Looking to schedule a trip to California & the wine country? Or just in the mood to daydream about a future trip? Well, either way I am here to help. Since I recently returned from the area, I wanted to share with you some helpful tips that I picked up along the way. When planning, keep the following ideas in mind:
- Research and Make Reservations. When we were in Napa Valley, we found some of the wineries needed reservations a few days in advance. In Sonoma County we found we could make reservations once we got there, and our hotel offered a few complimentary wine tastings in the area. In San Francisco we missed the tour of Alcatraz as we didn’t realize we needed to purchase tickets a few days in advance. Moral of the story – do your research and see prior to your trip if reservations are needed. And if you accidentally miss something, you can just add it to the itinerary for the next time.
- Pack Layers. The weather in California (i.e. Napa Valley, Sonoma County, and San Francisco) can change drastically throughout the day. We found even as we drove a few miles away the weather could change very quickly. In the morning throw on easy layers, such as a light jacket, a sweater, or a comfortable scarf, that you can remove as the day warms up.
- Bring a Car Charger. We drove quite a few places and used our phones for the map app. This can drain your battery very quickly. Pack a car charger if you plan to drive quite a few miles in the days you are there.
- Buy a Map. When we checked in our hotel, the concierge provided us with maps for the area. They came in handy throughout the week. We found that cell reception was lost as you traveled to and around the coast. Pick up a map once you get there to be prepared along the way.
- Purchase a Large Camera Card. Hi, my name is Ashley, and I take a lot pictures. This trip I took the most pictures I think I have ever taken on a vacation. Each vineyard. Each grape. Each leaf. Each sunset. I got them covered. Be prepared for a quite a photography opportunities as this area has so much to offer.
- Day 1: Arrived in San Francisco around 1:00 p.m. Stopped in Sausalito for a late lunch at The Seahorse. Drove to Windsor.
- Day 2: Attended morning mass. Headed to Healdsburg for the day. Ate lunch at the Healdsburg Bar & Grill and dessert at Moustache Baked Goods. Shopped around the city. Wine tasted in Healdsburg at Simi Winery. Drove through Dry Creek Road and the Russian River Valley.
- Day 3: Ate breakfast at Costeaux French Bakery in Healdsburg. Headed to the coast. Stopped at Martinelli Vineyards for photographs. Toured and tasted at Korbel Winery. Drove and walked through Armstrong Park viewing the redwoods. Drove to the coast. Ate supper in Bodega Bay at Spud’s.
- Day 4: Drove to Napa Valley. Toured and tasted at Schramsberg Winery. Ate lunch at Mustard’s Grill. Stopped at several wineries to photograph.
- Day 5: Drove to Napa Valley. Toured and tasted at Chateau Montelena. Ate lunch at Checkers Restaurant. Shopped in Calistoga. Stopped at Castello di Amorosa for photographs. Headed to Santa Rosa for the Kendall Jackson Winery food and wine pairing. Ate supper at Johnny Garlic’s.
- Day 6: Drove to Larkspur to catch a ferry. Took a mid-morning ferry ride into San Francisco. Ate lunch at Alioto’s on Fisherman’s Wharf and walked around the Pier. Took a Hop On Hop Off bus tour around the city.
- Day 7: Zip lined the redwoods in Occidental. Ate lunch at Howard Station Cafe. Stopped by Wild Flour Bread Bakery for dessert in Freestone. Drove to the coast.
- Day 8: Headed home.
Check out the links if you are interested in any of the places. I hoped you enjoyed my recap of the trip. Now, off to figure out what to write about next week. Enjoy your weekend everyone!