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Help with first day itinerary

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Boston...
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Help with first day itinerary

Hi. I am driving a circuitous route from SF to Sonoma town next Tuesday. I am leaving SF at around 10 or so (breakfast at Ella’s before crossing the bridge), driving up along the coastline, to the Russian River. Eventually, I will end up at El Dorado in Sonoma.

Question: assume you wanted to do some hiking in the Armstrong reserve. Where would you fit in Healdsburg and/or a couple "drive by" wine tastings? Before or after the park visit?

And, when would you do lunch? (I’m not sure what time I’ll get into the area, since I’m driving a scenic route.)

Also, would you go to dinner in this area (assuming we are too smelly from our walk :-) ) and drive late down to Sonoma?

Thanks for any ideas.

Boston...
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1. Re: Help with first day itinerary

Heh. Dinner in the area would occur if we are NOT too smelly. :-)

Mill Valley/Marin...
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2. Re: Help with first day itinerary

Hi Rantipole -

I love the circuitous route from SF to Sonoma that you are considering, but I think you are underestimating the time involved in the coastal route.

If you leave SF around 10 am, you will get to the coastline by driving from Highway 1 to the coast after you cross the Golden Gate Bridge. This part of the coast is worth checking out as you make your way up to the Russian River.

Muir Woods is on your way to the coast, and you can easily make a stop on your way. From Muir Woods you get to the coast by driving through the mountains and getting to Stinson Beach. The drive up the coast is worthwhile and you can check out the towns of Point Reyes Station (lots of organic foods, Cowgirl Creamery, etc,) and if you can, explore and hike at the Point Reyes National Seashore and enjoy the beaches there.

It will take you a couple of hours to get to the Russian River from the coast, without any stops at Muir Woods or Point Reyes.

Realistically, you will be lucky to get to the Armstrong Reserve by late in the afternoon if you enjoy any of the coastal sights. I don't think there will be time for Healdsburg and wine tastings if you take the leisurely beautiful drive up the coast.

If you drive up the coast, consider lunch in Point Reyes Station or at Nick's Cove in Marshall.

Driving along the Russian River on your way to Sonoma will also be enjoyable. If you have any energy left at that point, do a wine tasting stop in one of the Russian River wineries.

AnnMV

Napa
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3. Re: Help with first day itinerary

Agreed - that's a long drive - but beautiful. You may want to do Healdsburg as a day trip - lots of good wineries in Alexander Valley!

Boston...
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4. Re: Help with first day itinerary

Thanks, but you replied a little too late! I guess I should have mentioned I was leaving to SFO on the morning of the 12th. :-)

I rechecked google maps, and still got back a 2 hour 40 minute time to drive up the coast. But I figured out why Google, and I think Mapquest gave me a similar time. That coast road is technically a 50 MPH road. But good luck driving at 50 MPH!!!! with all the twists and turns you're lucky if you average 30. Add in some fog, forget it!

I finally gave up the ocean route at Tomales and just asked my GPS to give me the most direct route. So that day we did do the redwoods, then a brief look at Guerneville, then went directly to Sonoma town from there. Did one of the moderate hikes (2.2 miles, 400 feet elevation gain, though it felt more like 1000 feet). We ended up skipping lunch, because we had a HUGE late breakfast in SF. Tremendously enjoyed our dinner at El Dorado Kitchen.

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5. Re: Help with first day itinerary

Glad you enjoyed El Dorado Kitchen, it's a great place! :)

Santa Cruz...
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6. Re: Help with first day itinerary

I didn't see your original post, but I am very familiar with your routes, and I congratulate you on coming out the way you did.

It sounds as if you really enjoyed it.

GPS can be wonderful, can't it? (except when it isn't). We play around with ours trying to get us home from San Francisco on Hwy 280, the best route, and "she" keeps saying, every time we pass one of "her" exits...." make a U-turn at the first possible safe place". She is insisting that we take traffic-clogged ugly Hwy 101.

We used to laugh. Now we just turn the dumb dame off....what does she know? >grin<

Boston...
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7. Re: Help with first day itinerary

Yes, sometimes you have to turn off the GPS voice! I think the GPS is a great tool, but it has to be used IN ADDITION to a review of a real map (to make sure it is giving you the right destination) and of course local knowledge (the US 101 tip you mentioned, but I did not know about on the way to Sonoma :-( )

Santa Cruz...
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8. Re: Help with first day itinerary

Oh, I was speaking of Hwy 101 *South* of San Francisco....not north. Hwy 280 goes from San Francisco south to San Jose and is a beautiful 8 to 10 lane freeway which goes through the foothills of the coast range.

9. Re: Help with first day itinerary

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