14 days in CA, where to go

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Jul 7th, 1999, 02:09 PM
  #1
tanja
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14 days in CA, where to go

Could someone help me to plan a trip, we are staying for 3 day`s in SF. We want to see Napa, Sonoma and I would love to see Lake Tahoe, is it worth it and where would be the best way to start? Calistoga sounds great too, there are so many things, please help.
Also any idears for nice B&B`s or can we just drive along and choose then, it will be August, high season.
thanks a lot Tanja
 
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Jul 7th, 1999, 11:34 PM
  #2
wendy
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Definitely go to Tahoe - it is breathtaking!
 
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Jul 8th, 1999, 07:27 AM
  #3
Cindy T.
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Boy I envy you, so much to do, so much to see! We were in CA last June and did a nine day whirlwind driving tour from San Diego to San Fran. I would not reccomend this unless you have a lot more time. There were so many things we didn't get to experience fully. Anyway, one thing I would have liked to do was spend some time at Yosemite National Park which is easily accessible from San Fran. Also, think about venturing south to Monterey and Carmel, great towns in a beautiful setting. Don't miss 17 Mile Drive outside Carmel or the aquarium in Monterey. You may also want to consider spending a night or two relaxing in Big Sur (beautiful coastline/Redwoods) at either the Post Ranch Inn or the Ventana Inn (advance reservations definitely a must). Also, try to drive down Route 1 south of Big Sur a little ways for some breathtaking views of the Pacific and CA coastline. Wine Country deserves at least a few days, and, although I've never been there, I've heard Tahoe is great. You won't be able to do all of these things but I thought I'd give you a wide range to chose from. Basically you need to decide whether you want to go North and East of San Fran or South and West. Or make San Fran your home base and try to do a few things that are close by in each direction. Hope I haven't confused you. Feel free to e-mail me if you need anymore info. Have a great trip!
 
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Jul 8th, 1999, 08:23 AM
  #4
Paul Rabe
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The drive up the Napa Valley is a delightful way to spend a day. Depending on your favorite things to do, Lake Tahoe is a place you could spend a WEEK.

Monterry/Carmel is another place for a great day trip; the Seventeen Mile Drive IS fantastic, as noted before. And let's not forget Santa Cruz, or Henry Cowell Redwoods, or Muir Woods. Yes, you have a LOT of choices. Decide what you REALLY like best to do and then go the place where you can do that.

However, I would recommend Yosemite over any of them in a New York minute!
 
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Jul 8th, 1999, 10:06 AM
  #5
cp
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Tanja-
It sounds like what you want is a 2 week tour of the bay/Mountain Corridor.
1 idea for a rought itinerary could look something like this:

* San Francisco - 3 days
* Drive over GG bridge, head up PCH 1 to Tomales. Possible stops are Sausalito, Muir Woods, Mt. Tamalpais, Pt. Reyes Natl. Seashore. Overnight at Pt. Reyes station or continue on to Petuluma on the Tomales-Petaluma Road.
* From Petaluma head east on 116 to Sonoma Valley go north to Calistoga. Possible overnight here or head south to Napa. There are many wineries to tour or taste at along the way. However, I can't recommend tasting at more than 4 wineries unless you spit each and every time.
* From Napa Head east on highway 12 to Interstate 80. Head east to Truckee. Possible stops include outlet shopping or the Budweiser tour in Fairfield, the river park or capitol building in Sacramento, Ikeda's produce stand/pie shop/Burger joint in Forest Hill just after Auburn.
* Truckee is a possible base for N. Lake Tahoe. This is the outdoorsy end of the lake for hiking, fishing etc. Donner Lake right next to Truckee is another nice lake. If that is not your thing head south to S.Lake Tahoe. This is the glitzy end of the lake with lots of casinos.
* From S. Lake Tahoe head south on highway 89 until it meets 395. Continue south to Mono Lake. Visit Mono, especially see the tufa columns.
* From Mono Lake head west on highway 120. this will take you through Yosemite Natl. Park, entrance fee $20.00. You will Not be able to stay in the valley unless you have secured reservations several months prior. If you have the camping gear with you, you may be able to stay in one of the Tioga road campgrounds. Otherwise, you'll have to stay outside the park.
* From the other side of Yosemite, take 120 tp Highway 49. This road passes through many of the gold rush towns. Two towns Columbia and another one I can't remember have been preserved as living history towns. You can see people in period clothes doing things like blacksmithing. Depending on how much "Gold Rush" you can handle, you can take highway 49 for as little or as long as you would like, I would probably go as far as Placerville and then head back west to SF.

There are more B&B's in Wine and Gold country than you can shake a stick at. many are not cheap and it seems to be always high season. Most have 2 night stay requirements for weekends and also need advance reservations. My experience with finding B&B's is that it takes a combination of books and the internet.
 
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Jul 8th, 1999, 06:56 PM
  #6
Patty
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Hi Tanja..I live between SF and Lake Tahoe and my suggestion to you would be to hang out on the coast for a week ( it can be overcast in August but who cares, its beautiful.)Then you could warm up in the wine country and end up in Tahoe which is about 3hrs from Napa.I would absolutely spend a few days in Tahoe.You'll not regret it. Its unreal...Have fun, Patty
 
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Jul 9th, 1999, 08:03 PM
  #7
Jim Hay
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14 days in CA?... at least some of that time should be spent on the Mendocino Coast. It's lovely, dramatic, vibrant... and it's a great place to sit back, enjoy the scenery, the fireplace, a good book and a bottle of wine. Or, if you prefer, it's a great place to walk along the ocean bluffs, watch the seals, the birds, breathe the good, fresh air, THEN go back to the fireplace, the book and the bottle of wine. There are lots of places to shop, great restaurants, and wonderful places to stay. Check out the website www.mendocinocoast.com for things to do, calendar of events, places to stay, dining.... etc. And, if you'd like more info, email me.
 
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Jul 9th, 1999, 09:24 PM
  #8
Monica Richards
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Tanja:

You need to book NOW for places in Napa in August!!! I had a devil of a time getting something at the end of July a month ago--they told me Calistoga was booked for the entire summer and they were taking reservations for next year. Definitely DO NOT leave this up to chance--I can guarantee that you won't find anything. You should have better luck in the middle of the week rather than finding a place for the weekend, but please do start calling for reservations now.

As to your other questions, Tahoe sounds good--you definitely have enough time, and I also think you could make it to the Mendocino coast. If you go there, my personal favorite place to stay is the Lodge at Noyo River (they have a web site too).

But DO make your reservations NOW!!
 
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Jul 9th, 1999, 10:43 PM
  #9
Karen
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I agree with Monica -- book now for August. Don't leave it to chance or you may wind up with something like Motel 6! Mendocino Coast is also definitely doable and worth seeing. I have a personal favorite place up there too -- Greenwood Pier Inn. It's in Elk a little south of the town Mendocino, on Hwy 1. It is such a beautiful and romantic place on the cliffs overlooking the ocean. It's so wonderful, you might not want to leave your room or the property at all! Take a look at their website (http://www.greenwoodpierinn.com). They're a little expensive, but well worth the price.
 
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Jul 10th, 1999, 07:16 AM
  #10
pam
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I know it may be tempting to see all of that in 3 days, but SF alone could keep you busy for an entire week. Additionally, each of those destinations are at least 3 hour drive from one another so you may feel as though you have spent the trip on the road. I would recommend seeing SF and choosing between Lake Tahoe and Napa. If you enjoy hiking and the rugged outdoors - Lake Tahoe is amazing. If you want to go from winery to winery sipping different grapes and eating cheese and crackers - Napa is the place for you. Enjoy!
 
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Jul 10th, 1999, 10:15 AM
  #11
kam
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I agree with Pam. Decide whether you want hiking and nature, in which case choose Yosemite and Tahoe, or great food and wine, in which case choose Napa/Sonoma/Mendocino. Alternatively, if you're a beach and ocean person, head south to Monterey, Pacific Grove, Carmel and Big Sur. I would spend 4-5 days in San Francisco including daytrips to Sausalito and Muir Woods, Pt. Reyes etc. And, the advice to make reservations NOW is very good. The Bay area is one of the top destinations for tourists in the U.S. Take time to enjoy part of what is here and come back soon for the rest.
 
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Jul 17th, 1999, 10:15 AM
  #12
charliebignose
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Tanja,
I think it sounds like a fabulous trip.
I really wish I could come along too. I think you Yosemite sounds magnificent, and as a Kerouac fan I would be tempted by Big Sur too. But then you seem to have it under control with all the advise above I would just make sure you travel with some top people, who you can get on well with, and who are keen to have some fun too.

All the best - CBN.
 
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Jul 17th, 1999, 10:24 AM
  #13
charliebignose
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Tanja,
I think it sounds like a fabulous trip.
I really wish I could come along too. I think you Yosemite sounds magnificent, and as a Kerouac fan I would be tempted by Big Sur too. But then you seem to have it under control with all the advise above I would just make sure you travel with some top people, who you can get on well with, and who are keen to have some fun too.

All the best - CBN.
 
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Jul 17th, 1999, 10:36 AM
  #14
Beth
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Hi Tanja,

this is the itinerary I did some years ago. It might make a good starting point for you.

3 nights SF
2 nights Monterey (saw the Aquarium, downtown Monterey, Carmel)
4 nights Yosemite (drive from Monterey to Yosemite was pretty long, 5-6 hours I think)
3 nights Napa (spent all 3 nights in Napa, but did one day trip to Sonoma. Probably 2 nights is sufficient for most people, but we are wine collectors)
Back to SF for 2 nights

It was a great trip, and didn't feel particularly rushed or like we were in a car a lot. You could replace Yosemite with Tahoe, I suppose, I'm not sure how much longer you would be driving.

Definitely make all your reservations in advance. It already may be difficult.
 
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