Mendocino or Napa Valley?

Sep 5th, 2009, 09:09 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 20
Mendocino or Napa Valley?

We're flying into San Francisco mid September for 5 nights, and are deciding in which area to stay. We have never been to the area. We are considering Mendocino and Napa Valley. Mendocino looks really beautiful and peaceful, but it is a 3.5 hour drive from the airport. Napa Valley, which is only around an hour from the airport, also looks nice and a heck of a lot more convenient. Would love to hear some opinions on which area to stay and why.
malbino is offline  
Sep 5th, 2009, 09:45 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,227
Frankly, neither one. To get to Men. its a drive that makes me car sick......and everyone goes to Napa if they are tourits. Why not check out Healdsburg? Its in Sonoma County...straight up hwy #101 from the Golden Gate bridge. From Hbg. you can day trip to Napa or Men. if you want. There are plenty of threads about Healdsburg on this site. I'd also check out www.vrbo.com/healdsburg for places to stay that won't break the bank. VRBO is Vacation Rentals by Owner, and actually works in almost any town you want to stay in all around the world.
kleroux is offline  
Sep 5th, 2009, 10:19 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 64,329
I agree w/ the "no to Napa" sentiments -- but honestly, to advise against Mendocino???

If it was me, I's stay 3 nights near Mendocino and 2 nights in the upper Sonoma Valley.

(BTW - SFO to the Napa Valley in an hour? Maybe at midnight. Otherwise it can take you 30+ mins just to get to the Bay Bridge.)
janisj is offline  
Sep 5th, 2009, 10:34 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,846
Both areas might not hold your interests for 5 full days - unless you are a serious beachcomber or want to visit 10 to 15 wineries. Like many locals, I prefer the Healdsburg area over the Napa Valley too. If you really have 5 full days, I would try to do do both. I would not, however, visit Mendicino as a day trip from Healdsburg - too much driving.

Healdsburg is closer to the coast than the Napa Valley. So perhaps leave the airport, stay 2 nights in Healdsburg & explore the Dry Creek Valley & other sites around Healdsburg. Then head over to the coast, and up to Mendicino for 2 nights. Return to the Bay area via 101. Do not go north on 101 & south on Hw #1. South on #1 will put the sun in your face all the way.

You did not indicate whether you then have to fly out of SFO - and what time of day you need to do this. If you fly out of SFO on the 6th day before around 1pm, then I would stay the last night in San Francisco. If you leave after 1PM then perhaps stay the last night in Sausalito. If you depart on a weekend, then perhaps subtract 1 hr from these times. If you are not leaving on the 6th day, then perhaps spend the last night in the Napa Valley in St Helena.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Sep 5th, 2009, 10:40 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,846
Almost forget to mention something. Mid Sept is one of the most popular times to visit the Wine Country. If you are arriving on a Saturday, good luck finding a place to stay for Sat night - unless your planning for 2010. On week days it might be possible.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Sep 5th, 2009, 02:30 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 64,329
Yes - definitely note Stu's warning about finding accommodations at this late date anywhere in Napa/Sonoma (Healdsburg would be my choice too)

Especially on any weekends between now and the end of October, this is about the busiest time in the area.

So your decision may already be made for you.
janisj is offline  
Sep 5th, 2009, 04:59 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,846
>>unless your planning <<

unless you're planning. My HS English teacher would kill me.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Sep 7th, 2009, 12:58 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 4,640
I would check out Yountville in Napa Valley. We love the Villagio Inn & Spa there. Some of the best restaurants in the wine country are in Yountville. Bottega, Bistro Jeanty, REDD, Ad Hoc, etc. and of course the French Laundry! ***kim***
kimamom is offline  
Sep 7th, 2009, 01:46 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 64,329
kima: OK - just how will the OP get anywhere near the French Laundry this month??

A dream is one thing - practical may be entirely different . . . .
janisj is offline  
Sep 7th, 2009, 04:18 PM
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 20
Thanks for all the advice. I think we're going to cut our trip to four days. And, yes, we're having some difficulty finding lodging. Has anyone had experience with Solage Calistoga? How's the town? Unfortunately, we're not going to get first choice on city/accommodations.
malbino is offline  
Sep 7th, 2009, 05:46 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 10,966
The drive up Highway 1 to Mendocino is magnificently scenic, and the town and the walk on the headlands are delightful.

I love the Napa Valley when I'm not fighting the crowds at a winery.
happytrailstoyou is offline  
Sep 7th, 2009, 06:15 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 4,766
The Blackberry Inn, a half mile from central Mendocino, has room in mid September. We have stayed there and it is a nice place. Mendocino and the surrounding area is very worth a day or two, with shops, dining, hikes, scenery, and art.

http://www.mendocinomotel.com/

From Healdsburg take 101 to 128, a rural road which goes toward the coast a bit south of Mendocino and has wineries without the Napa hype and scenery and places to pick up local produce/fruits. I particularly liked Navarro Vineyards, and there are others, too. Also a redwood park.

A few miles north of Mendocino is Fort Bragg, where there are more shops and restaurants and a brewery and places along the river that cook fresh caught fish for you to eat at a picnic table.
AJPeabody is offline  
Sep 7th, 2009, 09:14 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,846
>>>Has anyone had experience with Solage Calistoga? How's the town? Unfortunately, we're not going to get first choice on city/accommodations.<<

That's fine - book it !!!

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Sep 8th, 2009, 06:34 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,149
I have not stayed @ Solage but drive by it frequently. It looks lovely. It is on the Silverado Trail just outside of Calistoga the town. The town of Calistoga is a great little place to stay and within easy driving distance of all things good in the NV.

I am with Stu~book it.
PamSF is offline  
Sep 8th, 2009, 06:25 PM
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 20
Thanks for all the advice. Looking forward to relaxing for a couple of days. Are there any "must sees" in the area? How about good, local eateries?
malbino is offline  
Sep 9th, 2009, 01:33 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 3,854
Yes, good-great places to eat in Calistoga. At Solage-
Solbar, the bistro there. On Lincoln Ave (mainstreet
in Calistoga) definetly try JoLe ! www,jolerestaurant.com Breakfast with the locals at Cafe Sarafornia.
Bar Vino for wine and light meal. Lunch in the garden
at the Calistoga Inn because the weather should be fantastic !
Gosh, I do love Calistoga, LOL !

R5
razzledazzle is offline  
Sep 10th, 2009, 07:35 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 1
I am from Michigan, but just lived in Mendocino for a year (if you want to contact me regarding that area...it's BEAUTIFUL)...***Also, just a thought...THE ANDERSON VALLEY - which connects the 101 (inland) to the PCH "1" (Coast)- is FULL OF GREAT VINEYARDS and WINERIES. My mom visited me while I was living there and said she preferred ANDERSON VALLEY over NAPA VALLEY (more laid-back, less crowded)...that said- I do agree with someone's comment about Yountville...cute town. If you like the ocean- don't get stuck inland!!!- the Norcal coast is BREATHTAKING. Check out THE STANFORD INN for accomodations, yoga, amazing food. Enjoy- Simran
Simran is offline  
Sep 10th, 2009, 08:13 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,149
We also like Jole in Calistoga. Book yourself a wine tasting @ Failla on the Silverado Trail.

There are many great places to eat in the area. Depending on your tastes and wallets:

Ad Hoc(Yountville)
Celadon(Napa)
The Rutherford Grill(locals like it)-HWY 29
Outside dining at Don Giovanni is also good(on Hwy 29 in Napa)
PamSF is offline  
Sep 10th, 2009, 08:14 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,149
Check out chowhound .com for more ideas about food
PamSF is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:58 AM.