Two days in San Jose

May 15th, 2007, 02:19 AM
  #1  
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Two days in San Jose

We will be in San Jose for six days in July (Junior Olympics), but will only have two days of free time.

I'm trying to narrow down how to maximize our time.

Wish list is:
1. Redwoods, possibly Muir Woods and/or Roaring Camp steam engine from Santa Cruz.

2.Sonoma, visit possibly 2 wineries (one being Korbell), possibly Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve?
Would like to find a place to meet a friend who lives in Fort Bragg, somewhere halfway between San Jose and Fort Bragg

3.San Francisco and Alcatraz

4. Dinner at Chez Panisse

Not necessarily in that order of priorities.

Any suggestions on possible itinerary? We will be staying in San Jose the entire time.

Thank you for any help.
Ralstonlan is offline  
May 15th, 2007, 04:23 AM
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for wineries and redwoods think closer to San Jose. Big Basin state park has better redwoods than Muir Woods and is right outside San Jose. And there are some really fine wineries in Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties. This site is just a sample http://www.explorer1.com/santacruz/wineries.htm

But if your main purpose is to meet half way from Ft Brag - then possibly Healdsburg
janisj is online now  
May 15th, 2007, 04:46 AM
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Thanks janisj,

I'll look into Healdsburg, as our main reason for going that far north would be to visit our friend.
Ralstonlan is offline  
May 15th, 2007, 07:49 AM
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Healdsburg is a great midway point, but it's pretty far to be driving back and forth in one day from San Jose.

Since you have two free days, would it be possible for you to spend one night in/around Healdsburg?

If this is possible, then I'd suggest you drive up to Muir Woods the first day and spend the morning there. Then get to Healdsburg to meet with your friend. Overnight there. Visit the Sonoma Wineries the next day. Return to San Jose via Berkeley and have dinner at Chez Panisse.

Much easier trip and much more enjoyable.

Welcome to the Bay Area!
easytraveler is offline  
May 15th, 2007, 10:41 AM
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Hi Ralstonlan,

We'll be there for Jr. Olympics then too. I was hoping this thread would be about restaurant recommendations in San Jose. I'll tag along on your thread, if you don't mind.

Any suggestions for families with teens in the SJ area? We're staying downtown at the Fairmont.

Hoping our trippin' and JCorrea will be along soon.
lvk is offline  
May 15th, 2007, 11:06 AM
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easytraveler-
Thanks so much for your suggestions. Unfortunately, our two free days are not consecutive. We still may consider Healdsburg as a day trip, albeit a long day.

Ivk-

Of course I don't mind if you "tag-along". We are also staying at the Fairmont. Perhaps our kids will compete against each other!
I haven't really looked into restaurants at this point, but I have come across the Spinnaker in Sausalito that looks like a great evening. (although over a one hour drive). If we are able to spend a day in San Francisco, we may try to make it there for dinner. www.thespinnaker.com
Ralstonlan is offline  
May 15th, 2007, 11:08 AM
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Here I am

Since you will be staying at the Fairmont right in downtown, you will be able to walk to a lot of restaurants, so that will make it easy.

Most restaurants around here aren't particularly upscale, so you will do well with teens.

For Italian food, I like Bella Mia and Il Forniao. Bella Mia is in a cool old building and the walls are decorated with photographs of old San Jose, which is cool. I think they have patio dining too. Il Fornaio is on the bottom floor of the Hotel St. Clare, which is also historic.

If you want burgers, Peggy Sue's is great - there are 2 and I like the on at San Pedro Square better. The place has all sorts of 50s memorabilia, different burgers and sandwiches you can get, shakes, and all of that. There is also a Johnny Rockets right there too.

A new place called Askew, which I have not tried, but looks fun - everything is served on skewers. I have heard it is good.

There is a place called the Sonoma Chicken Coop that we really like - they have nice outdoor seating in an enclosed patio that is great on warm evenings. You order at the counter and pick up your order yourself, really casual place, and good food. Sort of updated American comfort food.

For a restaurant/pub, Gordon Biersch is a good bet - it is a chain, but they started here. Again, nice outdoor seating. The Teid House is good too. In both places, the atmosphere is lively and fun - and the teens will be welcome since they are both primarily restaurants.

A rather new place that I recently tried is Capers Loft - they have kind of a cool roof-top patio, also good for warm evenings. Not much of a view because of the patio walls, but nice just the same.

E&O Trading Co. is a south-asian place - I haven't tried it yet, so I can't give a recommendation, but it is on my list - just haven't gotten to it yet.

If you like Thai, the House of Siam is very good.

For a taqueria, there is a little place on Santa Clara between San Pedro and Market called La Victoria, which is great.

So that will give you a start I am sure trippin will have some more recommendations.
J_Correa is offline  
May 15th, 2007, 11:14 AM
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Wow! Thanks so much JCorrea. I'll jot down all of your suggestions.

Ralstonlan is offline  
May 15th, 2007, 11:46 AM
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Oh, don't forget 71 St. Peter. Their tasting menu is just soooo good. http://www.71saintpeter.com/tasting_menu.asp I also think Healdsburg as a day trip is fine, we used to go to the Russian River wineries for the day and lived to tell the tale.
MonicaRichards is offline  
May 15th, 2007, 12:05 PM
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I haven't been to 71 St Peter, but I have heard good things about it.

It is on San Pedro Street - on a block called San Pedro Square where lots of things are. The Tied House, Sonoma Chicken Coop, Peggy Sues, and several others are on that same block.
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May 15th, 2007, 12:51 PM
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Monica-

Thank you. The tastng menu at 71 Peterlooks great.

Would you mind telling me which of the Russian River wineries you favored the most? Is there one that sticks out in your mind that may make for a good meeting place for lunch?
Ralstonlan is offline  
May 15th, 2007, 01:00 PM
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J_C, you've covered all my fave places! I can't think of any others I've been to recently, but I'll keep thinking. ;-)
trippinkpj is offline  
May 15th, 2007, 01:41 PM
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I would put the Winchester Mystery House somewhere near the top of my two day wish list even tho we have been there several times.

http://www.winchestermysteryhouse.com/
RedRock is offline  
May 15th, 2007, 02:34 PM
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I enjoy the Mystery House too, but I can't stomach the tour fee. It is now $23/person. Does that strike any one else as too high? I know that the maintenance on a house like that is expensive, but the tour price just seems out of line.
J_Correa is offline  
May 15th, 2007, 02:43 PM
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I do not at all mean to be disrespectful of anyone else's opinion - or their idea of fun - but I would not go to the mystery house if they were giving away hundred dollar bills, let alone pay to go there. Just one person's opinion.

I don't think I would concentrate both of your days on driving into San Francisco - or beyond. That's a lot of wasted time.

For wineries you can stay closer to San Jose. Ridge is the best wine around, and there are many others.

You could do the Roaring Camp train ride - there is also a shorter circle ride that takes less time - and see wineries and Redwoods in the same trip.
cabovacation is offline  
May 15th, 2007, 02:54 PM
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J_Correa-- $23 is a little high. I think the first time I was there back in the 80's it was something like $11-12. Still at the current price and gas on average in the Bay Area at $3.50ish is would be a place close to home to visit.
RedRock is offline  
May 15th, 2007, 04:41 PM
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Red Rock- Thank you for the Mystery house suggestion. That would be a definite possibility if we have a free afternoon after competitions.

Cabovacation-

Thank you for your opinions. The reason we are thinking of traveling so far north is to spend some time with a dear friend that now lives in Fort Bragg. We thought a halfway point would work for both of us, and be able to visit a winery or two at the same time.
Ralstonlan is offline  
May 15th, 2007, 06:37 PM
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Many people find the Mystery House to be a dud, though some do find it interesting. For myself, it's a "1" on the 1-10 scale (meaning that if people I'm with decide to go there, I'll actively work to find excuses not to go).

Roaring Camp is a good option, and combines well with the beach at Santa Cruz (either by train, or just continuing the drive there).

You might take a look at www.mountainwinery.com , to see the concert schedule. It's a great venue for concerts up in the mountains south of San Jose. If you found something you liked in the time you are there, and tickets are still available, I'd say go for it.
curmudgeon is offline  
May 15th, 2007, 06:45 PM
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The Mystery House is a 6 or 7 to me. But at todays prices, I'd need a 2 for 1 to go there (the current Entertainment Book has one).
trippinkpj is offline  
May 15th, 2007, 08:18 PM
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Well, to meet a friend...that's entirely worth the drive. Sonoma is the perfect destination for both of you. It is not a difficult drive, but there is late afternoon traffic.
cabovacation is offline  

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