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What town or towns would you suggest in the Napa/Sonoma/Russian River area?

What town or towns would you suggest in the Napa/Sonoma/Russian River area?

Old Aug 16th, 2008, 10:47 AM
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What town or towns would you suggest in the Napa/Sonoma/Russian River area?

I'll be out there with my wife, first time, for 5 days in October - a Monday thru Friday. My son's at school in St. Helena, but he'll be traveling with us during the weekend before, so it's not absolutely necessary for us to stay in St. Helena or Calistoga. But we'd like to see him at least a few evenings during the week.

What towns do you recommend? Is it best to stay in one place, and take day trips to the different areas, or move around to two or three different places during the week? I've seen some interesting homes/apartments on homeaway.com - the ones that interest me the most are in Napa, and claim to be downtown or within walking distance.
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Old Aug 16th, 2008, 12:37 PM
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We stayed with friends in Santa Rosa last October. Loved the town. Wonderful restaurants, great shopping.

You can check Fodors and Tripadvisor for hotels or b&bs.
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Old Aug 16th, 2008, 12:50 PM
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I just stayed in Healdsburg in May and I loved there. Great restaurants and tasting rooms right on the Square. Check out the Hotel Healdsburg.
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Old Aug 16th, 2008, 01:17 PM
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Healdsburg is a great central point for Russian River Valley, Dry Creek, Alexendar Valley wine tasting. The Grape Leaf Inn is a nice B&B. A bit out of town is the Farmhouse Inn (a great restaurant too).
If you want to be a bit closer to St. Helena, consider the town of Sonoma. Ramekins B& B is also very nice there, just a short walk from the square. General's Daughter is a very nice restaurant.
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Old Aug 16th, 2008, 04:36 PM
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Don't miss Healdsburg, we loved Cyrus for dinner, the Farmhouse Inn in nearby Forestiville is also an excellent choice for a meal in the area. For some good Pinot Noir, check out Gary Farrell. We would like to stay at the Honor Mansion next visit to the area in the Spring. Cheers! ***kim***
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Old Aug 16th, 2008, 09:03 PM
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Thanks, everyone, Healdsburg certainly sounds very nice, and it seems worth at least a night or two.
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Old Aug 17th, 2008, 06:16 AM
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I don't know what your budget is for a hotel or B&B but a nice alternative is staying in a vacation rental. Esp. if you are staying more than an overnight. Check out www.sonomacountyvacations.com and see what might be available in the area you chose. The drive from Healdsburg, over the hill via Mark West Springs to St. Helena takes about 30 minutes.
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Old Aug 17th, 2008, 09:19 AM
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If I were going to spend a few nights in Napa County, then a few nights in Sonoma County (thinking Healdsburg), would Napa be the best location for Napa County, or would some other town, like Calistoga or St. Helena be nicer? From what I've seen,it looks as though there are more homes/apartments available for rent in Napa than in the other towns.
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Old Aug 17th, 2008, 09:48 AM
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Downtown Napa rentals are probably in neighborhoods and I believe many of the places to stay are in more residential areas..unless you are doing a vacation rental on the Napa River. Downtown does not have the ambiance of "upvalley". If I did not live in Napa I would choose upvalley in the towns you mentioned for the Napa Valley experience. That said, being downtown is great for walking to eat in the evenings (Taylor's Refresher,Oxbow MArket, Cuvee, Pizza Azurro, Coles, Ubuntu) and taking part in summer events like the River Festival. Hope you have a wonderful visit!
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Old Aug 17th, 2008, 03:15 PM
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Thanks applejacks - but could you tell me one thing - what does "upvalley" mean? Is it a part of town, or does it refer to the towns that are in the northern part of Napa Valley, like Calistoga, St. Helena, etc?
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Old Aug 17th, 2008, 04:46 PM
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FYI its only about 30 minutes from Healdsburg to St. Helena going over Mark West Springs Rd. So I don't see why one needs to keep moving to different hotels.
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Old Aug 17th, 2008, 05:10 PM
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Upvalley means north, that is, Calistoga. I think your choice of where to stay has a lot to do with budget. If money is not an issue, stay in a BandB in a Victorian house or in a new construction rather than a funky old house.. In the Napa Valley, I'd rather stay in St. Helena than anywhere, most charming downtown, most central and tons of restaurants in walking distance plus a goumet grocery for picnics in the vineyards, Dean and DeLucca. Another upscale choice would be Yountville, with many new luxury accomodations and many restaurants (our favorite is Bistro Jeanty). Do not stay in a motel in downtown Napa, very funky, but OK to stay in a chain off Hwy 128.
As for Sonoma County, I most recommend Sonoma because it has history: the home of General Vallejo, the old Spanish mission and barracks, plus many many good restaurants (again, within walking distance of the Plaza) and hotels in every price range. I do not recommend Santa Rosa (not as charming, even if it where my office is) nor Healdsburg (too tourist oriented, no "feeling" of authenticity. And Cyrus, despite its Michelin rating, is too formal and cold and no fun at all. There are other excellent restaurants in Healdsburg which have superb kitchens as well as friendly staff.
If you are coming in October, even if is during the week, be sure you have reservations. Its the hottest time of year with the clearest days; you will love it!!
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Old Aug 17th, 2008, 05:17 PM
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Both Sonoma and Healdsburg are nice. We have stayed at Honor Mansion in Healdsburg and it is our absolutely B & B we've ever stayed at. It can be expensive....but you definitely get pampered. Windrose Romantic Cottages are a less expensive b & b that I also like, but it is near Windsor which is getting further from Napa.

I love the hamburgers at A Girl and A Fig in Sonoma. I'd drive there just to enjoy the hamburger for lunch. Zin in Healdsburg is a fantastic restaurant as well.

The towns of Napa are close together and all of them have many great places to stay and dine. The Napa Valley is only 30 miles long. In Napa I like to eat at Bistro Don Giovanni and at Bouchon in Yountville.

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Old Aug 18th, 2008, 04:43 AM
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great suggestions, thanks everyone
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Old Aug 18th, 2008, 05:41 AM
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I love Healdsburg. You can spend an entire day at the tasting rooms, shops and restaurants.I didn't care for the location of Honor Mansion...Grape Leaf was much more convenient as was the Camellia Inn, at least for walking to town. It may be "tourist oriented" but what isn't out there? Good grief, St. Helena is usually a bumper to bumper experience and you can hear traffic noise almost everywhere. Calistoga is a bit better- I really liked the Foothill House. Wonderful rooms and host. Anyway, since you will be there during the week, have you looked at www.luxurylink.com for good deals? I've booked several CA stays that way and saved a bundle on fabulous places!
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Old Aug 18th, 2008, 08:26 PM
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Take a look at the historic and lovely town of Sonoma, built around an 11-acre plaza during the Mexican occupation days of the early 1800's.

It has some outstanding restaurants within walking distance of the Plaza and several hotels as well, and cottages and bed and breakfast....here is a link to some of them

http://www.sonoma.com/lodging/sonoma_valley.html
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Old Aug 19th, 2008, 06:46 AM
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We spent part of our honeymoon in Sebastopol (near Healdsburg) and loved every minute of it. We stayed in a guest house on a vineyard, and enjoyed driving from there to different areas - Healdsburg being our favorite.
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Old Aug 20th, 2008, 09:28 AM
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LLindaC,

When booking with Luxury Link, have you purchased travel insurance? If so, do you have any suggestions?

Thanks
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Old Aug 20th, 2008, 01:46 PM
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Hmmm, interesting phrase "Mexican occupation days". I thought it *was* Mexico in the early 1800s.
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Old Aug 20th, 2008, 02:37 PM
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If you are up for exploring, and not necessarily relaxing, you could try a few different cities to stay in.

You could drive up the coast to Mendocino, spend the night there, and come back wine tasting through the Anderson Valley, checking out the unusual Boonville (where they speak their own language, Boontling).

You could check out Point Reyes, Bodega Bay, anywhere along the Sonoma Coast. There are some gorgeous inns.

I love the Russian River towns, and there are excellent wineries and restaurants along the road to the beach.

Then, there is the unusual Safari West. They are simply beautiful hand built luxury tent cabins. http://www.safariwest.com/

I also like staying in Sonoma Square, and visiting the mission and cheese shop, and all the shops and restaurants around the square.

There is Glen Ellen, and Jack London's Wolf House. You can't miss that!

Calistoga is a great walkable town, very quaint and quirky. You may even want to pay to see the geyser outside of town. They have a funky souvenir shop there. And I also like the Petrified Forest, and the Old Bale Mill. http://www.spoom.org/locator/States-...1BalesMill.htm

I really enjoy Luther Burbank House & Garden in Santa Rosa.

Occidental, Sebastopol, Jenner. There are so many great places to stop and explore!
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