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Half Moon Bay, CA - stay there or go to Napa Valley?

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Jul 23rd, 2014, 02:38 PM
  #1
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Half Moon Bay, CA - stay there or go to Napa Valley?

Whoops, accidentally posted this in travel tips instead of US so I'm reposting.

My husband has a conference to attend in Half Moon Bay at the end of October, so he's asked if I want to come with him and extend the trip to a long weekend break. His conference is finished Wed, so I'd join him that day and then we'd fly home at some point Sunday. In an ideal world we'd have more time, but since we have a toddler at home we wouldn't be able to get someone to babysit for that long (frankly Wed-Sun is pushing it!)

Since neither of us have been to wine country we thought we'd rent a car and do that, and maybe stop in San Fran for a day, but we're pretty clueless about the area. I've been to SF once years ago, but barely remember it. Initial thoughts: SF Thursday, Fri/Sat Sonoma, Napa or somewhere in that area, fly home Sunday.

With only Thurs, Fri and Sat would you even bother doing the wine country or just stay in Half Moon Bay and maybe do a day trip to San Fran or a winery? If you were to do Fri and Sat in wine country, which town would you choose as a home base? I'm looking up info on the Half Moon Bay tourism site and it looks beautiful but not sure if there's loads to do there.

Thanks in advance!
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Jul 23rd, 2014, 03:17 PM
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Me personally -- I'd stay Thurs night in Half Moon Bay, and then go south - not north to Napa/Sonoma. I'd spend Fri/Sat in Monterey/Carmel (and there are plenty of vineyards/wine regions throughout CA and there are several near Santa Cruz, San Jose, Monterey, Carme,l etc.

But if you are set on going north -- I'd do Thurs/Fri nights in Napa/Sonoma and Sat night in SF before flying out Sunday.
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Jul 23rd, 2014, 05:10 PM
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Thanks, I hadn't considered going elsewhere and don't know anything about Monterey. I'll have to do some research on that!

Good point though if we did do SF, to be close to the airport on Sunday.
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Jul 23rd, 2014, 05:43 PM
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I think your plan of going to Napa and Sonoma Valleys for Thursday and Friday and then to San Francisco for Friday is a perfect way to spend the three days. Napa is only 75 miles from Half Moon Bay and about 50 miles from San Francisco. Thus, you won't be doing a lot of driving. There is plenty to do in the Napa/Sonoma area. Some wineries have art galleries and exhibits, the city of Sonoma has an interesting historic area, Healdsburg has a delightful town square, etc. Go armed with a guidebook (or at least an AAA TourBook).

You might want to return the car upon arrival in San Francisco so I wouldn't be saddled with expensive parking.

HTtY
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Jul 24th, 2014, 09:42 AM
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Since you are south of SF at HMB, I favor going south as well. On a tight budget you could stay at the HI Hostel at the Pigeon Point lighthouse (near Pescadero). DW and I even spent a night at the HI Hostel in Monterey. I don't really mind a bathroom/shower "down the hall". I do like cooking in most HI hostel kitchens.
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Jul 24th, 2014, 01:40 PM
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I'd probably go north just because you've already spent some time by the ocean and you'd get a whole different experience going to Napa or Sonoma. I'd probably pick Sonoma over Napa as it is packed on the weekends although might not be so bad in Oct. Healdsburg is a good place to stay. I love the drive along the Russian River and there are some outstanding wineries there.

However if you do go south, Monterey, Carmel and a drive through part of Big Sur would be great. There are some good wineries around Monterey.

Definitely do SF last as others have suggested.
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Jul 24th, 2014, 01:44 PM
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I think paula1470 makes a great point--the scenery in Napa and Sonoma is beautiful in a different way from the coast. I, too, would choose Healdsburg and the nearby Dry Creek AVA over Napa. the extra driving is scenic and as HTTY says, its not far, really.
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Jul 24th, 2014, 01:49 PM
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I also prefer Sonoma over Napa- feels more laid back to me- love the little town of Healdsburg

I was in Half Moon Bay for the first time in May- It is a cute little beach town- check out the HMB Brewery-
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Jul 24th, 2014, 02:22 PM
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Yep - that's pumpkin fest time in HMB, which is extremely popular. HMB is a small town, so it doesn't take many people to make it crowded and unmanageable. Definitely check your dates against those of the festival.
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Jul 24th, 2014, 11:36 PM
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healdsburg, dry Creek area are great - wonderful wineries and top notch beauty but Carmel Valley if you want wine tasting and stay in the south land. the scenery is much better North for wine tasting in my opinion mainly because there are soooo many vineyards.
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Jul 29th, 2014, 05:53 AM
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Thanks for the tips, everyone! Just checked, and Pumpkin fest is actually the weekend before we'd be there so hopefully we'll miss the crowds. I was leaning toward Sonoma only because (and this is embarrassing) The Bachelor a few seasons ago was from there and they showed the town and it looked so cute! LOL.
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Jul 29th, 2014, 07:55 AM
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http://www.ciarestaurants.com/califo...-at-greystone/

You can do lunch there also. We sat at the bar and loved watching the chefs in action. They also talk to you at the bar. I loved the gift shop.
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Jul 30th, 2014, 12:06 PM
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Thanks, flpab! That looks great.
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