Having had a terrific time in Healdsburg and the Sonoma Valley last year, we couldn’t wait to return and broaden our explorations a bit, and so we did, in the second week of May.
We landed at SFO after dragging ourselves through the enormous thorny hedge that is air travel today and picked up a rental car, receiving a free upgrade to a small SUV, the Ford Edge. Not great for gas mileage, of course, but excellent for hauling cases of wine, we realized with glee, and it had one unforeseen nice feature: Bluetooth Sync with our iPhones, which meant we could use Google Maps’ turn-by-turn voice instructions with ease. Nice!
I also learned how to deal with the Golden Gate Bridge tolls now that all toll booths are unmanned. Instead of paying daily for the transponder in the car when were only going to need it once, we used this website to prepay:
I did it on my phone in the car, entering the car’s license plate number and my CC information. You can also use this to pay AFTER you cross, so if you don’t have a smartphone you can handle it later.
On our way to Healdsburg we stopped in Petaluma to visit Lagunitas Brewery and Tap Room.
The beer garden is just delightful: kids, dogs, peeps of all ages, a good band, excellent servers and, of course, outstanding beer. We ordered two tasting flights, one dark and one light, as well as some deadly delicious nachos. A theme began to emerge: why is even the simplest darn thing tastier in CA? Our favorites were the WTF Stout, which we do occasionally see on tap in Florida, and the SF Fusion and Kolsch Etwas, both local only, waaah! Great pit stop, and necessary to restore mental health after air travel.
We then drove on to Healdsburg and checked into the Hotel Healdsburg for our second stay there. I really like this hotel, for its location, for the comfy beds, and for the full included breakfast—more on that later.
We had dinner that night in Healdsburg at Barn Diva. This was not to be our favorite meal of the week, but it was good, and the space, including a very pretty garden, was lovely. The asparagus soup was memorable, and I should note that the chef will prepare a vegetarian entrée to one’s specifications. I ended up with a refined vegetarian lasagna featuring potato puree and fiddlehead ferns, tomato jam, pickled red cabbage and house made pasta.
Sonoma and Napa Valleys, in 4 parts
- 1 Traveling the pacific coast highway and national parks in one week
- 2 Hike down the Grand Canyon in February?
- 3 visiting Arizona area for 18 days from May19th 2014
- 4 Savannah or Charleston- If you had to choose.
- 5 Grand Canyon in March?
- 6 Family holiday to Hawaii - which islands?
- 7 a very short trip report of our 10 days on the Big Island
- 8 California Tour Groups?
- 9 Hotel near Public Theater
- 10 a very short, uneventful trip report of our 10 days in south Kona
- 11 US West Coast - Car or Camper
- 12 First timers in Kauai--would love advice/suggestions
- 13 Warm and don't Drive
- 14 7 weeks Canada and USA. Help with itinerary please.
- 15 Easter Holiday on Kauai with 10 year old daughter
- 16 Ohare Clearing Customs from VIE Sat May 24 @ 1:30pm for 3:10pm flight
- 17 Paul Rabe - A West Chester Question
- 18 PRIDE OF AMERICA
- 19 Viginia Jan 18-21st
- 20 Heard Les Miz is Returning - Production Any Good
- 21 NOLA 10th Anniv. Suggestions?
- 22 Broadway Banter: The Fall, 2013 edition
- 23 Philadelphia or Chicago
- 24 DETROIT'S BEAUTIFUL SIDE
- 25 Road Trip to Montana, Wyoming, Idaho & Oregon