Specific Sonoma/Napa ?'s

Jul 13th, 2007, 08:59 AM
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Specific Sonoma/Napa ?'s

Hi, 3 women traveling to wine country/SF, Leaving early am Wed 8/1 from SF, driving up coast to Healdsburg. We have 2 nights booked at Dry Creek Inn Healdsburg, heading back to SF on Friday afternoon for the weekend. Looking for feedback/ideas and any help from you knowledgeable fodorites. Here are my questions:
driving up coast should we stop at Muir woods or Anderson woods to see the Redwoods?
We would like to get 2-3 wineries in on Wed afternoon, preferably smaller ones, Great wine and views
any suggestions?
Planning to drive our own tour of upper Napa valley on Thurs, wineries, picnic lunch, etc. Also we are thinking we might just stay one night in Healdsburg and a night near/in Napa Again looking for ideas and specific stops.
Friday half day around wine country, drive back to SF late afternoon and pm tour of Alcatraz. Does this seem reasonable? Again any help greatly appreciated, Thanks marymacnp
ps posted this elsewhere, but don't think i was specific enough with my heading and topic

marymacnp is offline  
Jul 14th, 2007, 09:58 AM
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Isn't the Dry Creek Inn a motel?? You'd find more charm for the same price booking with www.sonomacountyvacations.com IMO. (check the last pages for cheaper vacation rental accommodations) Why not also check out the Armstrong Woods in Guerneville? That is a lovely State park filled with Redwoods. Muir Woods are just outside of San Francisco.
kleroux is offline  
Jul 14th, 2007, 01:44 PM
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Thanks Kleroux but for just 2 nights the motel seems fine, 3 single women don't need the charm and looks like the smaller places are all king beds, no help. My ? was should we see Muir OR Anderson, will only go to one and looking for recomendations of one vs. the other, Mary
marymacnp is offline  
Jul 15th, 2007, 09:17 AM
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Sorry, I don't know what Anderson Woods is... but between Muir and Armstrong, I'd pick Armstrong.
kleroux is offline  
Jul 15th, 2007, 10:37 AM
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Armstrong Woods, about a 30-40 minute drive from Healdsburg, is an awesome place when using the word as meaning awe-struck, being the reaction that the trees and surroundings impart. Better than Muir, IMO, but I was at Armstrong in 2 months ago and Muir 25 years ago.... So the memories are sharp vs distant.
socialworker is online now  
Jul 15th, 2007, 11:19 AM
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I'm jealous.

Muir Woods - definitely worthwhile. Enjoy.

Great winery tour is a smaller winery named Michel-Schlumberger in Sonoma. Call for a reservation. Great tour and tasting room. Kenwood also has a nice tasting room, as does Ravenswood and Dry Creek. Seghesio (known for their red zin) is also really, really nice.

Book your Alcatraz tickets asap. After your tour, Alioto's on Pier 39 is terrific. Just ate there last week. Recommend calling for a reservation.
udflyers is offline  
Jul 15th, 2007, 11:40 AM
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If you are wine tasting in the Anderson Valley, at the very end of 128 is a huge stand of redwoods. It's a magical drive, IMO. I don't understand why you are going to Napa when there's so much more to see in Sonoma Valley. Alexander Valley, Russian River, Dry Creek. Save Napa for another trip.
LLindaC is offline  
Jul 15th, 2007, 12:15 PM
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I agree with leaving Napa for another trip. I've stayed at the Dry Creek Inn and while it's not got the charm of the B&Bs in the area, it's a comfortable place for a lot less money.

I think people worry too much about which wineries to choose. Just head out into the Dry Creek area or along the Russian River and stop where you feel like it. There are so many to choose and you will easily get your fill.

I would also go to Armstrong Redwoods. It's a beautiful grove and lots less crowded than Muir Woods. If you feel like it, continue on to the Coast. Sonoma County has all the diversity and variety you could ask for in one trip!

Visit the cafe at the newly acquired Copola Winery for a lunch with wonderful views.

www.wineroad.com for interactive map and all the area info you could ask for.
Grassshopper is offline  
Jul 15th, 2007, 12:24 PM
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grasshopper, have you been to the new winery? I hear he's trying to put in swimming pools! Haven't heard from anyone about the actual changes, though. Much as we liked Ch Souverain, the lunch we had there 2 years ago was pretty bad. They needed something, for sure.
LLindaC is offline  
Jul 15th, 2007, 02:12 PM
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I just stayed at the Dry Creek Inn a few days ago. While it does lack charm, it is clean and a perfectly acceptable accommodation - especially if you aren't planning to spend much time in your room. Be aware, however, that there is a good deal of construction going on and it gets noisy fairly early in the morning. It didn't, however, really bother us.

I'm with those that suggest leaving the Napa Valley for another trip. There is a wonderful little winery near Healdsburg, called Fieldstone. The wine is good and the ambience is terrific. You might want to consider driving up towards Mendocino and visiting wineries along Highway 128. Navarro Winery has beautiful grounds and is a wonderful place for a picnic.
nevermind is offline  
Jul 15th, 2007, 04:53 PM
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Agree with Grasshopper. Go to upper Sonoma and leave Napa alonge. It is absolutely wonderful.
udflyers is offline  
Jul 15th, 2007, 09:42 PM
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Well, I'm going to sound the opposing note.

Go to Muir Woods because it's much more user friendly. It's much easier to see the redwoods because the trails are laid out for people to get a really good feel for the giant trees.

Whether you should/should not go to Napa depends on where you are coming from.

If you are coming from far away, then going to Sonoma one day and to Napa another day makes sense. Napa is easier to do in one day, since it's apretty much a straight shot up and down Highway 29. Artesa is a bit out of the way from 29 but really shouldn't be missed for the spectacular building and grounds. Along Highway 29, I'd suggest V. Sattui, St. Supery and Cakebread.

In Sonoma it's hard to do all of Sonoma county in one day. You have to pick a valley: Dry Creek, Russian River, Alexander Valley, or even the town of Healdsburg. There are several excellent wine-tasting places gathered around Healdsburg Square. Otherwise, everyone has his/her own favorite valley in Sonoma County. I'd suggest starting out at the north end at the beautiful gardens of Ferrari-Carano and work your way southward to whichever wineries other Fodorites suggest.

Have a fun trip!
easytraveler is offline  
Jul 16th, 2007, 03:29 AM
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Thanks for all the input so far. And yes Easytraveler we are coming from NJ, so want to see both. I think we will stick to 1 or 2 wineries around healdsburg the first afternoon, and take advantage of the tasting rooms in town. Spend a full day out around St. Helena/Yountville seeing Cakebread, BV, Rutherford and perhaps 1-2 more. Picnic lunch somewhere that day and back to Healdsburg for dinner. On our last morning we can just relax for our drive to SF or if we are not Wineried Out see a couple more. Thanks for the advice re Muir, thats what we are looking for so prob an early morning hike in the Redwoods. then enjoy the drive north to Healdsburg. Keep the suggestions coming and thanks, Mary
marymacnp is offline  
Jul 16th, 2007, 06:59 AM
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Make sure you know that Sonoma is both a county and a town. If you are in Healdsburg, the Armstrong woods, and Michel Schlumberger winery, they are around Healdsburg, not Sonoma.
As for costs, vacation rentals in Hbg..you can get a one bedroom apt. with mini kitchen, sleeping 4-6 people, quiet and private for less than $150 a night..so I don't know how the Dry Creek Inn can compare with that.
kleroux is offline  
Jul 16th, 2007, 03:21 PM
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I don't know where you found those great accomodations for only 2 nights, in town. I checked the website above and VRBO, nothing even close. But thanks anyway, Mary
marymacnp is offline  
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