San Fran/Sonoma trip report

May 22nd, 2003, 11:59 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 26
San Fran/Sonoma trip report

Hi all - got back late Sunday and thought I'd post how the trip went for those who are looking forward to a San Fran trip!

In short - We had a wonderful time! The restaurant rundown is as follows: Thursday we had lunch at Ozumo (wonderful salad, so-so sushi, v.expensive! $128 for two!), Thursday night we had dinner at Fringale (if you haven't been, I highly recommend it), our reservations were at 8:30 but we were starving, didn't know how long it would take to get there and so arrived about an hour early. They sat us anyway and the food and service were excellent! The chocolate bread pudding put us over the top and we were all beached-whale miserable. Terrific wine list, too. Friday we ate lunch at Lori's Diner because it was two blocks down from our hotel, great (and potent!) garlic fries. Typical diner food. Scala's Bistro for dinner which we discovered was RIGHT down the street from the Cartwright and was good, but not fantastic. V.good wine list again and pretty reasonably-priced. Saturday morning we went to the Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market, bought wonderful pastries, strawberries, peaches and cherries for breakfast, and had lunch at the Station House Cafe in Pt. Reyes. Wonderful food, ambiance, service, and prices. I adore that place!

Now sightseeing: Friday morning my friend and I rode horses at Five Brooks Ranch (*ouch*), we couldn't have had better weather and drove back to San Fran in her convertible, then my b/f and I went to the Haight, walked around, bought a couple of lps, walked through Golden Gate Park, then back to the hotel to get ready for dinner.

Saturday we got up early and went out of the city, took 101 to Sir Francis Drake Blvd. into Pt. Reyes Station, then took the Pt. Reyes-Petaluma Road to Petaluma, back on 101 to Santa Rosa, visited three wineries: DeLoach (not nearly as impressed with them or their wine as I was three years ago - perhaps my palate is more discriminating now? - bought three bottles anyway); Sebastapol (pretty good Chard and Pinot, bought a chard and two bottles of pinot noir); and J Wine, which was very impressive (bought a pinot gris, a brut and a dessert liquor mix of brandy and chard ? YUM!). Then we took Old Redwood Highway to Healdsburg, kicked around the square a bit. We got back onto Old Redwood Highway, then River Road all the way to Hwy. 1, driving along the Russian River and marveling at all the vineyards and wineries we recognized. It was beautiful. California (especially that area) just feels like home to me. We got to Hwy. 1 and the sun was setting fast, so we stopped at a beach outside of Bodega Bay, walked out on a cliff and watched the sun almost set until it was too darn cold and I couldn't take it anymore! It was gorgeous, though.

Sunday we got up fairly early and headed to Muir Woods, traffic was very light and we got there by 9:30. We walked the 1.5 mile loop and soaked in all the green and refreshing smells. It was the perfect way to end a lovely trip.

Hope this helps future travelers in some small way, everyone on this site has been MORE than helpful to me and I greatly appreciate it.

P.S. A word about hotels - the first night we stayed at the Harbor Court Lights, which was nice, clean and safe. The next two nights we stayed at the Cartwright on Sutter, and although the bathroom was smaller and the hotel was older, we both agreed that the bed was more comfortable and we felt more like we were staying in a guest room than a hotel room. I thought the area was very safe, lots of good restaurants around, Harry's Starlight Lounge is right across the street, and you're no more than a few blocks from the cable cars or city buses. I highly recommend it and would definitely stay there again.
Flwrhead is offline  
May 22nd, 2003, 12:34 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,379
Sounds like a lovely time. The tab for lunch at Ozumo does sound a bit high to me-- except maybe for an edible meal in midtown Manhattan. Glad you enjoyed your visit to California!
rjw_lgb_ca is offline  
May 22nd, 2003, 01:06 PM
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So glad you had a great time here! Don't know much about the city things as I haven't lived there for a few years,but am glad that Sonoma & Pt.Reyes
were a happy part of your trip. Next to home I'd say Pt.Reyes was a favorite-try Limintour Beach next visit!
May 22nd, 2003, 01:45 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74
flwrhead -
tell me about Petaluma! how long were there and what all did you see? got the magazine from tourism board and it looks like there is so much to see and do...
dg is offline  
May 22nd, 2003, 01:54 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 26
DG - we really just drove through Petaluma as a way to get back on 101 to Santa Rosa and the wineries. I'm sure there was another route, but I didn't have a road map, just sketchy directions from mapquest. Petaluma, from the brief time I saw it, is beautiful though. I've read good descriptions of B&Bs and restaurants there, and it is very picturesque. Wasn't it voted America's Favorite Small Town some years back?

I would probably stay there in the future, had I not fallen in love with Healdsburg.
Flwrhead is offline  
May 22nd, 2003, 01:58 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 19,419
The best time to go to Petaluma is the last weekend of April when they have the annual Butter and Egg Days Parade, antique cars parade and the antique flea market next day. There is also cheese factory with a free tour, you can see the cheese being made and stored, and then get to try some. There is a riverboat, forgot the name. And it's a shopper's paradise! Lots of boutiques.
FainaAgain is offline  
May 22nd, 2003, 02:16 PM
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The best time to go to Petaluma is anytime-just my resident bias!
FainaAgain-The riverboat -'Petaluma Queen'has been gone for quite a few
years now, sad to say :-<
May 22nd, 2003, 03:01 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 19,419
Oh, that's why I did not see a boat when I was there a year ago! Thanks for letting me know, Rasnes.
FainaAgain is offline  

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