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Ideas for Sonoma/Napa wine country and surrounding areas

Ideas for Sonoma/Napa wine country and surrounding areas

Mar 4th, 2008, 03:26 PM
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Ideas for Sonoma/Napa wine country and surrounding areas

DH and I are planning a 30th anniversary trip for late JUly/early Aug. The first part of the trip will be in the NP's. For the second part we want to focus on wine country and activities near there. We will have close to a week for this part of the trip.

I've been reading about things in the Russian River valley as well as on the coast. Also like the idea of doing some biking in wine country, not on a wine tasting day. What are some activities you would recommend? We like kayaking, canoeing, biking, hiking and wine tasting.

SuzieTrue is offline  
Mar 4th, 2008, 03:50 PM
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You've picked the perfect area for the activities you're looking for. Will you bring bikes or rent them? You can rent them in Healdsburg, on the square. From there, just head down any of the roads that head out on the roads that run along the vineyards. One of my favorite (long) rides is Westside Rd. to River Road and on to Armstrong Redwoods and back. Dry Creek Road is also good. Or head towards Alexander Valley or Geyserville. Healdsburg makes a great starting place for these rides.

Rent Canoes at Burkes and spend the day on the River. You ride into Guerneville and pick up a bus at the end of the day. Hike in Armstrong Redwoods, one of the best old grove redwood forests in Northern California.

www.wineroad.com has great maps and info about places to stay and eat.
Grassshopper is offline  
Mar 4th, 2008, 06:05 PM
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Mar 4th, 2008, 07:14 PM
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OMG! National Parks???
maribethp is offline  
Mar 5th, 2008, 07:30 PM
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Thanks Grasshopper. We are flying in, so renting bikes will be a necessity. Do most bike rental places have a variety? I'm vertically challenged and usually have trouble getting a bike to fit me.

What about heading out to the coast? Is Jenner or Bodega Bay the better choice?

SuzieTrue is offline  
Mar 6th, 2008, 06:52 AM
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Heading out to the coast is a GREAT idea. You could kayak at Bodega Bay. Or since you are there for as long as a week, just a bit north of Healdsburg in Cloverdale, take 128 and head out to the coast. You'll go through some beautiful twisty oak forests, wine the Anderson Valley wine region and then a rich redwood forest before you hit the coast. Stop in Elk (south when you hit HWY 1) at Queenies for lunch. Then head north to Mendocino. It's some really great coastline.

North on 1 from River Rd, heading out of Guernville you'll be able to see Jenner and Fort Ross. South from River Rd at 1 you'll hit Bodega Bay.

These are not difficult day trips.
Grassshopper is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2012, 06:28 PM
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Funny, my husband and I are traveling to San Fran for our 30th in early June! We too were thinking of spending time in Sonoma Valley. I have looked into some bike tours but have found they are very expensive and was wondering if we should stay in Healdsburg and just tool around by foot and bike for day trips. My husband has also heard that Mendocino is beautiful. With so many choices it can be overwhelming. Any suggestions greatly appreciated.
NEtrippers is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2012, 08:27 PM
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One of the nicest kayaking trips I took was renting in Rio Vista (I think) on Russian River and kayaking downstream about 5 miles. Beautiful and peaceful.
leslieq is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2012, 09:24 PM
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NEtrippers: This thread is four years old. Many folks will see the OP and start answering it and not even see your post . . .

You'll do better to start a new thread w/ your own questions.
janisj is online now  
Mar 24th, 2012, 04:50 AM
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Hey - don't know how these threads get recycled - but the info still seems pretty good. We used to love to ride our bicycles around Napa - and while we brought ours with us from SF - there are bike rental shops in Napa and you can explore on your own - or pay more for a tour.

And love the Russian River area - but would also recommend riding around the town of Sonoma - or St. Helena - or even up at Calistoga - where they also have mud baths.

There are other posts in here also about various wineries that people recommend, but there are plenty to choose from.

Here is some more info on bicycle rentals:

Tomsd is offline  
Mar 24th, 2012, 04:51 AM
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Oops - these two bicycle rental references didn't post:


Tomsd is offline  
Mar 24th, 2012, 08:37 AM
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Tom, where did you ride? I'm a casual rider, and find it difficult to find safe and scenic places to bike in Napa - scenic is no problem, but I won't ride, for example, on the Silverado Trail or Hwy 29.
sf7307 is online now  
Mar 27th, 2012, 09:56 AM
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I'm with sf7307 - I don't even like to drive those two roads in Napa, under the assumption that a good percentage of drivers are under the influence of too much winetasting, so there's no way I'd consider riding a bike, where the slightest little weave of a car could take you out.
hazel1 is offline  
Mar 27th, 2012, 04:53 PM
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Well - I probably should have qualified that by noting that it was a long time ago - in the 70's - and we wuz young and dumber. Pehaps even more important - things may have gotten busier since then, probably quite a bit busier.

We just rode along the main roads and also backroads. One memorable event was a picnic at Beringer's was it - http://www.beringer.com/tours right on their big lawn (may have since been built over?) - under the Orange? tree where the sign said: No picnics and no picking of the fruit.

Well, some fruit had fallen on the ground and nobody was really bothering to pick it up - so naturally (being in a giggly mood) - we added that to our repaste when low and behold: A little security guard came out of the building on the far side of the lawn and shouted at us: Hey - you are not supposed to picnic here. As he slowly made his way across the big lawn - he added: Hey - you aren't supposed to pick the fruit either!

Well, one of our guys just happened to be up in the tree throwing down goodies - so we quickly gathered everything up, hopped on our bikes - and rode away laughing. Dems were da days my friend...........

Also rode the backroads (back then I guess there were more of them) - around the BV/Beaulieu winery - http://www.bvwines.com/home and loved their cellar, which was dug into the side of a hill and kept the wine at the recommended 55 degrees. Oh does that remind me of the lovely gal I took riding around that trip. Later that night - back in the City - we were going to rub noses but it seems the poor lass had been too sunburned on her arms and long legs. Dems Da Breaks.............................
Tomsd is offline  
Mar 27th, 2012, 05:02 PM
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Come to think of it, I was living in Sausalito at the time but she had an lovely apt in the Marina - not too far from the -- wait for it............... the Chelsea Motor Inn.

She was one tall - very shapely good looking blond (and nice) - and after graduating from College somewhere back in the Midwest (Northwestern maybe?) - she started flying for United. Wouldn't you know it - but about a week later - she had the opportunity to be based in Europe - so she took it and alas - nevermore did we explore the Wine country.
Tomsd is offline  
Mar 27th, 2012, 05:04 PM
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To be accurate - The Chelsea was still a Doggie Diner back then. They did have a good Western Burger - (would even cook it to order) - so after closing down some of the spots on Union St - we used to gather there. Perhaps that's why about 30 years later - I did enjoy staying there for 3 nights.
Tomsd is offline  
Mar 27th, 2012, 08:13 PM
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Tomsd: Omigosh! The 1970s! I remember Napa during the 1970s.

I had a relative, now gone on to bigger and better wines Away-Up-There, who loved to take friends and visitors to go wine-tasting in Napa. The tastings were free and the wineries gave out free wine glasses. Napa was a sleepy little town and you could bike then to your heart's content.

Then June 7, 1976 and the "Paris Tasting" happened and put Napa on the map. Napa has changed a great deal since then.

When the ballots were cast, the top-soaring red was Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars’ ’72 from the Napa Valley, followed by Mouton-Rothschild ’70, Haut-Brion ’70 and Montrose ’70. The four winning whites were, in order, Chateau Montelena ’73 from Napa, French Meursault-Charmes ’73 and two other Californians, Chalone ’74 from Monterey County and Napa’s Spring Mountain ’73. The U.S. winners are little known to wine lovers, since they are in short supply even in California and rather expensive ($6 plus). Jim Barrett, Montelena’s general manager and part owner, said: “Not bad for kids from the sticks.”


Did you get that? "rather expensive" at $6 plus a bottle. LOL!

You will not recognize Napa today. In some wineries, in order to taste their wines, you have to make an appointment. In some other even more exclusive wineries, you can't get in unless you know someone or else you're in their wine club and committed to buying thousands of dollars worth every year of their $200+/bottle of wine. The run-of-the-mill, average winery in Napa will charge you about $20 to taste - maybe - three thimblefuls of their wines. Apparently there are lots of people with money to burn, or rather drown in wine. The "wine roads" in Napa are clogged - with cars.

Fruit orchards? No, that idyllic, pastoral scenery disappeared years ago.

Come back and visit us, Tomsd! It's a different world now!
easytraveler is offline  
Mar 28th, 2012, 05:03 AM
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LOL Easyt: Have been back a couple times - once for a law school roomie's wedding at a stunning French Chateaux type estate/winery up in North Napa - Ledesma or something like that?

Too bad it's become so crowded, expensive, complicated. I do remember in the 70's - and for those people (successful trial attorneys) who had just won a big case - sometimes the reward was buying a small winery. One of the attorneys I knew bought part interest in Heitz ( http://www.heitzcellar.com/ ) was it? - which was a beautiful little "botique" winery - waaaaaay back then.
Tomsd is offline  
Mar 28th, 2012, 04:45 PM
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Years ago we rented a canoe for a day and went down the Russian river starting in Asti. We were spotted by the rental company who told us where to stop to be picked up.
Michael is offline  
Mar 29th, 2012, 03:24 PM
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And easyt: I do well remember when at the blind tasting in Paris? - the Napa Valley wines shocked the (staid) old world of wine. It was HUGE news.
Tomsd is offline  

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