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Endorsements for San Francisco, Yosemite, Central Coast and Carmel

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May 16th, 2005, 12:43 PM
  #1
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13
Endorsements for San Francisco, Yosemite, Central Coast and Carmel

San Francisco - 3 nights
Yosemite – 2 nights
Central Coast Wine Country (SLO) – 2 nights
Carmel/Big Sur – 1 night

Incredible trip; here are the endorsements

San Fran
o Hotel Andrews (Union Square) was as good a hotel value as you will find anywhere. Perfectly situated, unique, clean, excellent service. One thing is a must…bring earplugs, it gets VERY loud outside on the weekends
o House of Nanking (Chinatown)- excellent Chinese food, and my kind of surroundings (divey feel). Go there at odd hours (3-4 pm, etc), because lines stretch around the corner
o Kabuki Hot Springs – one of the best things we did on the trip. Wife got the massage package, and I paid a mere 20 bucks to use the Springs facilities (hot pool, cold pool, sauna, steam room). The most stress free 90 minutes I can remember.
o Frascatti in Russian Hill..voted best date spot in City Search, and you can see why. Excellent value, perfect hillside location with cable cars going by out the window, wonderful cal-med food. A little noisy downstairs, I would request the upstairs. Also, if you’re late, you can sit outside on the corner and order a glass of wine.
o Japan tea gardens in Golden Gate Park..everyone must go, what a walk.
o We went to fisherman’s wharf for a few minutes and quickly exited for obvious reasons.

Yosemite
o Do not miss the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequioas, and just don’t go for the Grissly Giant…do the 4 mile hike if you can..it was awesome (even in the rain)…don’t restrict yourself to the valley. Frankly, I’m happy that we stayed out of the valley in Wawona..
o Wawona hotel..we were very pleased with the enormous hotel room (in the back cottages with bathroom), the restaurant service staff and food. The front service staff could have been more pleasant and accomodating, but that’s just nitpicking. Incredible history to the place. Don’t go there expecting luxury..they are doing renovations, and it’s not that kind of hotel anyway. Overall, we highly recommend it.
o You could easily skip the hike across from the Wawona hotel..nothing to write home about.

Paso Robles
o Wineries – Justin (best wine tasting), Biachi (best tasting room), Le Cuvierve (expensive wine, good tasting)
o Lunch…have lunch at the French sandwich shop right on the top corner of the town park…what a spot..what a value…Brie, basil, and turkey sandwich, fresh iced tea…

San Luis Obispo
o Best Western…we highly recommend this hotel. 89 bucks, impeccably clean, surrounding by mountains, pool, jacuzzi and deluxe breakfast for free. It’s a short walk into town.
o WE LOVED SAN LUIS OBISPO..a mixture of students, ranchers, business people etc.
o Do the Bishop Peak’s hike…overlooks the valley. About 3 miles roundtrip.
o Eat at the Basque bistro across the street from the Frog and Peach bar. Incredible seafood, and everything else for that matter…we gorged ourselves
o Wineries- highly, highly recommend Tolosa and Edna Valley. Wow what a setting.
o Hearst Castle left me very disappointed…the excess of it was ridiculous; I personally found the architecture overrated, cluttered and as unoriginal. The tour was not that interesting (at 20 bucks a person no less), and we couldn’t wait to get out of there.. Does not compare to the mansion/house tours that we have taken before (Monticello, Mt Vernon, Newport RI Mansions), albeit for different reasons. Incredible setting, not so pretty structure. I would say one of the only lowlights of the trip.

Big Sur
o Highly, highly recommend the Julia Pfieffer State Park walk. Probably the prettiest stroll you will ever take.
o Nepente for lunch..definitely worth the price.
o Recommend the Point Sur walks, although there are so many around there.

Carmel
o Mission is incredible..made me forget about the Hearst Castle experience
o Mission Ranch Inn…how anyone could give this a bad review, I’ll never know. I thought it was one of the prettiest hotel grounds (and structures) I have ever seen. The ambiance of the place is truly unreal. Dinner is an event, although the food was nothing to write home about. You have to see this place to believe it. And we got a great value (110 for a room with bathroom, in the 1850s farmhouse). One of the things we regret is not staying here another night.
o Point Lobos State Reserve..one of the great highlights in all of our travels..what a fantastic place..sea cliffs, seals, otters, cyprus groves, WOW.

That’s it..there’s a lot more, but I wanted to keep it somewhat concise. Thanks to all of you for these recommendations…very few are my own, I just did what Fodorites told me to do and it worked out..once again.
brianc57 is offline  
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May 17th, 2005, 10:34 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 1,215
Great report. I'm glad you had such a good time!
KathrynT is offline  
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