10 days on the West Coast
Replies: 19 - Last Post: Oct 4, 2012 6:13 AM Last Post By: 55vineyard
Sep 15, 2012 2:05 PM
10 days on the West CoastHi. I'm planning a 10 day trip to the West Coast at the very last minute, arriving 23rd September. I haven't even bought the tickets yet so locations are open. Learning some lessons from previous posts about specifying background and interests. We are a mid-thirties couple - interests food, cities/architecture, arts and culture and we would like to see a little wild nature too. We like to maintain at least the illusion of independent travel and are completely allergic to packaged touristic experiences - no Hollywood studios for us. Not sure whether we need to visit LA at all. We can drive if we need to. Hotel budget to average out to about $150-$200 a night.
Thanks for any advice. I would not have made this post so specific and demanding if I hadnt already seen the high quality of feedback on this forum.
Sep 15, 2012 2:15 PM
1"interests food, cities/architecture, arts and culture and we would like to see a little wild nature too."
Sounds like San Francisco to me.
Sep 15, 2012 2:55 PM
2You did good. : - )
Yep, SF would work although a car there is a liability. I actually thought your interests sounded a lot like Seattle. It's a great time of year to visit and has everything you're looking for.
Have a great trip.
Sep 15, 2012 3:45 PM
Sep 15, 2012 4:01 PM
4San Francisco side trips do need a car. Muir Woods (redwoods) along Pacific Ocean in Marin County has a shuttlebus. Golden Gate Transit buses from downtown San Francisco will take you over the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito and north through Marin and Sonoma Counties; however, you do need a car after you arrive. You would need a map of bus routes. Also side trips across the Bay to Berkeley -- you could take BART there. Side trips south along peninsula through Silicon Valley to Santa Cruz -- you need a car. There are many hiking trails in Marin County's Coastal Mountains, especially near Mt. Tamalpais. The Sierra Club leads free hikes there every weekend -- Google the Sierra Club San Francisco Bay Chapter monthly outings bulletin online.
Sep 15, 2012 5:21 PM
5If you want more urban pursuits, I'd aim for xSF, and rent a car to explore the surrounding areas.
If you want more nature, I'd pick xSeattle, again, with a car to explore the surrounding areas.
Your OP sounds more like the former.
So figure maybe this rough loop.
Sep 15, 2012 5:36 PM
Sep 15, 2012 6:43 PM
There are actually hiking trails within the City of San Francisco.
Are you interested in visiting wineries? You do not need to go to the Napa Valley--there are a number of first-class wine regions you could visit as a day trip from SF, as an overnight from SF, or on the way to some place like Monterey or Yosemite.
Sierra Club Outings you do not need to be a club member ot joi an outing.
Late Spetember-mid October is when SF actually has its best weather. Warmest and most likely to be fog free.
Sep 15, 2012 8:07 PM
8Food? Omigod- there's a dozen restaurants for any type of cuisine you can think of in San Francisco.
Architecture? Buildings dating back to the 1850's and every style since in San Francisco.
Arts and Culture? San Francisco!
Check out "The City's" website: OnlyInSanFrancisco.com
Sep 15, 2012 8:47 PM
Sep 15, 2012 8:57 PM
10One reason might be that September is "Architecture in the City" month for San Francisco. There are
outstanding walking tours up through September 30 along with other events. They're listed on the website:
Sep 16, 2012 5:41 AM
11@bzookaj - thanks for the map, the attractions on this route are the coast south of San Francisco (inc Big Sur), Yosemite and Napa ? The best overnight stopping points would be where ? I assume that we should spend two nights in Yosemite to be able to do a proper hike.
I am assuming we should spend 4 or 5 nights in SF and the rest on this route ?
@nutraxfornerves - which wineries do you recommend on the way to Yosemite ? I presume that wineries require an overnight stay onsite. I don't want to spit the wine out ;) and obviously I will be driving.
Thanks to all for responses so far :)
Sep 16, 2012 6:25 AM
Try to allow time to get to the higher elevations, like xTuolumne Meadows.
FTR, I never spit (you don't spit at home with your meal, so why do it when you taste?).
Sep 16, 2012 7:16 AM
13Nice route although there are some other nice wine areas, such as the Edna Valley area near SLO, or inland from Cambria (which I prefer over SLO) are the Paso Robles area wineries, both would likely be less expensive (Napa tastings start at about $15). Also you do not need to sample every single wine, personally I usually skip all or most of the whites and head straight to the reds (my favorite).
Sep 16, 2012 9:06 AM
It takes about 4-5 hours to drive from SF to Yosemite. There are a couple of wine regions you could visit on the way, and make a day of it.
Livermore Valley. The is really one of the lesser known regions. Most of the wineries are relatively small and it would be a chance to try wines tht you can't get outside of California. Wente is one of the larger ones--but is also one of the oldest wineries in California, and certainly the oldest one that is still owned by the founding family, as opposed to some conglomerate. They have a good restaurant if you want lunch in the area. I'd look at the map, and pick three or four places that make a sensible route for you. I always think some of the fun of wine tasting is stumbling across places you've never heard of that turn out to produce great wine.
There are quite a few wineries in the Sierra Nevada foothills on the way to Yosemite. Amador County is known for Zinfandel, but they also produce other varieties. If you absolutely insist on staying overnight, there are a number of B&Bs in the area (in the American sense of luxurious, and romantic). There is also a wonder hotel in Amador City, the Imperial Hotel. Built in 1879, 6 rooms, funky bar, good restaurant.
Calaveras County wineries are a bit further south.
The wineries in Amador & Calaveras counties are somewhat scattered, but you'd also be driving through a whole lot of California Gold Rush history. Columbia State Park has nothing to do with wine, but is worth a stop. It is a restored Gold Rush era town. Not tacky tourist, but living history with costumed interpreters.
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