Napa vs Sonoma questions

Apr 4th, 2005, 06:53 AM
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Napa vs Sonoma questions

DH and I only have 3 days to spend in the Napa/Sonoma area. We are torn as to what to do and seek advice from those that have been there. We figure these 3 days will give us a taste of the area, and we can always return at a later date. Right now we are thinking of 2 days in Calistoga and 1 day in Santa Rosa, to get a feel for both Napa and Sonoma. In Calistoga we are thinking of either the Elms B & B or the Mount View Hotel. We want to partake of wine tastings (we collect so there are several we want to visit and they seem to be mostly in Napa) and want to partake of spa treatments one afternoon. In Santa Rosa we are figuring the Hyatt (points etc). OR, for a first time visit, would we be better off spending all 3 days in Napa - say 2 in Calistoga and one (the last which would be a Friday nite) in say Yountville, and save Sonoma for another time. Advice or suggestions? Thanks all.
LoriNY is offline  
Apr 4th, 2005, 06:55 AM
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Another thing, how difficult is the drive from the Sonoma area to the Napa area. Dark, windy mountain roads or direct straight well lite roads? Would you want to drive them at night after dinner and wine?
LoriNY is offline  
Apr 4th, 2005, 08:14 AM
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Well Sonoma to Napa is less than 15 minutes. It's a pretty good road. Not overly winding.

Calistoga to Napa is about 27 miles.
Calistoga to Sonoma is about 40 miles.

Santa Rosa to Napa is over 40 miles.
Santa Rosa to Sonoma is 22 miles.

If you want to visit Napa and Sonoma why don't you stay in Napa and Sonoma. Closer to each is Yountville or St Helena near Napa and Glen Ellen near Sonoma.
Suzie is offline  
Apr 4th, 2005, 02:26 PM
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In Calistoga,I like the Mount View better than the Elms B&B (interesting choice?) The Spa at the Mount View is
quite nice, although you will not be able to do a traditional mud bath if
that matters.

For one night, I would not
bother moving from Calistoga to Yountville for one night. Yountville can be easily enjoyed from Calistoga-
(we do this about 4X a year on our
little mini-escapes to Calistoga).

My choice to enjoy the "flavor" of Sonoma County would be Healdsburg
or Glen Ellen. The Hyatt in Santa Rosa, though nice enough,
will be an urban shock after Calistoga and the Mount View!

The 2 primary roads that link the 2 counties are:
1. From the town of Napa to the town of Sonoma, Hwy 12/121. It is not well lit,
it is a 2-lane fairly curvy road and I would never drive it at night
after wine.

2. From the town of Calistoga over to Santa Rosa, (Petrified Forest Rd/Porter Creek/Mark West) is a more curvy,dark
hilly road-here again I would never drive it at night after wine.

Depending on time of year, both of the routes can be quite foggy in spots at night.
(I have been driving these routes
almost weekly for nearly 20 years.)

When we stay in Calistoga and venture
down to St.Helena for dinner,say at Martini House, Market,Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen or Terra-we always take Taxi Cabernet.
They are a wonderful cab company and
quite accomodating.

What time of year are you visiting here?
razzledazzle is offline  
Apr 4th, 2005, 03:02 PM
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Here's another suggestion for Healdsburg, the Russian River Valley region is quite different than Napa and less crowded (and though I am biased since I will soon live there, I think its even prettier...
kemarshall64 is offline  
Apr 4th, 2005, 04:37 PM
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Thanks R5 for your info. We are actually visiting in 2 weeks. DH is there on business, and I'm tagging along. I appreciate your comments on the Hyatt, but we are already booked there on Friday with a free night (thank you Hyatt!!). So now we are looking at places in Calistoga. We are leaning towards the Mount View, but I thought from the picture the Elms looked nice, but DH is not much of a B & B kind of guy.
Any thoughts on spas in Calistoga?
LoriNY is offline  
Apr 4th, 2005, 05:15 PM
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2 weeks!! I will think good thoughts for nice weather here!

Calistoga is my favorite place to spa.
That said,be aware that most of the
spas in Calistoga are not of the "gold leaf and marble" variety. The Mount
View may have the closest thing to it if that is a requirement.

Indian Springs Resort has one of my favorite pools-
but unless you stay in one of their
bungalows, you can only use it for the day. It's a really cool pool to paddle around in at night,BTW. Spa is good,
but they do not offer couples (different
gender)treatments together. Don't know if this is a consideration. Have you considered staying here?

Lavender Hill does nice couples treatments. Steer clear of The Oasis.

Have you investigated
the Silver Rose Inn ? I heard some great buzz about the spa there,but you have to be a guest at the Inn to use their spa-I think I would consider
this place.

I prefer to sleep and spa at the same place because I can go to the pool and room and spa without much fuss.
Totally relaxing!

The Elms was owned by a dear friend of mine in the early '90's. He was a stunning interior designer and had
chosen the most beautiful antiques
and treasures. When he sold it, the new owner replaced many of these treasures
with c**p. It was dissapointing. I do not know who owns it now.
razzledazzle is offline  
Apr 4th, 2005, 06:10 PM
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Agree with R5 - after having been to both Sonoma and Napa recently and back and forth to both (in the daylight) would never attempt at night nor (especially) after wine.

Take R5's suggestion and take a cab, or just enjoy one valley. Yountville, since it is midpoint, will let you see more of the Napa Valley without backtracking, but of course, you can always go back....

R5 -
how 'bout we meet for an exchange of the wine for the Chai Tea?
wanderer is offline  
Apr 5th, 2005, 05:07 AM
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Thanks R5. i like the looks of the Silver Rose and they are running some midweek specials til the end of April. Has possibilities instead of the Mount View.
LoriNY is offline  
Apr 5th, 2005, 03:43 PM
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Not to worry about staying in Santa Rosa (it's not my favorite town, either), but the city of Healdsburg, the Russian River Valley (West Side Road) and Dry Creek wineries (all the way to the beautiful wine country drive of Hwy 128) are, at most, only 20 minutes away. Those are the places to go to get a real Sonoma feel.

BTW, the Farmhouse Inn restaurant, Willi's Wine Bar, Santi in Geyserville and a few others in Healdsburg are really good wine-country restaurants.
billy_boy is offline  
Apr 5th, 2005, 06:04 PM
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Second Willi's - great small plates!
wanderer is offline  
Apr 6th, 2005, 05:06 AM
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You guys have been great! We have decided on 2 nights in Calistoga at the Mount View and 1 night in Santa Rosa at the Hyatt. We're going to do a spa thing in Calistoga, and now we're investigating wineries. We had wanted to go to Far Niente, but can't see paying $40 each to taste. Maybe just visit the grounds. Since we are midweek, do you think we need ressies for dinner at Martini House or Tra Vigne. I'm wait listed at French Laundry, probably not going to happen.
LoriNY is offline  
Apr 6th, 2005, 08:10 AM
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Lori NY, a stay at the Indian Springs Resort would be heavenly! We enjoyed the little bungalows very much and the Olympic size mineral pool is great!

As previously mentioned, the Farmhouse Inn is excellent. Great food, service, ambiance. We also enjoyed the Dry Creek Kitchen very much located at the Hotel Healdsburg and had a nice lunch at Chateau Souverain at the Alexander Valley Grille. You're sure to have a great time! ***kim***
kimamom is offline  
Apr 6th, 2005, 01:42 PM
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It will not hurt to make reservations at Martini House (a favorite of mine and mrs_boy).

Unfortunately, a majority of Napa Valley wineries charge tasting fees; whereas Sonoma wineries are not as deluged with tourists and still happily pour free tastings. If paying for tastings, Far Niente doesn't excite me as much as those in the Silverado/Stag's Leap area in Napa where the cabs are some of the best in the valley. Some of them require appointments, though.
billy_boy is offline  

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