Questions about day trip into Sonoma from SF

Old Sep 23rd, 2009, 09:10 AM
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Questions about day trip into Sonoma from SF

My husband will be visiting San Francisco for the first time this weekend. We are staying in San Francisco but plan to rent a car next Tuesday and drive up to Sonoma. I've read nearly every past thread about the wineries to visit, places to eat, etc... Thanks to everyone who has ever posted on the topic. Those old threads have been so helpful.

What concerns me is our list has grown so huge, and google maps gives me an idea of how long it takes to get from point A to B... but can I trust that it's realistic?

On a Tuesday, where can I expect to run into traffic? Heading out of the city over the Golden Gate Bridge at 8am? Or What about coming back into the city from Sonoma at about 5pm-ish?
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Old Sep 23rd, 2009, 10:40 AM
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Traffic on the Bridge will not be the big issue as you will be going in reverse commute directions--the biggest issue will be traffic through Santa Rosa and Petaluma, if you stay on 101. I'm sure some Sonoma residents can give you guidance on that traffic.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2009, 10:53 AM
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Thank you SAB. That helps a lot.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2009, 11:49 AM
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Sonoma resident here - where are you planning to visit in Sonoma ? If you are planning to visit in & around Sonoma town
you won't have to worry about the loads of construction on Hwy 101 in Santa Rosa & Rohnert Park. Petaluma is a breeze until 3- 6 PM Northbound on weekdays (at the moment).
So, what is your plan ?

R5
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Old Sep 23rd, 2009, 12:45 PM
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Well, razzledazzle...

Our plan is to visit Sonoma, the town and a few wineries. Well, the list of the few wineries has become much larger since I began reading all the advice here on the boards.

We are going to save Napa and the wineries for another time and plan to concentrate on Sonoma. Not sure how much we'll be able to fit in and here is where I'm running into time issues.
I know we'll be picking up our rental and leaving San Francisco at about 8am. I figure we can grab breakfast once we are out of the city. We just aren't sure where to go next.

The wineries we were hoping to visit are spread out. There are a few up north (Hop Kiln, Ferrari-Carano, A. Rafanelli) and then a few closer to Sonoma (Viansa, Domaine Carneros, Cline, Nicholson Ranch, matanzas creek, little vineyards).

It just seems like Hop kiln and the others up north are "out of the way". Plus with the construction you mention, we might be better off avoiding hwy 101.

What are your thoughts?
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Old Sep 23rd, 2009, 12:46 PM
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And thank you in advance for your time and advice. I can't tell you how much I appreciate it!!
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Old Sep 23rd, 2009, 12:47 PM
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Was in Santa Rosa/Windsor/Healdsburg area on the weekend and the only traffic problems were construction slowdowns from Rhonert Park to the northern side of Santa Rosa.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2009, 01:56 PM
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Either visit the wineries around the town of Sonoma, OR the wineries around Healdsburg - not both. The drive between the two areas through Santa Rosa on surface roads with strip malls, ugly commerce, etc is not a pleasent one. And 101 near Petaluma & Santa Rosa has the constant construction (it seem) mentioned by others.

How old is your info about Viansa??? and where is it located???

Stu Dudley
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Old Sep 23rd, 2009, 01:56 PM
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Sonoma is a cute little town, though I don't live there my family and I have been going up there for years. Make sure you check out the Vella Cheese Factory a couple of blocks off of the town square. Excellent Monterey Jack cheese. Don't be afraid to park a few blocks off of the square, there are no meters. Lots of cute little shops and good places to eat.
Have you taken the Silverado trail and eaten at the Rutherford grill?? Well worth it, and not that far from Sonoma.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2009, 02:25 PM
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Yup, boom_boom, that's exactly where I meant, and all of it will be on-going for quite awhile.

xpi6tiva, I think it a good idea to spend your day
either up in Healdsburg and surrounds
OR
Sonoma town and surrounding valley.

If you concentrate your time in Healdsburg, the trip up to
Healdsburg won't be so bad with the construction slowdowns
through Rohnert Park and then from the junction of Hwy12/
101 up nearly to Windsor. Going home (south) via 101 will be the messy part. We can route you down from Healdsburg
to Cotati via Hwy 116 if you want to be a bit adventurous
and take the scenic route.

OTOH, a day in Sonoma town and it's surrounds is a lovely, lovely day ! Please know that Matanzas Creek is up in east/south east Santa Rosa-you can reach it from Sonoma town driving north on Hwy 12, but it is a tad bit out of the way.
I would also skip Viansa. A. Rafanelli requires a rezzie.

SF to Healdsburg is a minimum of 90 mins and then you'd have to add a bit for the construction.
SF to Sonoma town is about an hour, but Cline is on the way.

For breakfast I'm thinking the Dipsea cafe
www.dipseacafe.com in Mill Valley, others like the Lighthouse diner in Sausalito.

So, with a breakfast stop, it's around 10 -10:30 AM by the time you stop at your first winery.

R5
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Old Sep 23rd, 2009, 02:25 PM
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StuDudley...
I was begining to think the same thing. It's great having it confirmed by people who are familiar with the area.

Viansa is on Arnold Dr. I have read things on here about them and Yelp. If you or anyone else have other thoughts, I'd love to hear them.

Brewski...
It's our first time to California, so no, we've never taken the Silverado trail. This is all new to us.

The Vella Cheese Factory sounds amazing. We both love cheese and can live off of it... well, maybe with some bread and wine.

And thanks for your tip on parking in Sonoma. We're from Chicago where parking even in designated areas can be a no no.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2009, 02:26 PM
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>>

Crossing over to the Napa Valley to go to Rutherford for lunch, or to take a drive on the Silverado Trail when you're planning on spending a day in Sonoma or Healdsburg, would be absurd.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2009, 02:41 PM
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Razzledazzle...

I think I will take your advice and keep our touring in Sonoma and surrounding area.
Are there any small wineries you'd recommend we not miss?

We plan on biking from SF across the Golden Gate to Sausalito on Monday, so we weren't planning to stop there on Tuesday. However, breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. I've looked at both menus and Dipsea cafe has biscuits and gravy on the menu... yum! But who has the better pancakes?
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Old Sep 23rd, 2009, 03:14 PM
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Stu, my dear there is currently NO construction on Hwy 101
in & around Petaluma, OK ? there is a patch of road widening in Rohnert Park and the worst is the 8 miles from Stelle Lane to Windsor and please stop it with the ugly drive on all of Hwy 101 up here schtick.
Yes, through central Santa Rosa and Rohnert Park, the usual, but not a horror flick, not true Big City stuff like the 580/80 maze or anything in LA, OK ? and For the record, the drive on Hwy 101 North from Olompali through Petaluma and up the Cotati grade is VERY scenic.

I must agree with sf7307, going to Napa on this trip is nutz !
(sf7307: aren't we supposed to be working on a best pizza in Sonoma county list, LOL ?)

Anywho,on to more important matters...

But who has better pancakes ?
So, go to the Lighthouse on Monday and the Dipsea on
Tuesday !

Now,xpi6, about those wineries-what do you like to drink ?

R5
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Old Sep 23rd, 2009, 03:42 PM
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We love reds!
Love Love full bodied reds. Love a good pinot noir.

But, don't get me wrong. We still enjoy the occasional glass of white , dessert, and rose wine.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2009, 04:11 PM
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Jeeze razzle - calm down with the comments about me!!!

The construction I was referring to was the stuff mentioned by others. The OP would encounter it if she took 116 from Sonoma to Petaluma then up 101 past Santa Rosa to Healdsburg. There always seems to be some construction or other types of delays on 101 between Petaluma & Healdsburg.

>>please stop it with the ugly drive on all of Hwy 101 up here schtick.>Yes, through central Santa Rosa and Rohnert Park, the usual, but not a horror flick, not true Big City stuff like the 580/80 maze or anything in LA, OK ?>For the record, the drive on Hwy 101 North from Olompali through Petaluma and up the Cotati grade is VERY scenic.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2009, 04:51 PM
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Viansa is a great winery to visit. It's on the way from 37 into Sonoma, sorry I don't know the exact town because I just know that route by heart. They have a great food shop and cooked food too, in addition to wine. Trivia: It's Sam and Vicki Sebastiani's winery. Vi for Vicky, an for and and Sa for Sam.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2009, 04:55 PM
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STU ! Geez !
We were discussing 101, no one mentioned surface roads, of course there are many scenic routes to and from Healdsburg, silly ! and there is no construction "near" Petaluma, it's all happening way up the road-dear, dear Stu you are always so precise and detailed in your advice, I would think you would understand the same from me ?????
Oh, forget about it...I'll buy you a glass of my fave
local wine, OK ?

Anywho...

Now another question, xpi6, can you go to Sonoma on Monday ?
Most of the cool little spots I want to send you-
Kaz,Keller Estate and your choice of Little are closed
on Tuesdays. Do make a point to drop by Cornerstone
Gardens, but know that their collective tasting
room-Grange Sonoma is closed-you guessed it-on Tuesday.

Check out the new Anaba Tasting room not far from Cornerstone Gardens. Schug is down the same Rd.
not small, but the harvest is going on.

Benziger does a neat little tram tour that discusses
the biodynamic farming practices it uses. Check their website for times.

Over on the east side of Sonoma town is Gundlach
Bundschu -I love these people ! you could do this before or after Nicholson Ranch.

If Tuesday is the day, do please check yours and others
mentions here to be sure they are open. The Big Guys
probably will be, not so much your requested boutique/
small winery.

Hope you have a wonderful visit here !!

R5
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Old Sep 23rd, 2009, 05:03 PM
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MonicaR-
No,it isn't Sam & Vicky's winery anymore. It's been owned
by a corporation for about 5 years, same owners who went bankrupt on it in 2007. The wine is nothing worth
drinking anymore, IMHO.

R5
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Old Sep 23rd, 2009, 05:22 PM
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I guess we can do Monday, instead of Tuesday.
I was just thinking we'd be sore from biking that it would be good to just drive around the day after.

I've seen others mention Gundlach Bundschu. Not sure why I haven't looked into them... but now I will.

Thank you so very much for all your advice.
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