Sonoma in Oct. Help

Jul 18th, 2004, 04:38 AM
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Sonoma in Oct. Help

We will be going to Sonoma in early October and staying for a week. Neither my husband and I have been north of SF.

Would like to know from all of you what some of your favorite vineyards were. We would also like to spend a day in Napa area.

This will be just a relaxing trip. We will have a car, and are staying in a house in Sonoma.

We'd like to visit Sonoma coast, Petaluma, Santa Rosa (as we are considering moving here someday) and most of the Sonoma Valley.

Any places to see that we should not miss?

We'd also love restaurant suggestions - moderate in price and not dressy.

wanderer is offline  
Jul 18th, 2004, 06:41 AM
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Some of my favorites are V.Sattui. Beautiful picnic areas with GREAT deli/cheese shop where you can grab lunch & a bottle of wine and go outside and lay down a blanket to picnic. The grounds are really pretty. S. Anderson has a breathtaking view because you have to ride up to the winery in a gondola/cable car of sorts. On the way up you get a phenomenal view of the scenery. I liked Robert Mondavi & The Coppolla Winery as well.
cellgirl99 is offline  
Jul 18th, 2004, 06:44 AM
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cellgirl -
Are these wineries all in Sonoma?
wanderer is offline  
Jul 18th, 2004, 07:11 AM
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Be sure and venture just a bit farther north of Santa Rosa to Healdsburg. It's a charming town with a lovely central plaza. Be sure and have lunch on the plaza....we especially like Bistro Ralph as well as the Hotel Healdsburg. There are some great wineries to see just north and west of Healdsburg in the Dry Creek Valley. Ferrari Carano in particular has excellent wines and gorgeous gardens. You can go up one side of the valley, crossing it just below the dam and Lake Sonoma, and come down the other side so as not to see all the same scenery.
MsGhost is offline  
Jul 18th, 2004, 07:49 AM
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Favorite restaurants in Sonoma are: Girl and Fig, Swiss Hotel, and Cafe La Haye. I have also heard good things about Meritage and La Poste, but haven't tried them yet.

Healdsburg is really great, The Dry Creek Kitchen is very nice, but not moderate, you could it outside if you don't like to dress up for dinner.

Go to Chateau Souverain in Geyeserville for lunch, it's great, then have a complimentary tasting when you show them your wine cork from the restaurant. Very nice whites there! ***kim***
kimamom is offline  
Jul 18th, 2004, 07:59 AM
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Here's a good map/guide to Sonoma wineries.
Budman is offline  
Jul 18th, 2004, 08:39 AM
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Tes, by all means, check out Budman's suggested website.

"Sonoma" is really kinda a misnomer. The center is really Healdsburg. There are several valleys in the area, Dry Creek and Alexander Valleys are two of them, they are probably the prettiest. Everyone has his/her favorite valley.

Also check this forum for many previous posts on the vineyards and restaurants in the area. Only one week? You'll have a lot of sampling to do!
easytraveler is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2004, 11:07 AM
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Hi Wanderer -

You have some definite places in mind to visit. So you should see them. However; My husband and I spent 3 nights in Sonoma as part of our honeymoon about 3 weeks ago and we thought our trip was perfect:

Winery Tour - hire a driver from 11:30-4:30 for $45 per hr including tax and tip. We did Sonoma
1) St. Francis
2) St. Jean
3) Wellington
5) Kunde
6) Valley of the Moon

Sonoma Plaza restaurants were Excellent - Meritage, Della Santina and some Brazillian place - just ask the locals for the name. Also, a great Irish Pub called Murphys. And a great place we had lunch - Deuce.

gemjab is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2004, 12:53 PM
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OK then, a little clarity for you
wanderer-all of cellgirl's wineries
are in Napa county, the one with the Gondola is called Sterling not
S.Anderson. They,for the most part, are large corporate venues and will be crowded if that matters to you.
Niebaum-Coppala is the only one I would
bother with IMHO. Get yourself off of
the Hwy 29 traffic mess on one of the many "Cross"roads over to the
Silverado Trail.
Budman lists a good website for Healdsburg area and west Sonoma County
(Russian River/Dry Creek/Green Valley)
yet it omits most of the Caneros region
(where Sonoma town is),Sonoma Valley
and Sonoma Mountain. A better
website for the entire county can be found at
Wineries in Sonoma town:
Ravenswood, Gundlach Bundschu, Sebastiani,Buena Vista and Haywood.
south of town you will find Gloria
Ferrar (sparkling), Cline,Schug and Viansa. gemjab has a goood list for
the Sonoma Valley/Mountain areas north of Sonoma town called Kenwood and Valley of the Moon. When you get here
purchase a Compass map of the county and it will show you where all the towns and wineries are.
When you come to Petaluma, do be sure to walk around our beautiful downtown
along the river and take in a meal at
Central Market,Sooze,One-Fifty-Four
Graziano's or Hiro.
You might want to consider a tour of
McEvoy Ranch (gourmet olive oil production),
Safari West ( a wild animal preserve
nothing like a Disneyland type place),
Rent a kayak for the afternoon
and glide down the Russian River,
Rent bikes and take a ride along the Prince Memorial Greenway in downtown Santa Rosa for 19 miles to Forestville.
Be sure to take a drive out to Jenner
to the ocean on 116 West-Goat Rock state park and beach should not be missed-from here you could travel south
on PCH 1 to Bodega Bay and circle back through Petaluma and on over to Sonoma.
While you are here I would definetly not miss Pt.Reyes and the National Seashore. The towns of Pt.Reyes, Olema
and Inverness are cut too.
One of the country's premier art collections is to be had at the di Rosa
Preserve-on Hwy 121 just eat of the Sonoma County line. What else?
razzledazzle is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2004, 11:10 PM
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razzledazzle - excellent suggestions, and I still owe you that drink on the Petaluma river

Thanks also everyone else.

gemjab - where did you find your driver?
wanderer is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2004, 11:48 PM
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Dear Wanderer,
I like Beringer (and their second floor premium wine tasting room), but Napa will be a very pricey madhaus in October.
The suggestions re: Sonoma County are great. Additionally, I think nearly all of us in fly-over country would like to live in the Valley of the Moon, but real estate prices and CA taxes are excessive.
mikemo is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2004, 12:35 PM
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mikemo-"fly over country"?

wanderer-or is it I that owes you?
well, let's set the date!

razzledazzle is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2004, 01:33 PM
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I particularly liked Ferari-Carrano sp? and I thought that Korbel had a great tour and beautiful grounds. I suggest looking at a map and figuring out a route to take you to some of the areas you want to see. Honestly you cannot go wrong!
ilovetulips is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2004, 01:39 PM
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I agree with ilovetulips. You can't go wrong. Have a list of some that people have recommended, but my favorites are the ones I just stumbled upon myself. Now on each trip I know I'm going to see a couple someone has told me about and then let serendipity lead the way.

Of course this approach may be not at all comfortable for you - depends on where you fall in the planner/not planner spectrum.

One thing I ALWAYS do it stop by the Oakville Grocery to pick up great cheeses, crackers, etc. to snack on and gifts for home.
gracieb is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2004, 02:52 PM
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I don't know if I'd trust R5...she drinks too much. In fact everytime I see her she's blurry!!!
Kal is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2004, 03:47 PM
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razzledazzle is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2004, 06:16 PM
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razzledazzle -
We'll be in Sonoma 10/4 - 10/11.

Let me know if it's possible for us to meet you. Maybe you could point out the highlights of Petaluma, since we are considering moving there at some point... (are you from CA originally??)

We'll try and hook up.
wanderer is offline  
Jul 27th, 2004, 05:49 AM
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We asked the conceirge at the hotel we stayed at - the Fairmont Sonoma Mission. I'm sure if you called the conceirge desk they would be more than happy to tell you even if you are not staying there. Conceirges get "perks" sometimes by recommending places and services and if you just give them credit when booking, that will be fine. Our driver's name was Doug if that helps.
gemjab is offline  
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