Trip Report: Wine Country, Carmel, and SF

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Aug 6th, 2008, 11:38 AM
  #1
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Trip Report: Wine Country, Carmel, and SF

Hi all,
Thanks to this board we were able to plan our 11 night California getaway last month, so I just thought I would quickly post some of our thoughts as a thank you!

We spent our first four nights in Healdsburg as our wine country base at the Honor Mansion. What a fabulous place to stay! This inn has thought of everything. We then drove each day to explore Calistoga, Sonoma, St. Helena, and towards Napa.

We had some great meals in Healdsburg at Willi's and Zin, but Barndiva was a big miss due to service issues.

We also had some great lunches out in wine country at The Girl and the Fig, Wappo, and Villa Corona.

Favourite wineries were Sterling, Clos Pegasse, Envy, Bennett Lane, Grgich Hills, St. Supery, Viansa, and Hawkes. Stopped at Rubicon as well and couldn't believe the whole valet parking, red carpet walk thing! Wow. That's Napa I guess...decided to pass on the 25 dollar tour/tasting but did enjoy checking out some of Coppola's memorabilia. We also enjoyed the heat wave in wine country at the time too.

Next, was 3 nights in Carmel at the Vagabond House Inn. Quite a bit cooler than wine country..but still, 2/3 days were sunny! This was our 3rd visit to Carmel. Nice accommodation..nothing out of this world, but cute, tranquil, central, and relaxing. Enjoyed our time browsing through the galleries, walking and running along the ocean, and heading out to Point Lobos one day as well. Fabulous meals at the Flying Fish and at Cantinetta Luca (went back the next night since we enjoyed our first meal so much!)

Next, we dropped our car off at SFO and went into SF for a 4 night stay. Lucked out with 4 days of sunshine..beginning at about 11 a.m of course...but wow, everyone's right about July temps in SF...we were so glad we bought some new hoodies on our first day! We stayed at the Hotel Vitale and LOVED the location. Breakfast each morning in the ferry building across the road, drinks in the evening at the ferry building or in our hotel bar, across the road from a great spot for our morning run along the waterfront, complimentary yoga one morning, great restaurants within walking distance each evening and steps from public transport. Without a doubt, next time we stay in SF, we would stay in this area again and at the Vitale.

We filled our days with walking from Fisherman's Wharf to and across the GG bridge (thank god for the bus ride back..wow, what a long walk..beautiful though!, walking through North Beach and China Town to Coit Tower, shopping of course!,visiting Grace Cathedral, drinks at Top of the Mark, visiting Lombard Street, and a brief visit to GG park and the Japanese Tea garden...it was a perfect amount of time.

We had some great meals at the Slanted Door and Kokkari ( our favourite) as well as oysters one night. The only miss was Shanghai 1930..not quite sure how that one ended up in the top 100 SF restaurants, but I digress.

Anyhow, this board was helpful as always in planning our trip...thanks to everyone for always sharing their advice!

cheers,
Mark
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Aug 6th, 2008, 11:50 AM
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Thanks for a short, but very sweet trip report! Kokkari is one of my favorites too. Thanks again!
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Aug 6th, 2008, 02:50 PM
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CC - very nice report - going in October and can't wait!
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Aug 11th, 2008, 01:26 PM
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Thanks for your report. We're heading out in Oct for Carmel and San Francisco. Looking for lodging now and will check out Vagabond House. Thanks.
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Aug 12th, 2008, 03:19 PM
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Do you recall where you ate in the Ferry Building (for breakfast)? We will be staying at the Hyatt REgency, which is right across from the Ferry Building. Thanks
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Aug 12th, 2008, 04:42 PM
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I'm not Capt, but we ate at Boulette's Larder .

www.bouletteslarder.com

On Saturday don't miss the farmer's market - for breakfast there are vendors with food and drink but the best part is walking around the many tents offering fresh fruits, vegetables, cheeses, and lots more! It's a sight for the senses.

http://www.ferrybuildingmarketplace....chant_list.php

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Aug 12th, 2008, 04:48 PM
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Just saw this on StuDudley's most helpful post "San Francisco - Stu Dudley's Recommendations":

8. Farmer’s Market – every Saturday morning at the Ferry building at the foot of Market St. (you’ll see it) from 8:30 or so till 1pm. More active in Summer months. Many restaurants have booths serving food, which would be much more fun than a hotel breakfast. Even tourists will find some souvenirs. Great place to people watch.


http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...1&tid=35129049
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Aug 12th, 2008, 09:32 PM
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Hi again..for breakfast, we would just visit a few different spots in the Ferry Building as opposed to sitting in one restaurant and then sit at the communal tables overlooking the water....I always grabbed a great morning breakfast sandwich at Lulu Petite...then would grab some yogurt from the Cowgirl Creamery...then some fruit at one of the markets...always delicious and very casual!My wife always enjoyed her morning coffee from Peet's.
We also visited the farmers' mkt one morning which had some beautiful fruit..and many samples
enjoy!
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Aug 15th, 2008, 04:17 PM
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Sounds like a lot of fun, we were in Carmel this past May for my birthday, we stayed at the Tickle Pink Inn which was wonderful. Glad you enjoyed Healdsburg, we were there this past March for dinner @ Cyrus, we were staying in Sonoma at the Sonoma Mission Inn. We also enjoyed lunch at girl and the fig, we have been here many times, it's always a nice experience here. Thanks for the report back! ***kim***
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Aug 15th, 2008, 07:27 PM
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thanks for a nice trip report! It's always fun to visit familiar places through other travelers' eyes and experiences!

so many good things have been said about the Hotel Vitale that I've got to check it out one day!

And yes, agree completely with your assessment of Shanghai 1930. Had one of my worst Chinese meals there - and expensive! Think it's that bar - it's a bar scene place, not a foodie place.

Thanks again!
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Aug 15th, 2008, 07:42 PM
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Thanks for this great report. By the way, the lunch sandwiches at Lulu Petite are also delicious. I live in SF but am in desperate need of a relaxing getaway, so your wine country info is very helpful to me.
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Aug 16th, 2008, 09:57 AM
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We toured the Hotel Vitale after dinner at Boulevard and loved this place, we have decided that this is where we would love to stay when we're back in the area again. ***kim***
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Aug 16th, 2008, 03:12 PM
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As a side note...there is a farmer's market at the Ferry Building on Tuesday 10 am to 2 pm as well as on Saturday. Great fun either day.
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