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Help in planning trip to California: Carmel, Wine Country...

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Apr 18th, 2005, 04:16 AM
  #21
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Join Date: May 2003
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Thanks for all of the replies. The are, as always, so helpful!

Change in plans, we are now able to add a day onto the trip, leaving Saturday morning and returning the following Sunday.

Big Basin sounds great! Thanks for that. However, now I'm not so sure what we are doing in Carmel (and area) for two and a half days. I've read a lot of great things about Carmel, and others say "it's not there kind of thing." We do like to visit little quaint towns with charm, but I'm wondering if we should try to squeeze somewhere else in too, Tahoe? Although, I may be thinking too much! I love California! I'm just afaid of discovering something else while vacationing and not have time for, you know, the "wish we would have had time for..." and that always happens. It's just I was dead set on Carmel and the wine regions and now I'm questioning myself on the lenght on time in Carmel.

Any suggestions?
Avella is offline  
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Apr 20th, 2005, 10:32 PM
  #22
 
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I'm not sure how far or if it's feasible, but what about visiting Hearst Castle?
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Apr 20th, 2005, 10:57 PM
  #23
 
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Hearst Castle is about 3 hours from the Carmel/Monterey area. I'm in my Monterey Hotel at I write. We drove up from LA today, stopping at Hearst Castle. (We are on our way to SF. The the castle was beautiful and the drive was breathtaking, but I don't think I'd drive 3 hours each way unless I had something else on the agenda, too.
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Apr 21st, 2005, 03:47 AM
  #24
 
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Tahoe is a four or five hour drive from SFO. I don't see how you're going to squeeze it in, especially when you think seeing redwoods might be "pushing it". You could hit all these places, Napa Valley, Carmel, Tahoe and redwoods in a week if you keep moving, but it sounds like you're interested in stopping somewhere for a couple of days at least.

You'll have plenty of time to get to the redwoods near Santa Cruz if you spend two nights in Carmel, and plenty of time to get to Armstrong Woods if you spend the rest of the time in the Napa Valley or Sonoma. And there are wineries everywhere along your route, in the Santa Cruz mountains, and along the Russian River east of Armstrong Woods.

Oh and then there's the oyster towns near Point Reyes and Bodega Bay. Stinson Beach, Pt. Reyes Station, Inverness. These are more my idea of "quaint little towns" than is Carmel, but they don't have a whole lot of shopping.

Anyway you're going to have to miss something, you could spend a month in California and not have time to see everything. And if you just spend a couple of hours in a place, you haven't really "seen" it.

I think people say Carmel's "not their thing" because it's pretty expensive, and some of the shops are fairly kitschy, touristy stuff, like you find on Cannery Row in Monterey--and there's nothing inexpensive and decent. But I understand there are some great restaurants there if you know which ones they are.
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Apr 21st, 2005, 09:36 AM
  #25
 
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I'm one of the people who doesn't care for Carmel very much. It's a cute, quaint place, but it's kind of snooty. Everything there is expensive and that's not my thing. Golf is also huge there, and I don't like golf at all. Carmel is just not my kind of place. A lot of people absolutely love it though.
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Apr 26th, 2005, 04:27 PM
  #26
 
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My choice would definatly be Sonoma County as opposed to Napa. Sonoma is so much more beautiful, quaint, LOVELY drives to and from each winery. You CAN see Redwoods. We did Muir woods (2 hour hike) on our way to Sonoma. We stayed in Forestville (Farmhouse INN) and Armstrong Woods was just a quick 10-15 minute car ride. We woke up early one day and did a FABULOUS 2.5 hour hike. Just enough to take it all in and we still had the whole afternoon to explore more wineries. Healdsburg is also a great town, great restaurants.
Have fun!
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Apr 26th, 2005, 05:49 PM
  #27
 
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You are gettin a wide variety of suggestions here and I just wanted to add a bit about Carmel. While it's true that Carmel can be pricy, some of the best experiences there are free IMO.

I wouldn't miss Point Lobos State Park or the Carmel Mission where Father Juniero Serra is buried. (Many say that of all the California Missions that this is the most beautiful.) The coast line in Carmel is lined with rocks that allow for amazing tidepools during low tide and specatacular crashing waves! Strolling along Lover's Point ( Pacific Grove) and seeing the Victorian Homes, window shopping downtown and of course, viewing the homes along the 17 mile drive is all at no charge! Get a picnic at the deli and enjoy yourself!
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Apr 30th, 2005, 12:48 PM
  #28
 
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Much great advice. Thanks! I will be sure to post a trip report!
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