Napa Valley trip

Jul 22nd, 2010, 12:25 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2008
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Napa Valley trip

My husband and I are going to Napa in August for our second visit. Should we take a day to go to Sonoma? And if we spend one night in San Francisco, where should we have dinner and where should we stay? Thanks for the help.
jochiz2 is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2010, 01:11 PM
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Your questions are wide-open, so you will get a variety of responses. How many days are you staying in Napa Valley? Sonoma itself is a sweet little town with a town square, definitely worth a stop-by. It is only about 15 min. from the city of Napa. You can visit the mission and a variety of related historical buildings on the Sonoma square, along with a few nice shops and restaurants. It's also a pleasant place to have a picnic. If you are thinking of Sonoma Valley Wine Country, that is a very spread-out area. There are some wineries close to the towns of Sonoma and Kenwood, but many people enjoy visiting the area west of Healdsburg off Dry Creek Road.
Since you are already planning to be in Napa, you might just want to swing by the town of Sonoma on your way to San Francisco. I say visit San Francisco, especially if you haven't been there before! Many people enjoy staying on the Embarcadero or near Union Square. We've enjoyed Nob Hill also, but it's not for everyone because of the steep hill.
There are so many great places to eat in SF, so you might want to select your hotel based on where you want to eat or vice versa, so you can walk there.
By the way, in the town of Napa, the Iron Chef Morimoto has just opened a new restaurant (called Morimoto). We were there the other day, and it is a pretty exciting place.
elnap29 is offline  
Aug 11th, 2010, 05:46 AM
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Thanks elnap> That is helpful. We will stay 5 nights in Napa. We have booked a balloon ride, several winery tours/tastings, dinners,etc. But I have left one whole day open to drive over to Sonoma and the Valley Wine Country.
We have been to SF 3 times and have done the major tourist things. So if we go this time, we will probably drive in from Napa on Friday afternoon, spend the night and catch our flight on Sat at 2pm. So... that doesn't leave much SF time. Maybe just a nice afternoon walking tour and dinner. Any thoughts? What about the Teatro Zinzanni? Someone told me that is lots of fun.
I appreciate your reply!
jochiz2 is offline  
Aug 12th, 2010, 03:58 PM
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I saw Teatro Zinzanni years ago and it was lots of fun with surprisingly good food. Not sure how it has changed. The Ferry Building is also fun to explore (shops, food, etc.) and not far from the show. Had dinner last weekend at Frances in the Castro - small and very difficult to get into but well worth it. Have you explored Golden Gate Park at all? It's a lovely walk and you could explore the De Young museum if that interests you or the Academy of Sciences. For another show option, if you have not seen Beach Blanket Babylon it is lots of fun and near North Beach, where good Italian abounds.

I would recommend exploring Sonoma - the square is full of good shops, restaurants, and wine tasting. The Girl and the Fig is wonderful for lunch or dinner.
vivandvin is offline  
Aug 12th, 2010, 06:19 PM
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Absolutely, if you mean Sonoma Valley. Among my happy memories are lunch on the town square in Healdsburg and a drive afterward and a country road lined with wineries. HTTY
happytrailstoyou is offline  
Aug 13th, 2010, 07:49 AM
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I agree my fav town in either Napa or Sonoma valley is Healdsburg honestly I was a little disappointed with the town of Napa. Maybe just the proximetly to San Fran makes Napa Valley more popular but I think Sonoma Valley is nicer.
flfamof4 is offline  
Aug 13th, 2010, 04:12 PM
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"I was a little disappointed with the town of Napa."

Although Napa has come a long way in the past ten years or so to lure some of the tourist traffic, there really is no reason to visit it for the casual tourist. The exception would be if the visitor was staying in one of the charming B&Bs or at one of the major hotel chains. If so, there are a number of fine restaurants (and at least two very outstanding ones) to satisfy those staying overnight. But, since Copia has closed, there is nothing really to draw in folks who are on their way Up Valley.

Vineyards surround the city of Napa but there are not any major wineries located there. There are tasting rooms and wine shops but these can be found in Yountville, St. Helena, and Calistoga as well.

Don't get me wrong. Napa is a wonderful city to live in with a very low crime rate and a fantastic climate. However, there's not that much to do here. If you want to compare it with other Wine Country towns, it would compare most favorably with Santa Rosa in Sonoma County.

Many first time visitors make the mistake of entering the city of Napa looking for wine country amenities and are disappointed and waste valuable time from their day in the Wine Country. The best advice is to stay on Highway 29, drive thru Napa and then stop either in Yountville (at Domaine Chandon) or in Oakville where one will begin seeing wineries every few hundred yards.
Otis_B_Driftwood is offline  
Aug 13th, 2010, 04:17 PM
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Definitely take time to enjoy Sonoma. You will then realize what you missed and make a second trip to the area...
Austin is offline  
Aug 14th, 2010, 12:40 PM
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OK, Otis - I agree Napa town itself would not be a destination on its own. But it is part of the Napa Valley, the gateway so to speak. The entire Valley is very small, so to me, you are belaboring your point. Napa offers more affordable accomodations and some excellent restaurants - then, easy access to the wineries just up the road on Hwy 29. For those with a more expansive budget, sure - pick a place to stay Upvalley. And there are outstanding restaurants all along the Valley floor.
elnap29 is offline  
Aug 14th, 2010, 03:00 PM
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Ok Otis-comparing the town of Napa to Santa Rosa is
ridiculous, >snort<, I just don't see your similarities.
Santa Rosa has loads of things to do, eat and drink.
So does Napa, yet on a much smaller scale-Downtown Napa has
some terrific restarants-Pearl, LaToque,Angele,AVIA Kitchen-
at the new AVIA hotel, and ZuZu to name a few.
Ceja Winery has it's tasting room in downtown Napa, and there
are about 20 tasting rooms there as well.

"Maybe just the proximetly to San Fran makes Napa Valley more popular but I think Sonoma Valley is nicer."
The proximity of Sonoma and Napa County to SF is
nearly the same. In good traffic it will take you
an hour and fifteens mins up 101 into Sonoma County.
The same time up Hwy 80, then 37 into Napa.
It is heavy dutly marketing that makes you aware of Napa, IMHO.

I agree with Austin, once you spend some time here in Sonoma County, you may not return to Napa.

razzledazzle is offline  
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