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  1. #1

    Default San Fran to Portland, one week - first road trip. (help?)

    My boyfriend and I are taking a week long road trip in the middle of March. We are flying into San Francisco, then driving down to Santa Cruz to see my friend and staying for one night, then driving up to Portland.

    I haven't made any concrete plans yet, and I would like to keep things somewhat flexible. I know that I want to visit some wineries, I've always wanted to do that. But, I'm not sure if we could see both the Napa and the Sonoma Valley vineyards, or if I should choose one or the other. Also, I'd like to see the Redwood forests, I am open to any interesting suggestions any of you may have, and I'd like to spend the last two days in Portland.

    I've got no problem finding places to stay as I go, but I'm not sure which route would be the best. Also, I'd love if someone could clue me in about the California wine country - this trip has been a dream of mine for quite some time and just last night we decided to purchase our plane tickets on a whim. So, we're going for it - I've got about a month to plan, but I haven't got a clue about where to start.

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks for your time! =)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Wine Country Follies

    Quote Originally Posted by Xpanda
    My boyfriend and I are taking a week long road trip in the middle of March. We are flying into San Francisco, then driving down to Santa Cruz to see my friend and staying for one night, then driving up to Portland.
    Welcome to the Forum! I drove almost that exact distance last July -- by the fastest route, it can be done in one very, very long day, so your plan to take 3-4 days sounds just about perfect.
    I know that I want to visit some wineries, I've always wanted to do that. But, I'm not sure if we could see both the Napa and the Sonoma Valley vineyards, or if I should choose one or the other.
    During my college days I spent several weekends savoring the wines in all of the valleys. Personally, I like the loops you can take around the Russian River Valley and around Healdsburg. I just drove through Napa and was surprised at how much more built-up it is now -- but still fun. There is a really good guide written by Richard Sterling that I really like -- he has knack for finding those "unfound" places,

    On your way north, there are two other must-stop-and-enjoy-the-drinkables places. The first is Yorkville Cellars located at Mile Marker 40.4 on Highway 128 , between Cloverdale & Boonville. I think their Merlot 2002 may well be the finest I have ever tasted at any price. If you stop, be sure to say howdy to the owners and to Shadow (you'll be personally greeted by Shadow and that is pretty great).

    The other place is Anderson Valley Brewing Company in Boonville -- if you like beer at all -- very, yummy.

    The Oregon coast is pretty great and there are lots of posts on this board about some of our favorite places. Here is one of those threads and also remember to always check the links on the bottom of this page.

    When you get to Portland -- if you like fresh bread -- check out the family bakery here

    Happy Planning!

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 02-10-2006 at 08:08 PM. Reason: added a link

  3. #3

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Editor
    Welcome to the forum!
    Thanks very much! :)

    I really really appreciate your input, everything sounds absolutely amazing! I'm so excited for this trip, I'm definately looking into the spots you suggested.

    I'd be interested in hearing any and all info regarding my route. Keep 'em coming, you guys rule!!
    Last edited by Quebec Gen; 02-11-2006 at 01:44 PM. Reason: Format

  4. #4
    travel_monkeys Guest

    Default

    To see Redwoods head up highway 101 towards Redwood National Park. On the way make sure to take Avenue of the Giants. It's a 30 mile scenic road through a redwood forest that parallels 101. You should see signs on 101 around Garberville. The redwoods in northern California are coastal Redwoods as opposed to the Giant Sequioas found in the central Sierras. The coastal redwoods aren't nearly as wide as the Sequioas but I believe they're the tallest trees in the world.
    After you come back from Avenue of the Giants to 101, check out the town of Ferndale. You'll be coming down a mountain out of a dense forest and suddenly there's this little town that has about the cutest houses and downtown in California. Much of the buildings date back to the 1800s, and it's a great place to find a bed and breakfast for the night.
    As for Oregon, the coast is indeed nice but also consider heading inland to Crater Lake if you have time. In March there will still be snow but it's definitely drivable and quite beautiful.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 02-11-2006 at 04:07 PM. Reason: Add link for RTA Field Report

  5. #5

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by travel_monkeys
    To see Redwoods head up highway 101 towards Redwood National Park. On the way make sure to take Avenue of the Giants. It's a 30 mile scenic road through a redwood forest that parallels 101. You should see signs on 101 around Garberville. The redwoods in northern California are coastal Redwoods as opposed to the Giant Sequioas found in the central Sierras. The coastal redwoods aren't nearly as wide as the Sequioas but I believe they're the tallest trees in the world.
    After you come back from Avenue of the Giants to 101, check out the town of Ferndale. You'll be coming down a mountain out of a dense forest and suddenly there's this little town that has about the cutest houses and downtown in California. Much of the buildings date back to the 1800s, and it's a great place to find a bed and breakfast for the night.
    As for Oregon, the coast is indeed nice but also consider heading inland to Crater Lake if you have time. In March there will still be snow but it's definitely drivable and quite beautiful.
    Wow, I've added this to my itinerary and I've got some serious goosebumps just thinking about it. A million thanks, this is an incredibly helpful and civilized forum, it absolutely wreaks of class.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Some of my favorites!

    Highlights:
    *Eureka - wonderful architecture
    *Crescent City - just because of the tsunami wipe-out area to view
    *Redwood National Forest - huge trees, even one you can drive through
    *Brookings - just a cool, coastal town
    *Gold Beach - just up the river are some fantastic river-rafting/mailboat trips
    *Bandon - another cool, coastal town
    *Oregon Dunes NP - huge dunes, lots of sand/dune vehicles available to rent. A blast!
    *Sea Lion Caves - ride an elevator down to a huge cavern that hundreds (thousands?) of sea lions call home
    *Newport - great aquarium, and fun places like a Ripley's Believe It or Not museum
    *Depoe Bay - the smallest harbor in the world, inexpensive ocean excursions, see the whales (in the spring or fall)
    *Tillamook - cheese factory/yummy ice cream!
    *Cannon Beach - another cool, coastal town. Watch for the hang-gliders on the beach.
    *Seaside - see a replica of a salt distillery used by Lewis & Clark, play in the boardwalk arcades
    *Warrenton - check out the winter quarters of Lewis & Clark at Fort Clatsop (unfortunately, the fort replica burned down last winter but the museum still stands and they are rebuilding the fort more accurately based on new archeological evidence).
    * Astoria - great maritime museum, historical buildings, etc. Cross the mouth of the Columbia River on a bridge that is almost 5 miles long, and just a few feet above the waterline....it's like driving on water. Very cool! You could then head back to Portland via the Washington side or, if you prefer, cross back over to Astoria and head east to Portland from there.

    You will rarely be away from the ocean. It's a gorgeous drive! There's also lots of lighthouses, beautiful beaches, trails, etc. to explore at numerous points along the way.

  7. #7

    Default A question for the wine country aficionados

    So I've got just a couple of weeks before we head out to San Fran for our road trip up to Portland. I have tons of guide books and so many places I want to see my head is spinning. The part I'm having a difficult time with is the wine country. I've decided to go through Napa first, then head over to Sonoma and up into the Russian River Valley, spending most of our time there. I don't want to get stuck on uber-busy roads, wasting time in traffic, and I want to visit vineyards, inns, and restaurants that are more, "off the beaten path," and quirky than big and bustling. We enjoy places with character, and don't want to spend alot of money on lodging - although we do want a bed and a bath nightly. I've read about some wineries with dark mysterious cellars oozing with mystery and intrigue but I can't seem to find out which ones they are!

    Any suggestions on the ultra-interesting off-the-beaten path experiences Northern California's wine country? I'd really appreciate it!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Location, location, location

    Quote Originally Posted by Xpanda
    The part I'm having a difficult time with is the wine country.
    I will give you my three favorite wineries -- there are plenty that are nicer -- but these three have the perfect combination of location and darn fine wine to suit my taste.

    S. Anderson in Napa Valley. Stanley Anderson was my dentist, many, many years ago (and the founder of this winery). There is a wine cave on the property you have to see to believe.

    Gundlach-Bundschu sits atop a hill overlooking the Sonoma Valley. Has a pond and the best place to have a picnic in the area.

    Yorkville Cellars located at Mile Marker 40.4 on Highway 128 , between Cloverdale & Boonville. I think their Merlot 2002 may well be the finest I have ever tasted at any price.

    Lodging -- I would stay at least one night at the 1880's style Sonoma Hotel for the general ambience of the area. And one more from Sonoma Valley -- I haven't stayed here, but I've wondered about it -- it would be unlike anything else you are likely to find-- In Yountville -- these folks have lined up a bunch of railroad cars with cabooses and converted them into motel rooms -- I know that the rates are a tad pricey -- but it really is cool and is walking distance to some of the finest restaurants in the area.

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 02-24-2006 at 08:34 PM. Reason: added one more link

  9. #9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Editor
    I will give you my three favorite wineries -- there are plenty that are nicer -- but these three have the perfect combination of location and darn fine wine to suit my taste.

    S. Anderson in Napa Valley. Stanley Anderson was my dentist, many, many years ago (and the founder of this winery). There is a wine cave on the property you have to see to believe.

    Mark
    Thanks, I knew someone knew their wine country! However, upon searching for your first winery of choice I found some info that may interest you:
    http://www.winespectator.com/Wine/Da...5,1644,00.html

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Well... perhaps you can share it with us?

    Unfortunately, the link you provided will only open if one is a member of the the Wine Spectator club -- so since I am not, and most of us are not, could you please share with us what it says...?

    Thanks

    Mark

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