Two days in San Jose

May 16th, 2007, 02:14 AM
  #21  
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Curmudgeon-

Thank you for the mountain winery suggestion. I will look into it. A concert would be fun.

Right now it looks as though one day will be spent going up to Sonoma to meet our friend, visit a winery , then drive back towards Berkely for dinner at Chez Panisse.

The other free day will more than likely be to Santa Cruz for the steam engine ride, to see the Redwoods. Perhaps if time allows, into San Franciso for a few hours late afternoon. Does this sound doable?

Also- any ideas on where to meet in Healdsburg for lunch?

Thank you again for all you help.
Ralstonlan is offline  
May 16th, 2007, 06:42 AM
  #22  
 
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I'm with curmudgeon on this one.

There's also the Egyptian Museum. That and the Winchester House are the two "attractions" in San Jose to avoid.

What may be more intersting is the Tech Museum. Better to spend your money there.

Depending on how often you come to the Bay Area, I'd suggest that San Francisco would be a prime destination, so much more to do and see there. If I had a free day in the Bay Area, I'd spend it in San Francisco in a heartbeat. The Greater San Jose area is a bedroom community and has little to offer in the tourist area.
easytraveler is offline  
May 16th, 2007, 06:58 AM
  #23  
 
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I would also recommend the Tech Musuem, and the San Jose Art Musuem which is right next door to the Fairmont. My children liked both as young to mid teens.
trippinkpj is offline  
May 16th, 2007, 07:02 AM
  #24  
lvk
 
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The tag-along would also like to thank everyone for their input. Great restaurant list, JCorrea.

One more question: If we wanted to go into SF for a day or evening, is there a good "park & ride" commuter rail option from downtown SJ? I would really rather not take a car into San Francisco.

Thanks again.
lvk is offline  
May 16th, 2007, 08:19 AM
  #25  
 
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To answer your question, it is not really feasible to do the Roaring Camp Railroads and San Francisco in the same day. Either do the railroads, Santa Cruz and a winery or two OR San Francisco.
MonicaRichards is offline  
May 16th, 2007, 08:37 AM
  #26  
 
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I agree - Roaring Camp and SF are not really feasable in 1 day - doable, but it would involve a lot of running around. The distances aren't far, but the time it takes to drive them is longer than you would think - traffic, the mountains, etc. really add to drive times.

If you only have 1 free day, I would head to Santa Cruz or SF, depending on what you want to do. You can't go wrong with either, really - both are good.

As far as transportation into SF, you've got 2 choices: Caltrain and Bart.

Caltrain is a heavy rail line that goes from Gilroy to SF. You can catch it in San Jose at the Diridon Station. I think it is about a 3/4 mile walk from the Fairmont - or you could take the lightrail a few stations. The Caltrain station in SF is at 4th and King. There is a MUNI (lightrail) line that goes right by there and you can buy MUNI tickets at the Caltrain station. It is really easy.

Bart in another rail line (above ground in some areas, subway in others) that serves SF and the east bay. Although it doesn't come down to SJ, you can either drive to a Bart station or transfer to Bart from Caltrain at Millbrae (double check the web site to make sure). Bart goes under Market St in SF, which is right downtown.
J_Correa is offline  
May 16th, 2007, 09:15 AM
  #27  
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Thanks again Monica-
I thought that would be pushing it.

I think we will do the railroad and Santa Cruz and hope to get into SF for an afternoon on another day, if time allows.
You also mentioned the Russian River wineries. Any favorites? We will more than likely be going towards Healdsburg for a day to visit with a friend.
Ralstonlan is offline  
May 16th, 2007, 01:15 PM
  #28  
 
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I would not recommend the train in Santa Cruz.. It's kind of boring... the kids would probably like it though.

A great winery to visit is Bonny Doon Winery. It is very close to Santa Cruz... well worth the visit.

https://www.bonnydoonvineyard.com

As far as restaurants in S.F. go, a friend of mine and his family go to Betelnut every time they're in SF. It's one of my favorite restaurants as well and is fairly moderately priced for good SF cuisine.

http://www.betelnutrestaurant.com/cuisine.html

Our favorite place to eat is in the Mission at : Límon

http://www.limon-sf.com/

Great peruvian cuisine!!! Amazing ceviche and the best homeade sangria in SF.

For breakfast you can't miss Mama's in North Beach. It's right on the corner of the cute North Beach park. There is somewhat aof a wait usually, but trust me, it's worth every second.

For more info on Santa Cruz visit:

http://www.bohova.com/santa_cruz_intro_eng.htm
WaresWaldo is offline  
May 16th, 2007, 02:07 PM
  #29  
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Thanks WaresWaldo-

I'll look into the restaurant. The Peruvian one peaks my interest!
Ralstonlan is offline  
May 16th, 2007, 02:39 PM
  #30  
 
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If you end up at Santana Row in San Jose, I like eating at Thea Mediteranian and Pizza Antica.
trippinkpj is offline  
May 20th, 2007, 07:01 PM
  #31  
 
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I would add PF Changs (Chinese)to the restaurant list, walking distance from the Fairmont and appealing to teens. Lettuce cups, potstickers and sea bass are our favorites. For a little more upscale, but still appealing to teens, we like the Paragon, also walking distance from the Fairmont. It's American food with a twist. I don't like the Winchester house and try to avoid going there with visitors, but I do like the Tech Museum, very unique, very Silicon Valley. We also like the Left Bank restaurant in Santana Row as well as Pizza Antiga. For very casual, they teens may like Wahoo Fish Tacos, also in Santana Row. They will like hanging around there during a free hour or two, in the morning or at night. There is a borders books and other shops there. It's approx 3 miles from the Fairmont, I would guess.
ellenbw is offline  
May 21st, 2007, 08:33 AM
  #32  
 
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Although we also think their tour prices are a bit steep(Winchester mystery house) it's still very interesting to do.It's actually a part of the American hystory and not a freak show like you find in abondance in Gatlinburg or Vegas.Paul
tovarich is offline  
May 21st, 2007, 12:28 PM
  #33  
 
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I think the history of the Winchester Mystery house is really interesting too. I've been there a bunch of times and enjoyed each visit except the flashlight tour - there were just too many people wandering around with flashlights to make it the least bit scary - LOL. We went there for the first time when I was maybe 10 or 11, and the ghost stories really scared me. I was always eager to believe in the supernatural anyway, so that probably had a lot to do with it, but I was terrified to be awake between midnight and 2 am, since that is when Mrs. Winchester believed the ghosts wandered around - LOL.

For Santana Row, I second (third? fourth?) the recommendation for Thea. I like Left Bank a lot too, but kids may not be so much into it. Same with Straits Cafe - really tastey food, not sure if it would go over well with kids.
J_Correa is offline  
May 23rd, 2007, 09:48 PM
  #34  
 
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The greatest Mystery is why people pay $23 to walk through an empty House.

It's a curious fact that both Peggy Sue's and Sonoma Chicken Coop were founded by Jeff Starbeck.

If you take the ferry to Sausalito, be very aware of the departure gates in SF and, of course, the schedule. The departure gates are paired and are immediately adjacent to one another... occasionally causing people to lineup in the incorrect queue.

A hike among the redwoods in Big Basin State Park (Hwy 236 and Hwy 35) is possible on the same trip to either Thomas Fogarty and other wineries on Hwy 35 --OR-- the Mtn Winery for a concert on Hwy 9 (bisects Hwy 35). All of this is in the mountainous region that separates the San Jose valley from the Pacific Ocean.

You could pair the trip to Alcatraz with a sunset cruise in San Francisco Bay and beneath the GG Bridge. A short walk after to Ghirardelli for coffee & chocolate?
Armani_Rugpilot is offline  
May 24th, 2007, 03:12 PM
  #35  
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Thanks to all for all the wonderful suggestions/opinions.
ellennw-
PF Changs is on the list!
The Tech Museum would be right up my 13 yr. old's alley. Great suggestion.

tovarich-
Appreiciate the honest opinion of Winchester House, I'm beginning to think my son may not be all that enthused.

JCorrea-
Straits sounds like a good idea. My son loves and appreciates (thank god!) good food and would more than likely enjoy.

Armani-

Love the sunset cruise combined with Alcatraz idea. I just hope we can fit it all in.

I just found out that my son will be competing on Friday, the 13th, (oh, jeez), and Saturday the 14th, and his friends will be competeing on Thursday, which will leave us with only two free days. I still need to decide my priorities!

If we are able to meet up with our friend from Fort Bragg, it looks like lunch somewhere(?) in Sonoma, and then hopefully dinner at Chez Panisse in Berkeley.

Second free day, either Redwoods and Sant Cruz, or day in SF, visiting Alcatraz.

Opinions are appreciated!





Ralstonlan is offline  
May 24th, 2007, 09:59 PM
  #36  
 
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Ralstonian-

Regarding the Winchester Mystery House, six of us went there and only one really liked it. I would rather go to a movie or check out a local park, if I had a few hours off.

Regarding your day trip, given that you're doing one free day outside the city, I would make your other free day more urban. I went a couple of times growing up, have been several places around the world since, and went back with my husband last summer. And guess what? I realized all over again what a great city it is.

A good friend took her teen boys to Alcatraz and they loved it. (There is a youth novel about Alcatraz too, if I remember the name I'll repost.)

Near where you take the boat to Alcatraz, the street performers on Fisherman's Wharf are interesting, even if they're very touristy. The Wharf has a lot of energy. Everyone loves taking a cable car. Chinatown is fascinating, both to browse and eat.

You also can rent bikes and go across the Golden Gate bridge. You could probably fit Alcatraz and the biking but not everything I listed in one day.




5alive is offline  
May 25th, 2007, 02:26 AM
  #37  
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Thanks 5alive-

Given the little amount of free time we have, Winchester House is off the list. Most be seem to agree it is not worth the time.

I agree, a day in SF is the way to go.
Hopefully, we will be able to get away one afternoon to see the Redwoods in addition to our day in Sonoma.
Ralstonlan is offline  
Jun 4th, 2007, 10:57 AM
  #38  
 
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Ralsonlan -- I just returned from Healdsburg and it is a cute town, close to the 101. So it might be a good place to meet your friends, although the drive from SJC could be long if you go at the wrong time of the day.

If you and your friends like beer, I would recommend the Bear Republic Brewery and Restaurant. The food is fine, but the beer is exceptional --has won many awards all over the country.

There are also lots of nice shops and other restaurants there, but we only ate at Beer Republic.

Have fun!
scorrell is offline  
Jun 4th, 2007, 03:24 PM
  #39  
 
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Scorrell - Thanks for the recommendation for the Bear Republic Brewery I don't know much about the north bay, but that will soon change - my husband's sister has gotten a job at a winery in Healdsburg, so I suspect we will go up that way with some regularity now. Darn it all My husband is slowly converting to the religion of wine, but his true love will always be beer. So, having a lead on an exceptional place to get some local brew is quite theraputic.
J_Correa is offline  
Jun 4th, 2007, 04:28 PM
  #40  
 
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Better make your reservations for Chez Panisse now: 510-548-5525.
nancy1652 is offline  

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