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Please Critique My SFO Intinerary

Please Critique My SFO Intinerary

Old May 26, 14, 8:37 am
  #31  
 
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Originally Posted by darthbimmer View Post
On 280 traffic will be moving at 65+ much of the way. Driving south on 85 in the morning is reverse commute.
OP: if you have a lead foot the CHP is a common sight along 280, among other parts of the drive south. Just sayin
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Old May 27, 14, 11:28 am
  #32  
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Originally Posted by Lost View Post
OP: if you have a lead foot the CHP is a common sight along 280, among other parts of the drive south. Just sayin
Thanks for the heads up bc I do have a lead foot.
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Old Jun 3, 14, 11:47 am
  #33  
 
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I apologize if I duplicate something, but I have read all of this in 5 minutes.

The drive from SFO to Big Sur is long. We live south of SJC, and we still don't go there much because there are so many other options. Driving 280 south to 85 to 101 will be fine. The 17-mile drive is beautiful. Allow more than an hour, because there are nice places to stop for a look and photos. Monterey Aquarium is an excellent aquarium. Big Sur...? I'd skip it, given your other plans and time constraints. On your way to/from the Monterey area you can stop at Gizdich Ranch for the best berry pie a la mode around here. If you have time you can pick raspberries and/or stawberries. (They only charge you for what ends up in your basket!)

There is very pretty coastline scenery going south from SF on Highway 1. You could go south to Pescadero or Santa Cruz, and then turn east to come through redwoods on your way back to 280. There are some nice walks/hikes along the ocean cliffs between Pescadero and Santa Cruz.

For a beautiful hike near SF, you can go across the GG Bridge and hike in Muir Woods. On weekends you need to park your car before 9am, or you will do a long walk before and after your hike.

Our standard SF tourist route for visitors is Twin Peaks (Sutro Tower) for a good overview of the city, then Golden Gate Park to the Cliff House, back through the Presidio and across the GG Bridge. Don't stop at the obvious place right on the other side of the bridge. Instead, take the road up the hill to your left (west) and you'll get the iconic views of the bridge in the foreground and the city in the background.

Go back across the bridge to Ghiradelli Square for great chocolate ice cream-the only reason to visit GS. Walk to the piers and have clam chowder in the sourdough bowl, then go outside to look at the sea lions. Alcatraz is okay, but you'd need to allow 3-4 hours for it. Then ride cable car to China Town, walk around, eat dinner, cable car back to the GS area.

It's a shame to go all the way to Napa and only make one stop. Napa is for out of state tourists-it's expensive, service can be spotty, and the wine isn't better than the Sonoma County areas, but Napa is a "to do list" thing. There are many wine-tasting options in the Sonoma County and Cisneros regions with nice scenery and excellent wines, and they will be on your way to/from Napa. IMO, Napa is best for Cabs (you'll pay $50 and up), but other areas offer some excellent wines at more reasonable prices from more than a dozen other varietals. I'd stay a night in the area, and leave time to make 5-6 stops during the two days. Regardless, Jacuzzi and Cline (we're members there) will be on your way. The Wilson wine group (members there) wineries are nearby too. Chateau Montelena (members there) is an iconic Napa winery (featured in "Bottleshock"), Sterling is also good, with nice views from its tram.
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Old Jun 3, 14, 11:56 am
  #34  
 
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Travel to Bezerkley to walk around the campus...? I think the campus at Stanford is much nicer-looking, and it's on your way to other attractions. Or maybe you're a Cal fan, in which case, Stanford is the sworn enemy.
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Old Jun 3, 14, 12:06 pm
  #35  
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Originally Posted by NorCalTingo View Post
I apologize if I duplicate something, but I have read all of this in 5 minutes.

Don't stop at the obvious place right on the other side of the bridge. Instead, take the road up the hill to your left (west) and you'll get the iconic views of the bridge in the foreground and the city in the background.
Which side of the bridge are you referring to? Marin?
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Old Jun 3, 14, 12:18 pm
  #36  
 
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Originally Posted by Playboy View Post
Which side of the bridge are you referring to? Marin?
Yes, the Marin (north) side. The best light for photos is near mid-day to early afternoon. Later than that you might get too much sun into your lens. At sunset, photos from the southwest side of the bridge are nice.
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Old Jun 3, 14, 12:20 pm
  #37  
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Originally Posted by NorCalTingo View Post
Yes, the Marin (north) side. The best light for photos is near mid-day to early afternoon. Later than that you might get too much sun into your lens. At sunset, photos from the southwest side of the bridge are nice.
Thanks. I'm definitely looking for the best photo ops. That's one of the reasons why I want to hit Big Sur.
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Old Jun 3, 14, 12:37 pm
  #38  
 
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We went through Big Sur a few months ago. There's only one or two especially good photo ops there unless you hike a lot, and then it's one or two more. The 17-mile drive offers many more photo ops (5-10) that I like better. And the coastal cliffs and remote beaches between Santa Cruz and Pescadero are also good for walking and taking good photos. Big Basin Redwoods is very good for photos, especially if you decide to skip Muir Woods (similar photos in both).

Speaking of photos, Lombard Street is a little tricky. The best photo will be taken from about a half block beyond the bottom. The wait for the line of cars at the top can be 5-20 minutes, or you can walk it. Cable car, when you come back towards the piers or GS on the cable car, get on the front of the car (standing-holding on) on the left side (center of the street), for unobstructed photos and videos as you come down the hill towards the bay.
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Old Jun 3, 14, 12:48 pm
  #39  
 
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Cable car tip...
The line of people waiting to get on near Ghiradelli Square is often an hour or more. If you go instead to the station at Taylor and North Point Streets you'll probably there's find little, to no wait in line.

Map here. Both routes go to Chinatown and offer good views to the Bay during the return trip.
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Old Jun 3, 14, 8:19 pm
  #40  
 
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Originally Posted by NorCalTingo View Post
We went through Big Sur a few months ago. There's only one or two especially good photo ops there unless you hike a lot, and then it's one or two more. The 17-mile drive offers many more photo ops (5-10) that I like better. And the coastal cliffs and remote beaches between Santa Cruz and Pescadero are also good for walking and taking good photos. Big Basin Redwoods is very good for photos, especially if you decide to skip Muir Woods (similar photos in both).
Oh, there are tons of beautiful places in Big Sur. It's all about the State Parks and Beaches along Highway 1. The most tourist-friendly is probably Los Lobos, just south of Monterey and Carmel. I don't know that I would recommend going that far south, though, for someone doing a short, SF based trip. There are similar sights and parks along Highway 1 between SF and Santa Cruz.
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Old Jun 3, 14, 11:07 pm
  #41  
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Originally Posted by NorCalTingo View Post
I apologize if I duplicate something, but I have read all of this in 5 minutes.

The drive from SFO to Big Sur is long. We live south of SJC, and we still don't go there much because there are so many other options. Driving 280 south to 85 to 101 will be fine. The 17-mile drive is beautiful. Allow more than an hour, because there are nice places to stop for a look and photos. Monterey Aquarium is an excellent aquarium. Big Sur...? I'd skip it, given your other plans and time constraints. On your way to/from the Monterey area you can stop at Gizdich Ranch for the best berry pie a la mode around here. If you have time you can pick raspberries and/or stawberries. (They only charge you for what ends up in your basket!)

There is very pretty coastline scenery going south from SF on Highway 1. You could go south to Pescadero or Santa Cruz, and then turn east to come through redwoods on your way back to 280. There are some nice walks/hikes along the ocean cliffs between Pescadero and Santa Cruz.

For a beautiful hike near SF, you can go across the GG Bridge and hike in Muir Woods. On weekends you need to park your car before 9am, or you will do a long walk before and after your hike.

Our standard SF tourist route for visitors is Twin Peaks (Sutro Tower) for a good overview of the city, then Golden Gate Park to the Cliff House, back through the Presidio and across the GG Bridge. Don't stop at the obvious place right on the other side of the bridge. Instead, take the road up the hill to your left (west) and you'll get the iconic views of the bridge in the foreground and the city in the background.

Go back across the bridge to Ghiradelli Square for great chocolate ice cream-the only reason to visit GS. Walk to the piers and have clam chowder in the sourdough bowl, then go outside to look at the sea lions. Alcatraz is okay, but you'd need to allow 3-4 hours for it. Then ride cable car to China Town, walk around, eat dinner, cable car back to the GS area.

It's a shame to go all the way to Napa and only make one stop. Napa is for out of state tourists-it's expensive, service can be spotty, and the wine isn't better than the Sonoma County areas, but Napa is a "to do list" thing. There are many wine-tasting options in the Sonoma County and Cisneros regions with nice scenery and excellent wines, and they will be on your way to/from Napa. IMO, Napa is best for Cabs (you'll pay $50 and up), but other areas offer some excellent wines at more reasonable prices from more than a dozen other varietals. I'd stay a night in the area, and leave time to make 5-6 stops during the two days. Regardless, Jacuzzi and Cline (we're members there) will be on your way. The Wilson wine group (members there) wineries are nearby too. Chateau Montelena (members there) is an iconic Napa winery (featured in "Bottleshock"), Sterling is also good, with nice views from its tram.
Pretty sure you mean the Carneros region, not the Cisneros region. The Carneros region is the low-lying area that connects the southern part of the Napa valley with the Southern part of the Sonoma valley. Because it gets a lot of fog from the SF Bay, the main grapes are cool climate grapes such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and aside from those varietals, Sparkling wines made predominantly with those two grapes. I would agree, it's surprisingly less touristy than the main part of the Napa valley - surprising because it's the closest part of the wine country to San Francisco and Oakland.

I would also agree that, by and large, Sonoma offers a more diverse, less pricey and less snobby tasting experience than Napa. My favorite parts of Sonoma are the Dry Creek region for Zinfandels, the Russian River region for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and the Alexander Valley for Cabs, Merlots, Zinfandels and Rhone varietals.
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Old Jun 4, 14, 3:34 am
  #42  
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Originally Posted by darthbimmer View Post
Oh, there are tons of beautiful places in Big Sur. It's all about the State Parks and Beaches along Highway 1. The most tourist-friendly is probably Los Lobos, just south of Monterey and Carmel. I don't know that I would recommend going that far south, though, for someone doing a short, SF based trip. There are similar sights and parks along Highway 1 between SF and Santa Cruz.
We love to hike. That's the reason why I chose julia pfeiffer burns state park. I looked at Point Lobos & didn't see any trails that I liked. Andrew Molera has some trails that I liked.
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Old Jun 4, 14, 3:35 am
  #43  
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Originally Posted by lhgreengrd1 View Post
Pretty sure you mean the Carneros region, not the Cisneros region. The Carneros region is the low-lying area that connects the southern part of the Napa valley with the Southern part of the Sonoma valley. Because it gets a lot of fog from the SF Bay, the main grapes are cool climate grapes such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and aside from those varietals, Sparkling wines made predominantly with those two grapes. I would agree, it's surprisingly less touristy than the main part of the Napa valley - surprising because it's the closest part of the wine country to San Francisco and Oakland.

I would also agree that, by and large, Sonoma offers a more diverse, less pricey and less snobby tasting experience than Napa. My favorite parts of Sonoma are the Dry Creek region for Zinfandels, the Russian River region for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and the Alexander Valley for Cabs, Merlots, Zinfandels and Rhone varietals.
I'm into Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Which vineyards would you folks recommend in Sonoma? We may go there on Friday, removing Berkley off the list.
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Old Jun 4, 14, 8:18 am
  #44  
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Originally Posted by Playboy View Post
I'm into Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Which vineyards would you folks recommend in Sonoma? We may go there on Friday, removing Berkley off the list.
For those wines, my favorites would be Hartford, Gary Farrell, and Rochioli. Porter Creek, which is a tiny vineyard in the same area is also worth dropping in on.
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Old Jun 4, 14, 8:47 am
  #45  
 
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Originally Posted by lhgreengrd1 View Post
Pretty sure you mean the Carneros region, not the Cisneros region. The Carneros region is the low-lying area that connects the southern part of the Napa valley with the Southern part of the Sonoma valley. Because it gets a lot of fog from the SF Bay, the main grapes are cool climate grapes such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and aside from those varietals, Sparkling wines made predominantly with those two grapes. I would agree, it's surprisingly less touristy than the main part of the Napa valley - surprising because it's the closest part of the wine country to San Francisco and Oakland.

I would also agree that, by and large, Sonoma offers a more diverse, less pricey and less snobby tasting experience than Napa. My favorite parts of Sonoma are the Dry Creek region for Zinfandels, the Russian River region for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and the Alexander Valley for Cabs, Merlots, Zinfandels and Rhone varietals.
I agree with all of this, and when I was typing Cisneros I knew it was wrong but couldn't remember Carneros, and we were there just two weeks ago! It's funny because it seems like people just drive on through Carneros on their way to the more famous Sonoma or Napa, but Carneros has a half dozen or so good wineries that are worth trying. We joined the club at Cline/Jacuzzi because we like their wines, and we also enjoy the fact that they offer many choices of the less common varietals (many are Italian).

I think we've been to almost every winery in the Dry Creek area-we like Zins. We like Mazzocco and Wilson the most but the variety of styles available in the area is fun to explore. In Alexander Valley we prefer reds from DeLormier, Soda Rock, and some others, but there are so many it could take a month or more of daily tastings to try them all.

I will say that while Russian River is known for Pinots and Chards, they are not our favorite varietals from the area. We prefer pinots and chards from other areas, like the Santa Lucia Highlands south of Salinas, Sonoma, and others. Hahn is one of our favorites in SLH. The fun of pinots and chards in California is the wide range of styles on offer, from Mendocino County, Sonoma, Napa, Carneros, Santa Lucia, Paso Robles, Santa Cruz Mountains, Santa Clara Valley, Livermore, etc... Each are unique and worth trying for yourself.
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