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LizaMarie Aug 5th, 2009 05:32 PM

staying in sonoma/napa - choosing a homebase
Think I have narrowed it down to staying 3 nights in Napa and 3 nights in Sonoma (4 nights in between each in SF, work trip for my husband)

we have plotted out the majority of vineyards, restaurants, etc that we definitely want to visit.

problem is more in sonoma county than in napa, is that everything seems so spread out. We are definitely interested in the russian river valley wineries and quite a few in sonoma, so they are pretty much at opposite ends of the road.

should be base ourselves in santa rosa for the sonoma portion of our trip - since it seems centrally located?

for Napa - we will probably have to stay in Napa, as it is so far the cheaper option over Calistoga, St Helena, etc, though I'd rather stay in the smaller towns. seems things along the road south to north in Napa aren't as spread out as in Sonoma.

Supercilious Aug 5th, 2009 06:03 PM

If you stay in Sonoma or Healdsburg, you are much closer to the wineries and good restaurants than you would be in Santa Rosa. Santa Rosa is a really big town with lots of traffic congestion and few hotels with any charm. It's too bad you can't do two nights each in Sonoma, Healdsburg, and Napa.

Where are you staying in Napa? And what time of year is this?

JayZee Aug 5th, 2009 06:26 PM

Yes the wineries seem more spread out in Sonoma County, so pick an area to do your tasting. Start with a map -
and go from there. We like the Dry Creek area northwest of Healdsburg. Plenty of good wineries - Ferrari Carano, Quivira, Rafanelli, Mazzocco.

According to your posts, seems like you're on a restricted budget. So start looking for your best deals in SRosa up to Healdsburg for Sonoma County lodging. There are plenty of BWestern, HInn, ComfSuites in the area.

LizaMarie Aug 6th, 2009 07:29 AM

we are going in November - originally we were thinking 3 nights at the Best Western in Sonoma and 3 nights in the Best Western in Napa. read decent reviewes on each - price seems right. wish we could stay all 6 nights in a row and break it up - 2 nights each, etc but need to be in SF the 4 nights in between each stay.

I think the Napa hotel location will work out - unless I find a cheaper option further north in Napa - for St. Helena, Calistoga, etc

for Sonoma, it seems we will want to spend majority of time North so staying in Healdsburg makes the most sense... but if we go with Sonoma Best Western I think it will still be OK - just less conveinent.

StuDudley Aug 6th, 2009 07:44 AM

It takes some doing to get from the town of Sonoma to Healdsburg - you need to drive through Santa Rosa - which is dreadfull (congestion, not scenic). The town of Sonoma and its suburbs have some pretty ugly spots - be careful of where your hotel is located. There are some less expensive motels in Healdsburg that have little charm - but in 3 minutes you can be at the pretty Healdsburg square or out in the vineyards.

Stu Dudley

LLindaC Aug 6th, 2009 07:50 AM

Consider the Camellia Inn or the Haydon House B&B in Healdsburg. They are reasonable, and the personal attention and information you get there is invaluable. I would choose Healdsburg over Sonoma. You are close to Alexander Valley, Dry Creek, Russian River and the fun town of Geyserville! If you are that strapped, there is a nice Best Western in Healdsburg. It's a bit off the main square, but close to the expressway. Still, I think you'd love the B&B option for this special trip.

PamSF Aug 6th, 2009 07:52 AM

Also check out The Geyserville Inn. It is somewhat far afield from downtown Healdsburg but far better an option,imho than the Best Western. It is at the end of a long wine road.

Grassshopper Aug 6th, 2009 08:00 AM

If chosing the Best Western is a budget item, there's also a Best Western in Healdsburg that has a decent price point. Healdsburg is a great base for the Russian River, Dry Creek and Alexander Valley wineries. Take some time to visit Armstrong Redwoods and see one of the best old grove Redwoods in the state/world! Lots of wineries to visit along the way.

LLindaC Aug 6th, 2009 08:15 AM

That's a great website for info and events, specials, etc. November is a beautiful month to visit!

kimamom Aug 6th, 2009 10:03 AM

We have stayed at the Bw in Sonoma, it's nice and there is a great pool there. This past March we stayed at the Inn @ the Plaza in Healdsburg, a quaint little Inn with very nice personable service and walking distance to Cyrus where we enjoyed dinner. Have fun! ***kim*** ((*))

Supercilious Aug 6th, 2009 05:34 PM

There are two Best Westerns in the city of Napa.

The Elm House Inn gets good reviews and is located just next to the downtown area and has good freeway access.

The Inn at the Vines is an older, tired property located next to the mental hospital and across the street from a large strip mall. If you are going to be dining at Denny's or Applebees, this is a good choice. Otherwise, if you are really cost conscious, the Chablis Inn might be a better choice.

Suzette85 Aug 6th, 2009 06:38 PM

I've stayed at the BW in Healdsberg and it was fine.

LizaMarie Aug 7th, 2009 07:27 AM

thank you all so much for your advice -

supercilious - I am definitely referring to the BW Elm House Inn in Napa not the one next to a mental hospital!! thanks for the heads up. definitely not a denny's or applebee's kind of person. I prefer to stay in a cheap hotel so I can eat and drink expensively, but not so cheap that it is poor condtions.

would BW in Napa be a good choice, so far the only other affordable Napa option I've come acroos is the railroad or railway inn or something to that effect in Yountwille. I like the idea of staying Yountville but am unsure of this hotel?

for sonoma county I am debating now between the BW in Healdsburg or the BW in Sonoma. seems everyone leans towards Healdsburg.... I definitely want to go to quite a few wineries/restaurants in both the Healdsburg and Sonoma areas so I think either choice would be fine, right??

StuDudley Aug 7th, 2009 08:22 AM

Like I stated earlier, Somona has some pretty ugly areas. Fewer ugly spots in Healdsburg. I also prefer the "scene" and the central square in Healdsburg over Sonoma. If this was my trip, I would would head to Healdsburg, via the beautiful Alexander Valley from Calistoga (Napa Valley). Visit some wineries in the Alexander Valley on the way. Then stay in Healdsburg. Visit wineries in the Dry Creek Valley and also the Russian River. Then decide if you really want to drive through Santa Rosa to get to Sonoma and visit wineries there (bet you won't want to).

Stu Dudley

LizaMarie Aug 7th, 2009 08:27 AM

thanks Stu - makes sense. Seems I can get a pretty good deal in the updated rooms at the BW in Healdsburg, so just need to convince my husband it is the right choice. We were all set with the Sonoma BW and the rate and ready to nook, until I had second thoughts and decided to look better into it, so Healdsburg is a bit more but not really that much, so I will have to convince him. seems like the best option all around!

Linny1951 Aug 7th, 2009 08:32 AM

Listen to Stu . . . he knows :)

Seriously, we much prefer Healdsburg over Sonoma and it is more centrally located to great Sonoma County wineries, especially since you will make Napa a second trip. The town of Sonoma is actually easier to do along with a <u>Napa</u> stay if you have specific wineries you wish to visit there - easier highway access.

Supercilious Aug 7th, 2009 06:22 PM

Linny is right. It is much easier to get to the Sonoma Square from Napa (20 minutes) than from Healdsburg. And Stu is right on about driving to Healdsburg from Calistoga. That drive is one of the prettiest around and world's apart from going through Santa Rosa on Hwy 12.

I do like Sonoma though. It's got more history than Healdsburg and it's where the fight for California independence began. Visiting the mission and Vallejo home is quite interesting and there are some very good and famous wineries located within just a few blocks of the Square. There are also several good restaurants there.

If you do go to Sonoma from Napa, you can visit the Square, see the sights, taste at a couple of wineries and then wander up to Glen Ellen in the afternoon. Glen Ellen and Kenwood are the heart of the Sonoma Valley and have several very good wineries. Then in the late afternoon, you can take the Trinity/Oakville Grade over to the Napa Valley for your return to your hotel. This is a fantastic drive and has very memorable views.

I'm glad you are at the Elm House in Napa. But, you might also check out the brand new Avia hotel:

They seem to have some good rates for November and they are brand, spanking new.

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