Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > United States
Reload this Page >

Must See Locations in Monterey, Napa, San Francisco

Must See Locations in Monterey, Napa, San Francisco

Old Apr 4th, 2004, 01:49 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 29
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Must See Locations in Monterey, Napa, San Francisco

I need some help with my June itinerary. Here's the skeleton- I don't have much time in each location, so I need the must see's:

Saturday- arrive San Fran airport 5:35 pm and drive to Monterey (Doubletree)
Sunday- Tour Monterey or Big Sur area
Monday- Tour area and head up to Napa (River Terrace Inn)
Tuesday- Napa area
Wednesday- Napa area and head to San Francisco (Hotel Triton)
Thursday- SF
Friday- SF
Saturday-SF , depart 8:10 pm

Also please advise on the best routes to each location. And what activities should I make reservations for ahead of time. Any restaurants that I shouldn't miss? Thanks!
mmbb is offline  
Old Apr 4th, 2004, 03:30 PM
  #2  
kdm
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 150
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Go to Carmel and have lunch at Casanova's (this was recommended to me on this site and I enjoyed it very much). www.casanovarestaurant.com/ Since I am not a heavy eater I could have easily split my meal and dessert. And the 17 mile drive at Pebble Beach (www.pebblebeach.com/17miledrive.html)

Since I live in the Bay Area and never want to take it for granted, I sometimes enjoy playing tourist and take the SF city walks (www.sfcityguides.org). My favorites are North Beach and Pacific Heights Mansion (you can make donation at the end of the walk if you wish).

Check www.sfgate.com for any events that may interest you.

...and have a good trip.
kdm is offline  
Old Apr 5th, 2004, 12:03 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 824
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Forget doing both Monterey and Napa. Just do one and enjoy your time there and avoid the stressful driving you will be doing.
Otis_B_Driftwood is offline  
Old Apr 5th, 2004, 07:55 AM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 29
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I know, I was worrying about it being too hectic, but I don't know which to give up. We really wanted to see the wineries, etc. but also monterey area seems so beautiful with nice hikes which we also really enjoy. How long is the drive from monterey to napa? Are there any good places to visit on the way?
mmbb is offline  
Old Apr 5th, 2004, 08:09 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 17,106
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Why not visit a winery in the Monterey area? There are plenty of wineries in California. It's just that Napa-Sonoma ones are the most famous.

On the other hand, you could do Napa-Sonoma in one day from San Francisco. Start out about 9am (the wineries open about 10am), take about an hour to get to Viansa Vineyards in Sonoma, start your tour of different wineries (don't sample too much LOL!), the wineries close about 4-5 pm, do dinner in the wine region, return to SF at night.

Monterey/Carmel would require at least a one night stayover.

Have a fine trip!
easytraveler is offline  
Old Apr 5th, 2004, 08:45 AM
  #6  
E
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,356
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Easytraveler, he is staying overnight in Monterey.

mmbb, I think you're the best judge of how far you think is too far to drive--use mapquest, check the mileage, then decide. If you have AAA, get them to make you up some maps, because they'll indicate construction and other things likely to slow you down.

My feeling about Napa is it depends how into wine you are; if not that much, I, too, would suggest visiting wineries near Monterey instead and saving Napa/Sonoma for another trip. (You could throw in Yosemite then, too.)

My must-sees in the Monterey Bay area do not include 17 Mile Drive; Point Lobos is on my list, offering much better scenery and some easy hiking. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is swell. I would also make time to walk around Asilomar Beach (for tidepooling)and/or Lover's Point (keep your eyes peeled for otters). If you like galleries and a bit of shopping, a few hours in Carmel would also be nice, especially if you end with a sunset stroll along the beach; the beachfront in Carmel is flat and calm, with lots of sand, very unusual in that area. Carmel Mission is lovely, particularly if you're at all interested in that history. I doubt you'll have time to drive to Big Sur and do it any justice at all, but don't fret, you'll see lots o' beauty anyway.

In SF, I don't have anything very unusual to recommend. Whne I have shown folks around, we have taken them to Chinatown, which is always fun, to Alcatraz (with a stroll around Fisherman's Wharf while we're there), on the cable cars, to a baseball game (at the old Candlestick--I haven't been to China Basin yet), to Ghirardelli, etc. I think it's hard to have a bad time in SF!
Whatever you decide, have a ball!
E is offline  
Old Apr 5th, 2004, 10:56 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 264
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
My husband and I did all three cities in a week on our honeymoon, and really enjoyed it. The drive didn't bother us because it was just so beautiful the whole way. We were in SF at the Ritz for 3 days, then we drove to Napa for one night at Meadowood (beautiful, by the way) and toured all the wineries. You really only need one full day there. We ate at Tra Vigne which was glorious. Then we drove to Monterrey, where we stayed at the Spindrift Inn (not my favorite), but we spent 2 days there and explored Carmel. We ate at Anton & Michel. Probably the best filet mignon EVER. We did the 17 mile drive which was relaxing and wonderful, and watched the sun set at Carmel. Have a great time, whatever you choose to do!
olivia is offline  
Old Apr 5th, 2004, 01:30 PM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 29
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks for all the great advice.

I think on Sunday we will drive along the coast to Point Lobos and Pfeiffer Park. Will we have time to travel further south than that if we stop to enjoy both areas? Am I correct in assuming that there's no time to travel to and enjoy Hearst Castle?

Monday, we could do 17 mile drive or aquarium before driving to Napa. Any sites to visit on the way to Napa?

Tuesday - tour wineries, whats the best to visit?

Wedneday- lunch wine train? is it worth it? or maybe do this tuesday and go to muir woods on wednesday before traveling to san fran. is that on the way?

Thanks for any more advice you can offer!
mmbb is offline  
Old Apr 6th, 2004, 05:34 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 5
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi MMBB!!
My boyfriend and I went on a wine tour in Napa last August and we had a fabulous time! I think our favorite was Robert Mondavi. The estate is beautiful and the wine is still one of our favorites... everyone there was so friendly!! We also visited Sequoia Grove which was really nice.. smaller which was nice because even though we missed the tour we were able to have a personalized tour through the winery. We even bought tiny Sequia trees for gifts - we had a lot of hope for them at the time, but in Upstate NY it didn't go so well...
Any of the wineries along the way will be wonderful... I promise!! =)
Travelbaby is offline  
Old Apr 6th, 2004, 06:53 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 23,184
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The wine train can be pretty dull, as all it does is go up the valley and then back down again--no getting off to visit wineries. If you can possibly drive you'll have a much better time.

Some wineries not to miss: Sterling Vineyards, St.-Supéry, Domaine Chandon, Domaine Carneros, and Robert Mondavi.

There any number of excellent restaurants, but it's also fun to take a picnic lunch. If you plan to do serious wine tasting, take along a hunk of French bread in any event.

In St. Helena you will find very nice small shops and a branch of Dean and Delucca.
Underhill is online now  
Old Apr 7th, 2004, 08:49 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 264
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
My favorite winery was Grgich Hills. Owned by Miljenko Grgich (from Croatia) and a part owner of the Hills Bros. coffee company.

We went in the low season and the vintners spent a lot of time with us. Miljenko (who goes by Mike) was so enthusiastic and dispense his advice on marriage and love (we were on our honeymoon), and he was the sweetest old guy. He signed the bottles we purchased, and gave us hugs on the way out. It was definitely different than any of the others. We also went to Rutherford Grove, another small winery, and they took us back to taste from the barrels. It was great. Have a wonderful time!
olivia is offline  
Old Apr 7th, 2004, 03:21 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 486
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
MMBB,

There have been a number of threads about vatious trips to Napa wineries. I'd suggest reading through them as there is some very thoughtful discussion for you.
BayArea is offline  
Old Apr 8th, 2004, 05:56 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 223
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi mmbb,

As far as doing both Point Lobos and Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, I really think you need a day for each. They're both beautiful, so you could just pick one if you don't have time for both.

The drive to Big Sur takes about 45 minutes from Monterey, but it's a beautiful drive if there's no fog. Point Lobos is much closer to Carmel, just a few miles south, and that park also has beautiful views/hikes.

If you do go into Big Sur, be sure to stop at Nepenthe for lunch!
bucky is offline  
Old Apr 8th, 2004, 08:39 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 193
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Don't miss the new WalMart in Napa.

Just saw the Mayor of Napa pimping them on one of their PR commercials last night.

Nice one, Napa.
malvado is offline  
Old Apr 8th, 2004, 09:56 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 824
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Not sure of the point of the last post but if you are staying at the River Terrace Inn, you will be just a couple of blocks from the new WalMart.
Otis_B_Driftwood is offline  
Old Apr 8th, 2004, 07:21 PM
  #16  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 29
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks. We have a few too many Walmarts as is around here, though!
mmbb is offline  
Old Apr 8th, 2004, 07:29 PM
  #17  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 29
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Bucky-
Which has better hiking and scenery- Pt Lobos of J Pfeiffer? Which one would you choose? Thanks.
mmbb is offline  
Old Apr 8th, 2004, 10:53 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 17,106
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If I had to choose one over the other, it'll be a hard choice, but Pt Lobos for scenery.

However, Julia Pfeiffer Burns has a waterfall.

They are a bit of a different experience.

I believe that when bucky says that you need a full day for each, she means an in-depth exploration of each state park.

However, you could go through each on shorter hikes, like an hour or two for each park.

For example, to see McWay Falls in JPB you need only about an hour over a very easy trail.

I'd recommend doing Point Lobos in the morning, having lunch at Nepenthe/elsewhere, and then hiking a bit of JPB State Park in the afternoon.

On the other hand, if - after arriving at Pt Lobos - you find yourself so enchanted with that park, then by all means stay the whole day!
easytraveler is offline  
Old Apr 9th, 2004, 05:33 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 223
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Yes, I'd have to agree with easytraveler. You could do both in one day, it depends on the pace you like to travel. I've realized we tend to be slow-pokes and I don't like to feel rushed trying to see everything on an itinerary. Also, when you're traveling with children, even teens, everything takes much longer and they don't like to put off eating.

No matter what you decide, they are both so beautiful you can't go wrong. And since Pt. Lobos is so close to Carmel, that one is very easy to check out. We went there and to Carmel Mission in the same day.
bucky is offline  
Old Apr 9th, 2004, 03:24 PM
  #20  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 29
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thank you, that's very helpful. And is the 17 mile drive not to miss? I may only have time for that or the aquarium before heading to Napa.
mmbb is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:27 AM.