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Intros, Questions & Suggestions > Vacation Planning...need help

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message 1: by Erin (new)

Erin | 47 comments Hi all,

My husband and I are planning a trip to San Francisco and Napa. I was wondering if anyone has been there/lives there and could recommend a nice, not too expensive place to stay in Napa. Thanks in advance!

message 2: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) Erin, I go to Napa ALL THE TIME. Do you want to stay at a hotel or a bed & breakfast? For the full Valley experience I suggest the B&Bs or small inns. Some recommendations:

The Pink Mansion B&B, Calistoga
(most comfortable bed ever, yummy breakfast)

Harvest Inn, St. Helena
(beautiful cottages, and they even allow pets)

Or for an actual hotel:
Napa Valley Marriott
(Amadeus spa is the best I've ever been to)

For more about Napa lodgings:

If you want recommendations on wineries to visit and restaurants to go to, let me know. I go over to Napa two or three times a quarter. My husband and I can set you up with some appointments at places that aren't generally open to the public or we can get you into some private tours. Our web site:

In San Francisco:

Sir Francis Drake
(Very good restaurant, Scalia Bistro, and the world famous Starlight Room. Cover charge is free for hotel guests)

I can give you recommendations on places to see & restaurants to visit in SF too.

message 3: by Beth (new)

Beth | 173 comments I went to San Francisco two summers ago, and we did a day trip to Napa. I think Chateau Montelena, in Calistoga, was my favorite winery. I would love to go back and go on some winery tours.

message 4: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) Beth, when you decide to, let me know! I can hook you up!

Montelena is very beautiful. I wonder if I can set up a reserve tasting? Hmm...

message 5: by Beth (new)

Beth | 173 comments Sounds great! The staff were so friendly there, and the grounds were so beautiful. We tried a Riesling there that was delicious, the first time I had ever tried one. We only got to go to a few wineries, as our time was limited. Stag's Leap was OK, but I found the staff to be a bit stuffy. I think we went to Cosentino next, which seemed kind of low-brow. We popped into Francis Ford Coppola's winery for a bit, can't remember the name of that place. Went to a great restaurant on the main drag in Napa. I think the wine train would be so much fun, would love to do that if we ever go back.
I think San Francisco is probably my favorite place I've ever visited. Just the whole vibe of the city, very laid-back, with beautiful scenery and amazing architecture. We spent quite a bit of each day we were there just walking around the city and looking at the buildings. Great bookstores, too! We went to City Lights, and then to Moe's and Green Apple Books in Berkeley. I could have browsed all day, if my husband had let me.

message 6: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) Niebaum-Coppola. We sometimes take people there to see the movie museum he's got upstairs, but the wines aren't that great and I hate what he's done to the beautiful old Inglenook grounds.

The wine train is good for seeing the countryside, but they serve crappy wine on it. Let me know and I'll arrange a much nicer day for you!

message 7: by Sarah (last edited Dec 27, 2007 10:37PM) (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) Erin, I forgot to mention the Garnett Creek Inn in Calistoga. We stayed in the Penrose room and it was lovely. It has a private entrance and a secluded patio. We were disappointed, however, that there wasn't a full breakfast served. When we go to a B&B we expect a gourmet breakfast. But they did have freshly baked pastries and the scones were wonderful.

And at the Pink Mansion we stayed in the Garden Room. We nicknamed the bed "the cloud" because it was the softest bed ever.

message 8: by whichwaydidshego, the sage of sass (new)

whichwaydidshego | 1996 comments Mod
It looks like you are well covered, Erin. However, if you do want more input, I've lived south of San Francisco for most of my life. It's a fantastic city both as a tourist and as a local. I could give you some fun ideas for unique things to do or places to visit there. Especially, I could tell you a great restaurant or two. One in particular in Chinatown comes to mind. You will most certainly only find locals and friends of locals there. It's been their for 100 years, is really affordable, has authentic & delicious cuisine, and is QUITE a unique experience.

I also visited Napa Valley again earlier in the year. So I have a few ideas for there as well. Let me know!

message 9: by Dottie (new)

Dottie (oxymoronid) | 698 comments Okay -- speaking of restaurants in SF -- try Massawa on Haight close to Asbury -- it used to simply have really big block letters across the top front which said East African Food and a door in the wall -- of course the looks may have changed but I keep asking folks if it's still there -- that's how good the food was. If you've never been and it's still there -- go, go, go and report back.

message 10: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) My favorite is A16 on Chestnut. It's pricey and you need a reservation but it's so worth it. And you MUST try the burrata. As my friend says, it's oral-gasmic

message 11: by Erin (new)

Erin | 47 comments I'd love more input...It's always good to have more info. Actually I am kind of an information junkie, so bring it on! Thanks everyone!

message 12: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) Erin, when are you going? What kind of wine do you like? What's your price range for restaurants? How long do you plan to stay? Are you planning to do a spa day?

message 13: by Erin (new)

Erin | 47 comments We are going to go the weekend of Easter (Mar 19-24). I never met a wine I didn't like :-) Price range for restaurants varies. We were planning to do one or two nice dinners ($20-30 entrees) but keep it simple for the majority of the trip. I would LOVE to do a spa day as well, although I am not sure we'll have the time. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!

message 14: by whichwaydidshego, the sage of sass (last edited Dec 31, 2007 10:24PM) (new)

whichwaydidshego | 1996 comments Mod
Erin, when in SF if you want to eat in Chinatown, then it can go under the affordable category!

I recommend St. Helena in Napa as a wonderful town to spend time/hang out in.

Also, this may not be up your alley, but you can rent bikes up there and ride all over. It's stunning and a lot of fun. You can even wine taste along the way! LOL I've done it a couple of times (well once I brought my own bike, but others rented). I ride a lot, and those were some of my all-time favorite rides for the beauty of it - and I've ridden in Hawaii!!

message 15: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) Erin., it's New Year's Eve and I've had a lot of the adult beverages tonight, but tomorrow when I'm sober I'll send you a message and we can talk about some private tours in Napa/St. Helena/Calistoga.

But in St. Helena, Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen is a must. And Taylor's Refresher for lunch.

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