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northern california trip

Old Dec 10th, 2007, 05:53 AM
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northern california trip

I am planning a trip to northern California in the spring. I have looked up old threads and am still unsure of how to plan this itinerary.

I can go anytime really, but was planning for early May for up to 6 nts.

Rough idea of what I am thinking so far:
-2 days/nts San Fransisco
-1 or 2 days/ 1nt sonoma (or napa)
-2 nts in carmel with a day trip to Big Sur?

does this make sense? are the driving times realistic?
Do I fly in and out of S.F.?

Still unsure of hotels....
Would love to splurge one nt at Post Ranch Inn, but suggestions for a 2 nt stay elsewhere is welcome!

Many people seem to suggest staying in Sonoma over Napa, but most of the nicer resorts seem to be in Napa like Auberge..any suggestions for Sonoma?

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Old Dec 10th, 2007, 03:03 PM
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You need to understand the terminology of this area. There is the county of Napa, and also the town of Napa. There is the county of Sonoma, and the town of Sonoma. Healdsburg is in Sonoma County. There are very posh hotels here if that's what you want. The Mars Hotel, the Healdsburg Hotel, and even Madrona Manor. Healdsburg is about 1.5 hrs North of the Golden Gate Bridge on Hwy #101. If you go South to Carmel its about 2 hrs South of San Francisco. You can drive from the wine country to Carmel, or visa versa in about 3.5/4 hrs (except on Friday afternoon when it takes much longer) Hope this helps.
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Old Dec 10th, 2007, 03:51 PM
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Thanks for your response!

Sorry for the confusion-I was being very general in saying sonoma or napa, but I do understand what you mean.

The driving times are very helpful.

Any other suggestions?

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Old Dec 10th, 2007, 06:05 PM
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You could do both the Napa - Sonoma wine country and Carmel - Big Sur as well as SF in 6 days, but I wouldn't. You would be short changing each area.

You don't say if you've been to the area before. If not, two days in SF is not nearly enough time. Also, if you are serious about places like Auberge and Post Ranch Inn, one night is just a teaser. You can't check in until afternoon and then you have to leave mid-morning. That's not enough time to enjoy these wonderful resorts. Spend at least two nights - three would be better.

I would do either Napa - Sonoma or Carmel - Big Sur - not both. Take some time out to smell the roses.
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Old Dec 11th, 2007, 10:36 AM
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I have been to San Fransisco but many years ago. I live in NYC so don't want to spend too much time in the city.

I can do 2 days and nights in each area. I do want to stop and smell the roses but hate to leave anything out!

I am looking into several hotels I am not as familar with and found good reviews on trip advisor for the following:

Bernadus Lodge and Tickle Pink Inn in carmel area and Honor Mansion in Healdsburg. Any comments on these?
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Old Dec 11th, 2007, 10:55 AM
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I did a similar trip last summer and it worked out very well. I spent 2 nites in SF, 3 nites in Sonoma Valley at the Kenwood Inn and Spa (highly recommended) and then drove down to Carmel for 2 nites at the Tickle Pink Inn (also highly recommended). The only negative was that it was blazing hot (95 degrees) in the wine country when we were there but that won't be a problem in the spring.

I will be coming back to CA this summer because I have a wedding in Carmel and am planning another drive up to Sonoma or Napa for 3 days before flying home to NYC. I loved the Kenwood Inn but think I want to try something different and can't decide. Auberge way off budget but a friend raved about Hotel Healdsburg which I'm considering. Just not sure I want to be so far from Napa. Kenwood was in a fabulous location, allowing easy travel to Healdsburg, Sonoma and Napa.

Open to all suggestions.
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Old Dec 11th, 2007, 11:05 AM
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I will look into Kenwood Inn- thanks for the suggestion Jeangail.

re: Hotel Healdsburg- I was reading about the hotel. It sounded good, but there was a comment about the bathrooms being very dim. It sounds picky but it is hard putting on makeup in the dark! Don't know if this is really true or if this would bother you though.
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Old Dec 11th, 2007, 11:16 AM
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I don't remember the bathroom lighting being a problem at Kenwood and it certainly was not bad enough to stop me from staying there again. If you go through their website you will see lots of photos.
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Old Dec 11th, 2007, 12:12 PM
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re: San Francisco
I can get a great rate at the Hotel Rex in Union Square- has anyone stayed there before?

I would prefer to stay somewhere nice but reasonable in the city and stay in nicer places elsewhere so hopefully someone likes it!
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Old Dec 11th, 2007, 05:52 PM
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Check out www.sonomacountyvacations.com and see what types of accommodations they might have in the Healdsburg area. These tend to be vacation rental homes and apts. Might be a fun change..
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