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Anti-clockwise from San Francisco to San Francisco

Anti-clockwise from San Francisco to San Francisco

May 31st, 2003, 10:08 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 17
In response to the original poster, 5 days in Healdsburg could be a little long. You might want to check out the redwoods or Napa/Sonoma for part of that time, or add a night in Monterey/Carmel/Pacific Grove. You could also add some time at the end of your trip in Marin, especially Muir Woods, Pt. Reyes, Stinson beach, etc.

Not sure what your interests are, though -- do you like outdoor activities, museums, shopping, etc?

As for the other thread within a thread:

San Jose??? Riiight, I *always* recommend it to friends visiting from Europe!

There is nothing wrong with SJ per se -- it has its own modest attractions, none of which I could imagine going out of my way for. San Jose is essentially a giant suburb with horrible traffic.

I only hope that tourists ignore the 'advice' of the rabidly pro-SJ folks on this board, some of whom sometimes stoop so low as to tell travelers to skip SF in favor of San Jose!

Have a great trip!
sparky67 is offline  
May 31st, 2003, 10:20 PM
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Let me start off by saying that I am a San Francisco native, and routinely take daytrips to San Jose to for theater performances, Broadway plays, or other things one can't find in San Francisco.

Please ignore the anti-San Jose bias, as these people are way off the mark.

San Jose a big suburb? Hmmm, it has a population of close to a million people, larger than the city of SF. Hardly what one would call a suburb. As far as traffic is concerned, San Francisco traffic is probably worse than San Jose's.
SFer is offline  
May 31st, 2003, 10:27 PM
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SFer . . . San Jose's population is close to a million? It's an even bigger suburb than I thought!
sparky67 is offline  
May 31st, 2003, 11:41 PM
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Tioga Pass is OPEN!!!!

I vote for one or two more night in Yosemite. Three nights at Tahoe is good. It will give you time to drive around the lake, take a boat tour and maybe drive over to Virgina City.

Near Bridgeport I recommend going to see Bodie State Park. This is a fantastic Ghost Town.

utahtea is offline  
Jun 1st, 2003, 08:27 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 30
Curmudgeon, Lovejoy, Janis and likeminded advisors - I couldn't agree with you more.

In my travels in various places (so far Europe, Asia, the South Pacific, and every state in the US), it is very common to meet people who, if they have been to California, go on about the physical beauty of San Francisco's setting - some put it (in the city category) at world class level - like Sydney's or Rio's harbors, etc. Sorry, but I've yet to meet anyone who talks about the unique loveliness of San Jose's setting. (San Jose is the unfortunate recipient, sited as it is - landlocked and up against the hills - of the smog from the entire rest of the Bay Area. Have you ever driven down 280 and looked down on the Bay as you go, watching the air get steadily browner and more viscous as you go south? I worked in Mountain View for two years before I ever saw the "mountains".)

San Jose is a perfectly fine place, smog notwithstanding, but in my view, telling people (especially from overseas) to take time out of a very limited vacation to see the likes of Winchester Mystery House is just misguided - although, come to think of it, WMH does give a sort of unwittingly-hilarious view of American culture.

Heck, why tell overseas visitors to come to California at all - let's just send them all to Detroit - a bigger city than either San Jose or San Francisco.
S_F_E is offline  
Jun 1st, 2003, 10:01 AM
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Let me add a vociferous DITTO to the observations of Curmudgeon, Lovejoy, Janis, Zack, Sparky and SFE above. SJ (and some of its suburbs) is a lovely place to live and work. A tourist destination it is not, and anyone who would have you believe otherwise is not giving you credible information. I, too, shake my head at the self-appointed SJ promoters who recommend the Winchester Mystery House, Rosicrucian Museum, Japanese Gardens, etc. Interesting, yes. A stop for visitors who only have a short time in CA? Definitely not.
Betsy is offline  
Jun 1st, 2003, 08:59 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
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I couldn't agree more with what Marny, SFer, Braham, and TravelCal have said. I go to San Jose frequently for both business and leisure trips. I am very impressed with how cosmopolitan a city it is. In the downtown area many restaurants, museums, theaters, and other attractions are within walking distance. I especially like going to the Japantown farmers market on Sunday mornings. Despite what some people may say, I would most certainly include San Jose as a stop during your California tour.


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hoffman is offline  
Jun 1st, 2003, 11:07 PM
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Marny, SFer, Braham, etc. have provided accurate advice about San Jose. I work in SJ, and in addiiton to being a great place to work, I go into SJ often on evenings and weekends to experience the nightlife, restaurants, and culture. In the past 10 or 15 years, restaurants, museums, and shopping in San Jose rival or exceed that which can be found in San Francisco. In addiiton, the city of SJ has some very nice parks, including the Guadalupe River Park that meanders through downtown, Alum Rock Park, and the Municipal Rose Garden. One of my favorite neighborhoods is Willow Glen, south of downtown. It is like a little town within a big city with sidewalk cafes, antiqe shops, and boutiques along Lincoln Avenue.

Some things outside the city that are nice to visit are Old Town in Los Gatos and Big Basin Park for the amazing coastal redwoods.
Jun 2nd, 2003, 12:29 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,149
No..not Fresno..unless someone has relatives they need to visit. I'd allow for more than one night in Monterey(at least 2). This is beautiful with many parts to explore. Visit Point Lobos! Photo opportunities will be grand! I agree 5 days in Healdsburg is alot if this is your trip to California. I'd even suggest a few days either in the Anderson Valley or along the Mendocino coast. Healdsburg is a great place but you can really chill out in 3 days there. I'll take a risk here..but, in the interest of international relations..I'd say skip San Jose.
PamSF is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2003, 01:45 AM
Original Poster
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Posts: 31
Wow - what a response! Thank you all for your recommendations.

Reading between the lines then, I gather you're not great fans of Fresno! On paper it seemed like a good idea; the aim being to spend as much of the day as possible ambling between Monterey and Cambria and then covering much of the distance towards Yosemite before finally flagging. Then up early next day and into Yosemite for the day before the first overnight in Mariposa. Fresno seemed to fit the bill, but on balance we may be able to cut that out and go straight to Mariposa.

Great news about Tioga Pass - thanks in particular to Lovejoy and utahtea for that. (We were in Utah last year; is that your neck of the woods, utahtea?)

As for the five days at Healdsburg, the idea is to use it as a hub from which to take day trips to explore in every direction: Calistoga (the ladies want mud baths while the men look for a balloon ride); the vineyards, and the nature reserve on the coast to name a few. We'll review the options and the timings in the light of all your advice.

And I've learned a lot from the San Jose debate, too. It appears then that San Francisco is now a suburb of San Jose! Seriously though, with the greatest respect to all participants in this one, we'll probably give it a miss. We'll have had our 3 days in the city and our interests are chiefly outdoorsy: photography, nature trails, wildlife. Lakes and mountains and spectacular scenery probably sums it up. But for every visit we make to the US, (this is our 7th) we MUST visit a Wal-Mart. There are Wal-Marts on our route, aren't there???

Anyway travellers, it all starts on Thursday (June 5th). We may sail blindly past you, but we do appreciate all your helpful recommendations. Thanks again.

Driver is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2003, 10:54 AM
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Driver use this link to find a Walmart near your route.You will find numerous choices.
Lovejoy is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2003, 11:46 AM
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LOL - Walmart came to California several years ago, so I think you will be in luck.
J_Correa is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2003, 01:21 PM
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A few more thoughts on your trip and itinerary. First 3 days in SF is fine. Most flights from the UK seem to get here mid day so you will have 2+ days for the city. I will be in San francisco thursday for a show and the weather appears likely to be foggy. Would advise staying around Union Square if your budget allows it or on Lombard in the Marina where you can get a nice double with parking for $100.
If you get here friday the 6th you will leave SF on monday, probably about mid morning to stay out of traffic and head down route 1 ( I know 101 is faster but 1 is nicer and I would not stop in SJ. The Michelin Green book puts SJ in the interesting category, not worth a trip category or detour category and I agree) with possible stop in Santa Cruz. I would recommend 2 nights on the Monterey Peninsula. Carmel would be my first choice if budget allows or one of the B&B's in Pacific Grove. This will give you 1+ days to explore the area.
I would than wander down Big Sur with a
possible stop at Nepenthe for lunch unless budget allows for Post Ranch dinning. Drive down and stay in San Simeon. for one or two nights. Tour Hearst Castle the next day and if you are spending two nights there you may have more time to explore the coast. Need to reserve this ahead of time. Perhaps you may wish to play this by ear as the weather may be great or foggy.
(Unlike England you will not get rain, just possibly fog) My classmates from my University in England all seem to enjoy this Big Sur to San Simeon area.
Long drive to Yosemite. Would go towards Fish Camp. Lots of possible places to stay if you do not have reservations in Yosemite. Would recommend staying in the valley if possible, even springing for the Awhanee if budget allows it. Spend two to three nights here since the outdoors is your priority. Lots of great places to hike, especially in the high country. Tioga pass to Bridgeport for one night. 1 to 2 nights in Lake Tahoe. ( yes I know lots of people who have cabins there and love it but for my money unless you are into gambling one day here is fine as I would rather spend more time on the coast or Yosemite.) Drive to Sonoma and stay in
Healdsburg or if time allows considering
a move to Mendocino and a drive down 1 to San Francisco. Return to SF for flight home. Hope this helps.
mjs is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2003, 01:33 PM
Posts: n/a
Wal-Mart? You have got to see the one on Hwy 395, just before Hwy 50 up to Lake Tahoe. It's HUGE! You really need rollerskates in that one.
Jun 2nd, 2003, 01:50 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 52
I hope that you have a great trip in California. It looks like you will be able to see alot of diiferent parts of the state. From your last post, being that you like the outdoors, you may want to eliminate one night in SF and spend the extra time seeing the coastal redwoods in Big Basin instead. For a quicker route south of SF toward Santa Cruz and Monterey, 280/17/1 is the best, and much more scenic than the sound walls along 101. The rolling hills along 280 make for a nice drive. As far as San Jose is concerned, I lived in an SJ suburb (Palo Alto) and my son lives in SF, so I am familiar with both cities. SF and San Jose both are unique cities. San Jose is really one of those hidden treasure places that actually has alot going for it when it comes to attractions, dining, and even the parks in the mountains around San Jose. Some of the best parks in the area for hiking are Alum Rock, Big Basin, and Rancho San Antonio. I think that many people have misconceptions about the way San Jose used to be 20 years ago. WHen they come to visit now they are shocked at the transformation and how much nicer it has become. Much the same can be said for the city of Philadelphia as well.
kam is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2003, 03:01 PM
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I have a friend who visits the states bi-anually from London who loves big US drug stores and is "gob smacked" by Wal-Mart--she says it's the amount and variety of items.
SAB is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2003, 05:08 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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The unique San Jose area attraction for foreign visitors would be Fry's Electronics stores. Bigger than a Wal-Mart, but dedicated to computer/electronic stuff. The old store in Santa Clara (replaced because it was too small) was built in the form of the original IBM PC, down to the floor tile pattern tracing out the circuit board.
curmudgeon is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2003, 11:32 PM
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Samee - I walk in Alum Rock park regularly, it's about half a mile from my house. Anybody calling it "little Yosemite" needs their head (or vision) examined. I chose San Jose as a place to live and raise my kids 18 years ago; over places like San Diego and Seattle. You name a place in San Jose, and I've probably "been there, done that"; and generally enjoyed it. There are plenty of things to do here if you need to be in San Jose; it's one of the better places to get sent on a business trip. But all the same, my overseas visitors have all been more impressed by Fry's than any of the San Jose tourist attractions (I don't consider Big Basin part of San Jose).

While California has world-class attractions, San Jose is not one of them.
curmudgeon is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2003, 02:56 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 31
Ladies and gentlemen - please forgive me. I really don't want to be the cause of any acrimony here. I'm sure San Jose, like almost any other major city (and not a few minor ones) all around the world has plenty to offer tourists. Whether to make a special detour there is entirely a matter for individual tastes. I have already said that we will not make that deviation from our intended plans, although you have all given us plenty of food for thought to squirrel away against another travel opportunity, for which, many thanks.

Thanks to the insightful janis in particular for painting pictures confirming that Tahoe and Healdsburg are suited to our interests. The gondola ride at Tahoe is a 'must' and you've suggested about everything we thought of and more for Healdsburg.

Come fog or shine, I can tell you that we will enjoy ourselves. We'll make the most of whatever we encounter, not least because of the additional information we've gleaned from all of you.

San Jose - Dionne Warwick planted the seed and the pro SJ posters have grown it. Next time, perhaps.
Driver is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2003, 11:47 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 376
Hi all:

I came over from my usual spot on the Europe board to ask a question on a totally unrelated topic and got sucked in by this amusing thread.

Now, let me start by saying that I do not live, work, play, or otherwise have much contact with San Jose, CA. However, what I DO have is perhaps a more relavent and/or objective view of the area: I was recently in the area as a tourist. I am an American from the mid-west (who has traveled extensively in this country--been to all 50 states, in fact) who completed a two-week trip of central and northern CA about a month ago. During this trip we did go to San Jose.

Now--San Jose is great, San Jose is fine, San Jose is lovely, etc., etc., etc. What it is not (or should not be IMHO), however, is a major tourist destination. We went there to see friends from college who live there now and, while we enjoyed it, it was in no way the highlight of our trip (I'd reserve that for the 3 nights we spent camping in the Big Sur area--WOW!!).

I'm sorry to anyone who's a "San Jose supporter" on this thread. You have a lovely city with many fine qualities about it. But I woldn't encourage an overseas visitor with limited time to spend much, if any, of that precious time there. It's just not in that league, as far as I'm concerned.


Jennie is offline  
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