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Need Help: San Fran / Napa / Carmel Itinerary

Young Pro

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Guys,
I'm planning a Nor Cal trip for next April and would appreciate some insights. The focus of the trip will be food, wine and sightseeing.

Here's what I know so far:
- we'll be arriving late on a Friday night (prob in San Fran) and leaving the following Sunday (8 full days) again from San Fran
- would like to spend 4 nights in San Fran (either Friday - Monday or Friday/Saturday and the following Friday Saturday). The reason for this is I was planning to take advantage of Jetsetter's offer for 2 nights at a Kimpton (Monaco or Palomar) for $295 tax in. Would def like to get opinions on timing and which of the hotels you prefer
- was planning on spending 3 nights in Napa. Considering either spending all 3 at Bardessono (another Jetsetter sale...) or 2 there and 1 night in Healdsburg (prob with dinner at Cyrus)
- thinking on 1-2 nights in Carmel, and definitely open to any suggestions here (hotels, wineries, restaurants, attractions...)

Would appreciate any advice you guys can provide, especially around timing and sequencing (when to do what). I've read through a lot of the threads on restaurants and wineries, but an recent suggestions on these fronts couldn't hurt!

Thanks everyone.
 

Manton

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Carmel is probably not worth two nights unless you have a car and go into Monterey.

The best restaurant in that area by far is Marinus, at a lodge in Carmel Valley. The best restaurant in the town itself probably Aubergine. Fandango in Pacific Grove is also good.

Stop in Santa Cruz!
 

Young Pro

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How about this:
- Friday night : arrive in San Fran, stay at the Monaco (?)
- Saturday: take in a Giants game (I'm a casual baseball fan, but am told it's the nicest park in the country). Maybe go over to the Ferry building (Slanted Door or Hog Island)
- Sunday morning: drive to Yountville
- Sunday/Monday/Tuesday: take in some wineries (Hess, Schafer, Phelps. Del Dotto, Arroyo, Anderson's Conn Valley, Charbay (for spirits) and others are on my list, but I'll keep it to 2-3 / day max). Since the trip is largely about food, TFL, Bouchon Bakery, Redd, Bottega, Mustard's etc are all possibilties
- Wednesday: drive up to Healdsburg, take in a winery or two (suggestions?) then have dinner at Cyrus and stay in Healdsburg.
- Thursday: maybe take in one more winery, then drive down to Carmel and spend the night
- Friday: at some point, drive back to San Fran
- Saturday: all day to explore San Fran
- Sunday: breakfast/brunch before heading to the airport.

would you guys do the order or distribution of days any differently?
 

kwilkinson

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Ridge has a location in Healdsburg, which is a pretty awesome place. It's a big name, but damn do they make good juice. Also in or around Healdsburg there are a ton of wineries. In the city square (the only real part of the "city" you can hang out in) there are quite a few, but none of them are stellar. If you go up Dry Creek Road you can taste some incredible wines at A. Rafanelli and Kokomo. I think Rafanelli is by appointment only, but it is something you should not miss. Ask for a tour of their aging room and wine caves. I don't know if they give them to the public but they are a great sight to see. Kokomo is a tasting room that is open. Good stuff there too. It's a very cool winery, the owners are usually working the tasting bar and they have dogs running around. All their barrels are in the back and if you are lucky they may let you taste out of a barrel.

Also, it would be a shame to be in Healdsburg and not make the 15 minute trip down to Sebastopol to see Merry Edwards Winery. Also by appointment only, but it was my favorite tasting I ever did when I lived out there, and I tasted at most of the wineries in the area.

Another good option would be to drive up to Geyserville (literally like 4 minutes past healdsburg) and have lunch either Wednesday or Thursday at Diavola Pizzeria. They do all their own in-house charcuterie and it's very well done. Prices are good and the food is wonderful.
 

coolpapa

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Originally Posted by kwilkinson
Ridge has a location in Healdsburg, which is a pretty awesome place.

Is this a new facility? I wasn't aware they had anything other than the Lytton Springs winery in Sonoma County.
 

kwilkinson

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Originally Posted by coolpapaboze
Is this a new facility? I wasn't aware they had anything other than the Lytton Springs winery in Sonoma County.
The Lytton Springs winery location is in Healdsburg. Well technically it's not IN Healdsburg but it has a Healdsburg address. It's named after the road it is on. It's a cool spot, though. You can see their gnarly-ass old-vine zin vines from the tasting room.
 

coolpapa

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Originally Posted by kwilkinson
The Lytton Springs winery location is in Healdsburg. Well technically it's not IN Healdsburg but it has a Healdsburg address. It's named after the road it is on. It's a cool spot, though. You can see their gnarly-ass old-vine zin vines from the tasting room.

Ah, okay, from your original post it sounded like they opened a tasting room in the town of Healdsburg. I know a couple of wineries have tasting rooms on/off the square so I wouldn't have been surprised if Ridge opened a tasting room there. I've been to the Lytton Springs facility many times. The new winery there is an incredible building and a dramatic improvement over the old barn type structure that was there before. The current tasting room staff is also an improvement over the crotchety old cat owning woman who ruined that tasting room for years with her surly presence.
 

dragon8

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Originally Posted by kwilkinson
Dinner at Cyrus should be an absolute, not a probably.

+1. Since your in the neighborhood try French laundry also.
 

Piobaire

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Originally Posted by kwilkinson
The Lytton Springs winery location is in Healdsburg. Well technically it's not IN Healdsburg but it has a Healdsburg address. It's named after the road it is on. It's a cool spot, though. You can see their gnarly-ass old-vine zin vines from the tasting room.

This was taken just off the parking lot there:



Stay at the Hotel Healdsburg. Go to Cyrus. Hit Ridge, Merry Edwards, Lynmar Estates. In the town proper, hit Rosenblum, Seghesio Family, J. Rochioli.
 

kwilkinson

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Originally Posted by Piobaire
This was taken just off the parking lot there:



Stay at the Hotel Healdsburg. Go to Cyrus. Hit Ridge, Merry Edwards, Lynmar Estates. In the town proper, hit Rosenblum, Seghesio Family, J. Rochioli.

Beautiful pic. And from just down the road on Dry Creek:

 

Gus

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I would suggest making a reservation for a tour at Schramsberg if you like champagne. They limit it to only 90 people per day in groups of 8. The tour of the caves is only about 20 minutes but you then sit in a private tasting room for about 30-45 minutes with your guide while they let you sample a lot of different champagnes. They are only open for tours on Sat and Sun so book early to get your preferred time. Then drive back to Bouchon for a late lunch
 

coolpapa

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Cantinetta Luca in Carmel is good and has a good selection of Italian wines on their list. I ate there several times this summer and I've never had a bad meal there. The group that owns Luca also owns Cantinetta Piero in Yountville, which is also very good (and attached to the hotel Luca). If wine is your thing, go to Passion Fish in Pacific Grove. They have a fantastic wine list and most of the wines are priced around retail. The food is also very good.
 

Young Pro

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Originally Posted by Manton
Carmel is probably not worth two nights unless you have a car and go into Monterey.

The best restaurant in that area by far is Marinus, at a lodge in Carmel Valley. The best restaurant in the town itself probably Aubergine. Fandango in Pacific Grove is also good.

Stop in Santa Cruz!


Marinus is in the Bernadus Lodge. Anyone have any experience there? Looks pretty cool and Jetsetter has a sale on it starting next week.
 

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