

To recap, again, thank you all so much for your help so far! I'm curious about the B&B experience... good for romantic travels? Level of privacy? Oh, and we're looking to stay places that are very nice, but not the highest end of the spectrum. Like I said before, we're not going on this trip to save money!

It is well to remember that there are five reasons for drinking: the arrival of a friend; one's present or future thirst; the excellence of the wine; or any other reason.

sonadora


quality posts: 2 Private Messages sonadora

B&Bs really depend on what kind of a person you are. If you have no interest in small talk over breakfast with other travelers or in the personal recommendations of the owners for things to do/see, it might not be worth it to you. We always stay at B&Bs on vacation because I enjoy the home cooked meals in the morning, I like the personal touches that the owners add, etc. I've never had a problem with privacy in a room except for a few places in England where you have to share a common bathroom in the hallway with other guests.

As far as dining in the area, we usually stick around Healdsburg, but have ventured out. On our recent trip (about 3 weeks ago) we ate at Estate in Sonoma which was quite tasty, Zin which I love for their duck, always excellent no matter the preparation, and the Healdsburg Bar and Grill for a an easy quick bite...the truffle parmesan fries are a don't miss! I also enjoy Bovolo in Healdsburg, they cure the bacon on site and the pasta carbonara is heavenly.

To wineries, there are so many in the area it really depends on what kind of wine you are looking for. I'm a huge Zin fan, so I tend to gravitate to Dry Creek Valley. I find an appointment at Mounts Family is always worth it, David Coffaro tops my list of great values and good wine, I'm a huge fan of De la Montanya, Acorn makes some fantastic field blends (appointment needed) and Michel Schlumberger has a Syrah and Pinot Blanc that I just love.

Good luck on your finals...work is sending me back for my LLM, I am so not looking forward to taking law school exams again!