Brief trip to Sonoma - need help!

Old Jul 18th, 2004, 10:35 AM
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Brief trip to Sonoma - need help!

Whew! Am very overwhelmed by breadth/depth of info available re: napa vs. sonoma and where to stay. My husband & I will be in San Fran for a wedding in mid Sept and wanted to plan a sidetrip to wine country. Have about 48 hours and one night to plan and I want to stay somewhere that's "just right." I've browsed trip advisor and fodors extensively and still can't figure out the best place to stay/visit. Have narrowed from "everywhere" to sonoma - now these questions remain:
* Which vineyards to visit? We enjoy boutique wines...I'm also a big zin fan and know Ravenwood is up there.
* Where to stay? Want an upscale (luxury?) B&B or inn with great food and cozy rooms. I sense its hard to come by with consistancy.
Any input from savvy travellers out there?

appreciate all feedback.
belin is offline  
Old Jul 18th, 2004, 12:57 PM
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You are right--so many options! Take a look at the Seven Sisters Inns. There are several in differnt locations in that area, each with a different feel. But everyone I know who has stayed at any of them has enjoyed it. And many are repeat or annual customers.
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Old Jul 18th, 2004, 06:03 PM
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I live in Sonoma County and will give
you my idea of "perfect B&B".
Check out the Grape Leaf Inn in Healdsburg and then look at
the wineroad.com website. some of my faves for Zin here:
Sausal
Christopher Creek
Roshambo
Davis Bynum
Limerick Lane
Seghessio
Ravenswood is no longer a boutique
winery, BTW
Enjoy!
R5
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Old Jul 18th, 2004, 07:27 PM
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Growing up in the area and living about an hour away, I can't vouch for hotels etc. I think for a first time quick visit you would probably be happy though in St. Helena area. My friends honeymooned at The Harvest Inn and had a gorgeous room with hardwood floors, fireplace, and oriental carpets.

In St. Helena area you could try Duckhorn--not sure if they do tasting, Sequoia Grove, Gingrich, Coppola-Niebaum, Merryvale or venture out on your way back to bay area to stop at Hess, which has a nice art collection. Enjoy
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Old Jul 18th, 2004, 07:41 PM
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You can not go wrong with razzledazzle's information. The Healdsburg area is wondeful and the Grape Leaf Inn, although I have not stayed there, I have heard wonderful reviews from friends that have stayed there and Segiso's tasting room is the best. Encjoy your trip.
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Old Jul 18th, 2004, 07:47 PM
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Thanks for the input...I know, I know...Ravenswood is no longer small time but the zin is still fabulous! I appreciate the winery options as well. I did browse the Grape Leaf Inn website and while there's been lots of positive responses in this forum that I could see, I couldn't get a feeling from the inn's website. Any ideas about the Applewood Inn? Thanks for everything, btw.
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Old Jul 19th, 2004, 10:10 AM
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In Sonoma, you will love the Sonoma Mission Inn. Many great places to dine around Sonoma. Cafe La Haye and The Girl and the Fig are two of my favorites.

In Healdsburg, it doesn't get any better than the upscale Hotel Healdsburg. Get a room with the soaking tub and dine at Charlie Palmer's Dry Creek Kitchen. Heaven on earth! ***kim***
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Old Jul 19th, 2004, 12:31 PM
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If you are going to Healdsburg, I'd stay at the Hotel Healdsburg........the beds are divine and the couple's spa treatment is a fun activity with chocolate/champage, soaking tub and massages. I'd eat at Manzanita for dinner and Zin for lunch.
If going to Napa, I'd stay at Meadowwood off the Silverado Trail. The rooms are charming.
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Old Jul 19th, 2004, 02:20 PM
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Hi belin-OK let's get clear on your original request-You did request a "luxury B&B or Inn with great food"
right? FYI-The Sonoma Mission Inn is a huge resort, recently remodled,but not IMHO the best of Sonoma County. And you do want to visit Ravenswood-right?
Now, if you are going to Ravenswood (still fun,
we have the t-shirts!) and you only have overnight (you will be in
South/South eastern Sonoma county
much of the area is referred to as the Caneros) which is in the the town of Sonoma and I would choose the Kenwood Inn (Kenwood is just north of Sonoma town) for a truly luxury inn/b&b
experience. Nearby to Ravenswood
in this corner of the county you could tour (in keeping with your request for smaller vintners)- Gundlach-Bundschu (now THESE GundBun folks have fun), Schug,
Roche, Cline, Caneros Creek and Viansa (not the
greatest wine, but they have an exceptional deli). Now up on 12,near the Kenwood Inn you have St Francis,
Landmark, Valley of the Moon, Kunde,
and Chateau St. Jean. A little to the
est of HWY 12 is the cute little town of Glen Ellen-lots of people like Benzinger here. So, because your time is short and I'd love to see you make the most of it-I would stay in either Sonoma -if you want to see Ravenswood OR Healdsburg and tour in the Dry Creek or Russian River areas. One or the other
and there are wonderful places to eat,
in both (and it sounds like you might
be eating out about twice?)
Applewood Inn is lovely, very good food just a tad removed from things. If Healdsburg
becomes your choice, Madrona Manor might be worth a look, but I'd bet money you would love the Grape Leaf!
What do you think?
R5
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Old Jul 19th, 2004, 02:56 PM
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Hi again, belin! My neighbor has
just reminded me of 2 of her
favorite luxury inn/b&b's near Sonoma town in Glen Ellen:
Gaige House Inn (she advised on the new
spa suites) and
Glen Ellen Inn
Happy dilemma!
R5
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Old Jul 19th, 2004, 02:59 PM
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IF the new suites are open-as she thought they may be open in Sept.
She had a peek 2 weeks ago-gee I think I may have to talk to Mr.R5 about our Oct. anniversary!
R5
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Old Jul 19th, 2004, 04:18 PM
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Don't forget about Della Santina's in Sonoma too.

Ravenswood does make some very good Zins. If I ever stopped at their winery, they would have to dust me off wevery so often. They have a shiraz from Australia that is pretty good too.

R5er-When in Oct? We may be doing a "Yountville Pub Crawl" for a friend's Oct birthday.:-?
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Old Jul 19th, 2004, 06:04 PM
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We stayed at the Belle de Jour Inn in Healdsburg and its meets your requirements, I think. www.belledejourinn.com. We stayed in the Terrace Room and enjoyed both the tub and the semi-private patio.

Applewood Inn: razzledazzle is right that it has fantastic food, but a bit out of the way.
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Old Jul 19th, 2004, 07:36 PM
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WOW! What great input from all! I've made reservations at the Grape Leaf Inn based on numerous positive comments, and since we're actually staying TWO nights (hooray!), it sounds like I may be able to pull off a Ravenswood visit AND hit the Russian River Valley, etc on two respective days. Am really looking forward to checking out some of the smaller and lesser known wineries. When we chose wines for our wedding a few years back, we selected all boutique vineyards which I know must have given our guests pause at first but no one was disappointed, we received lots of compliments, and so our appetites were whet for the little guys! So is that do-able, do you think? A day up in the Russian River Valley and perhaps the next morning closer to Sonoma?
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Old Jul 22nd, 2004, 10:28 AM
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We just visited Healdsburg and had two great dinners. The first night we dined at Charcuterie. Fantastic escargots, delicious steak and a lemon pot de creme. The steak is so big that a lot of people split that entree (only costs you an extra few bucks.

The second night we ate The Ravenous. Abnother terrific meal. If you reserve, make sure you request the patio dining. The restaurant looks funky when you go in, but the dinner was great.

We had an interesting Zinfandel at Charcuterie called Rued. Very jammy. Rued is a small family-owned vineyard that does not do tastings, but if you like it the wine is sold at a wine store near the town square. I bought six bottles and had it shipped to my office. It arrived yesterday. Seghesio was another great recommendation, and the Dry Creek area has lots of wineries with lots of great Zins.

Also in Healdsburg, Davis Family has set up a tasting room that is only open on Friday and Saturday. I think you will enjoy their zinfandel as well. Ask your inn for directions.

A fun way to go to Healdsburg from the Bay area is to drive to Napa and take The Silverado Trail to Calistoga (128 I believe. Skip the 29. too crowded). Drive through Calistoga and then go through the Alexander Valley to Healdsburg. Beautiful drive. We rented a convertible. Bring plenty of sunscreen.

Have fun.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2004, 11:17 AM
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Hi Belin - I see that you already made reservations. My husband and I spent 3 nights in Sonoma as part of our honeymoon trip.

Incase you are interested, everything we did was perfect.

Lodging - Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn, the Mission Suite.

Dining - In Sonoma Plaze there is a Brazillian restaurant but I can't remeber the name, just ask, there is only one. The Della Santina, Deuce, and again in Sonoma Plaza a French place called something and Oysters. Sorry about the names but if you just ask, it's a small town and anyone in the area will know where to direct you.

Pub - Murphy's Pub in Sonoma Plaza

Wine Tour - I suggest higher a driver for about for 5 hours at $45 per hour including tip and taxes.
1) St. Francis
2) St. Jean
3) Wellington
4)Berzinger
5)Kunde
6)Valley of the moon

The driver was great and even though we had breakfast and hit St. Francis at 11:30, we were tipsy by the time we got to the second winery, St. Jean. It just made the day an adventure with absolutely no worries.

Have fun.
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