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Final itinerary critique - San Francisco & beyond.

Final itinerary critique - San Francisco & beyond.

Jul 29th, 2007, 07:55 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 189
Final itinerary critique - San Francisco & beyond.

Hello! First of all Thank you all so much for your posts. The wealth of information available here is priceless!
We are leaving Thursday (Can't believe it's finally here)& wanted to get your thoughts on our itinerary. We are a family of 4 (kids 3 & 5) and along for the ride are two grandmas, a grandpa & an aunt. Because of the age of the kids & the Srs. I have planned 1 major activity daily with add on's depending apon the mood/energy level of the group. Here we go:
Arrive Thursday night, stay 1 night at the airport(Oakland)so we can just get to bed as soon as possible.(After a 6 hour flight, I thought this would be best + we'll be on east cost time)
Friday, take bart to Market street, drop our bags & check in if possible to Westin on Market Street. Head to Visitor center on Market for Muni Passes, take cable cars to Fisherman's Wharf, check out Ghirardelli Sq. The Cannery, Boudins etc. Take a Red & white Sunset cruise head back to hotel for dinner around either Union Sq. (Puccini & Pinetti?) If time allows check out Yerba Buena Gardens.
Saturday, After Bkfst at Ferry Blvd. Take f line to pier 41, drop off parents for ferry to Sausilito, while we pick up bikes & ride across the bridge & meet them there. Wander around Sausilito lunch suggestions welcome, take ferry back. Dinner
open? Suggestions for Family friendly places welcome....
If time allows, check out china town.
Sunday, Golden Gate Park. Check out either Conservatory of flowers or Japanese Garden or both depending on time/walking distance between the two,public transportation to park etc. Wander the park visiting the playground, stow lake. Suggestions needed for family friendly lunch around park. Evening open.
Monday pick up Van, head to RRV. Staying at Holiday Inn Sebastopol. Am hoping we can manage the loop North via 101 to to 116 picking up a picnic lunch & stopping at Armstrong Woods before continuing to hwy 1 to Jenner and north to see that 10 mile or so strecth of drive everyone recommends for breathtaking sites & winding roads. Return to Sebastopol.
Tuesday, head out early for a Hot Air Balloon ride. (Grandparents staying with kids) After ride, check out of hotel & try to visit at least 1 winery. Leaning towards Preston becuase of reviews & activities to keep kids busy with grandparents while mom & dad try some wine.(Any idea what the drive time is from Sebastopol to Preston?)If too long, Korbel, Sunce & Hop Kiln have also been recommended because of the picnic grounds, duck ponds etc. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Hopefully if we have time check out Healdsburg square have dinner (family friendly suggestions appreciated) and pick up a snack for the drive to Monterey. We have reservations for the Holiday Inn in Marina.
Wednesday, Head for the Aquarium. This will be our main activity for the day. If time permits, head to Dennis the Menace park or the wharf.
Thursday check out of hotel drive to Carmel & south to Big Sur. Nepenthe for lunch?
Question:Is the 17 mile drive recommended If we are planning to go to Big Sur? We are not interested in golf courses or Mansions.
Apart from this drive, we have the rest of the day open. I have no reservations made for Thursday night, was thinking maybe after lunch driving to Santa Cruz & staying overnight.
Friday, left open to play it by ear. If we are in Santa Cruz, check out the boardwalk, if not drive back to San Francisco and visit crookedest/steepest street. Telegraph Hill, North beach etc. We need to drop of our car by 7:00ish.

Additional recommendations for family friendly restaurants in any of the above cities will be appreciated. For bkst, I'm planning on Dotties & Sears. Everything else is pretty much open.
Is Armstrong woods necessary if going to Monterey?
Is the drive North of Jenner necessary if going to Big Sur?
Silly question but.... Is the bike trip doable/recommended if it's a foggy day?

Notes: My kids are pretty good travelors. And while I would love to do more adult things, the trip will be catering to them with an occasional outing for mom & dad.

Looking forward to all your comments.
mabella101 is offline  
Jul 29th, 2007, 08:22 AM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 17,647
There is a cafe in the deYoung museum in Golden Gate park, tables inside on the patio and it's right next door to the Japanese garden. The Conservatory is within walking distance. The cafe has some hot items as well as a cold case (Avoid the lemon mousse desert).

Instead of 17 mile Drive, I'd suggest the coastline around Pacific Grove (Asilomar State Beach) which you can drive or walk.
mlgb is offline  
Jul 29th, 2007, 12:14 PM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,227
You can pick up picnic food in SF at Whole Foods market which is on California and "Franklin"(?)... think the idea of lunch at the deYoung a better idea. Armstrong Woods is unique. Don't miss it. The coast N. of Jenner is not at all the same as either the Armstrong woods or Big Sur and Route #1. If you are staying in Sebastapol the drive to Healdsburg is about 20-30 minutes. You can pick up picnic food to go at the Whole Foods Market in Sebastapol... The drive to Preston isn't far, but its not direct either. I'd suggest driving to Healdsburg and going out Dry Creek Rd, and then crossing over to West Dry Creek to get to Preston. If you have GPS it might help. In Hbg. I'd check out eating at Buvolo (sp?) its on the South side of the Sq. and in the back of some food stalls. Its next to Copperfields books. Its pretty family friendly and has good food. If you eat outside in the patio at the back, your children can run around. Enjoy your vacation.
kleroux is offline  
Jul 29th, 2007, 01:02 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1,149
If you do drive up Hwy 1 north of Jenner (it isn't the same as Big Sur) stop at Fort Ross, an historic fort the Russians had as an outpost in the 1830's. Then to go back, drive a couple of miles further north to Timber Cove Road and take it up to the top. You can then drive back south along the ridge instead of repeating your coastal drive. It is pretty up there.

And you should not miss Armstrong Grove. A classic redwood forest.

If you stay overnight in Santa Cruz, I have a dinner suggestion. On the main street, Paific Avenue, are lots of sidewalk cafes. But with the size of your group I would really suggest Rosie McCann's Irish Pub. It is upstairs, and don't worry about it's being a "pub". They have a good sized dining room, overlooking the tree-lined street, the food is good and they are very child-friendly. They would be able to set up a table so that you could all eat together.

As for a place to stay, there is a Best Western All Suites Inn two blocks from Pacific Avenue which has 2 2-bedroom suites. We no longer have a Holiday Inn in Santa Cruz, but there is the Coast Santa Cruz Hotel (rather pricey) where all the rooms have a view of the Bay, or a Carousel Motel, also near the Boardwalk where you can get discount Boardwalk ride tickets and "kids under 16 stay free with parents". Your two would love the historic carousel, and there is a special section of the park for children that age. Since that would be a Friday night I wouldn't wait too long to get lodging reservations. Summer is busy in Santa Cruz.

It sounds like you have a grteat trip planned. Enjoy.
jtrandolph is offline  
Jul 29th, 2007, 02:57 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 189
Great, this is exactly why this forum is priceless. Thanks!! MLGB, I couldn't tell how close the conservatory & Japanese Gardens where. The DeYoung Cafe sounds perfect. Kleroux, we will have a GPS so I guess Preston wouldn't be to long of a drive? Buvolo sounds like just what we need. I'll google it. JT, I hadn't realized I might have a problem finding a hotel but I'll start looking. (Since I do need 3 rooms) Sounds like Santa Cruz will work on the return trip.
Can't wait. Keep any more suggestions coming!!
mabella101 is offline  
Jul 30th, 2007, 11:11 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 949
I can't add much except to say--BRAVO for taking your young kids on a trip like this. Yes, they won't get it all but you'll make good memories and they will begin to develop their travel legs. We took our 4 and 6 year olds to Yellowstone/Grand Tetons in 2001 and still talk about the trip (looking at photo albums has helped the youngest remember I'm sure).

We took these same kids to Grand Canyon/Bryce/Zion in 2004 and to SF/Yosemite/LA in 2006 and are off to London and Scotland in a week. They are lucky kids but have also learned that kids who travel well and appreciate the adventures get to go again!

My one little suggestions is for the Sausalito day. Why not have dinner in Chinatown? Others here could give you suggestions (the one we went to last year wasn't anything to write home about)but Chinese restaurants are great fun for kids and Chinatown is fun to see.

ccrosner is offline  
Jul 30th, 2007, 03:27 PM
Join Date: May 2005
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I forgot to say that the ridge road back from Timber Cove comes back into Hwy 1 about 6 miles north of Jenner.
jtrandolph is offline  
Jul 31st, 2007, 02:51 AM
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Well, I've added another night to our hotel stay in Marina. My husband prefered a little backtracking rather then packing up & moving our stuff just for 1 night! We figured even if we decided to spend our last day in San Francisco, we can get an early start & be there by 10:00 am.

JT, I'm having a little trouble finding TIMBER COVE ROAD on any of my maps.Will it be easy to find once we're there?

CC, what can I say. We love to travel & want our kids to appreciate it also. They are really excited as I've talked to them about everything that's in store for them. I know they won't remember much but some of it will be retained & those memories & experiences will be priceless for them. I can't wait to start taking them to the National parkds in the coming years.

Thanks again & keep the suggestions coming!
mabella101 is offline  
Jul 31st, 2007, 03:19 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 949
Mabella--One last piece of crazy advice (born from experience). If either of your children is a sports/athletics nut (like our son was even at age 5), think about bringing or buying a tennis ball with you. We found that our son is a homebody and had a hard time adjusting to being in a new spot. Tossing a ball around for fifteen minutes every day (in hotel parking lots usually) really helped make him feel more at home and released some energy
ccrosner is offline  
Jul 31st, 2007, 10:40 AM
Join Date: May 2005
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Timber Cove Road comes into Hwy 1 across from Timber Cove Inn. You can't miss it. It goes up to the ridge. (This is a couple of miles north of Fort Ross.) When there, turn right and just follow it. This road is called Meyer's Grade further south, it may be called Seaview Road here, not sure.
jtrandolph is offline  
Jul 31st, 2007, 03:11 PM
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Wow, CC, we think alike. I always make sure they have some small items from home when we travel including balls to play with, even helps at the airport if there's a delay.
Thanks JT, We'll be looking out for it!!!
mabella101 is offline  
Jul 31st, 2007, 03:19 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
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For Hwy 1 bring motion sickness pills, like dramamine or bonine for kids and (older) adults even if they don't normally get sick on the winding roads.
FainaAgain is offline  
Jul 31st, 2007, 07:33 PM
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bebalm is offline  
Jul 31st, 2007, 07:41 PM
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While you are wandering around SF, head to Chinatown to see how fortune cookies are made:


We were there in '93 and still talk about it.

I'm sure there are other places. This is not the one we went to, but this is the first one I found when I googled 'san francisco chinatown fortune cookie.'
pollyvw is offline  
Jul 31st, 2007, 08:43 PM
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Well, if you are going to a fortune cookie company, do pick up a bag of those "Unfortunate Fortune Cookies" - the ones that didn't make it to Cookie Fortune Heaven.

They taste just like Fortune Cookies (same thing) - only no fortune.

I hate to confess that's one of my favorite snack foods when wandering around Chinatown.
easytraveler is offline  
Aug 1st, 2007, 03:00 AM
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Thanks easytravelor & polly, I'll make sure we look for them while we're there! Faina, is it really that bad? I hadn't even thought about motion sickness. I'll be sure to take some along. Thanks!
mabella101 is offline  

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