Three weeks ago I left for my first trip to California. The Mr. had to go for some meetings, so we added a few days on to the beginning of the trip and met up with some friends in Sonoma. Our goal: to eat, drink, and have a ton of fun. Mission accomplished!
We flew into San Francisco, rented a car, and drove to Sonoma. By the time we arrived, we only had time to visit one winery that day. With it’s fields of lavender and gorgeous outdoor setting, it was a great way to start the trip. Dinner that night was at an amazing farm-to-table restaurant just a short drive away, and with a full belly, we retired to our adorable little hotel in Glen Ellen.
Matanzas Creek Winery
While our entire group enjoys and appreciates wine, one in particular is quite schooled in the area so he set up an entire day of wine tasting. We hired a driver to shuttle us around during the day (she even went out and got us lunch!), and we hit the road at 9:30am. The wineries we chose were all fairly close together so we were able to visit a total of eight wineries during the day, and tried 57 different wines!! It was an epic day of wine tasting!
Here is a list of the wineries that we visited:
- Mauritson Family Winery
- Papapietro Perry Winery
- Kokomo Winery
- Zichichi Family Vineyard
- Trattore Wines and Dry Creek Olive Company
- Ferrari Carano Vineyards & Winery
- Sbragia Family Vineyards
- Stephen & Walker
We wanted to find dinner that was within walking distance of our hotel and stumbled into the Glen Ellen Star. Great food, more great wine, and a great atmosphere. What more could we ask for?
The next day we piled into our rental car and made our way back to San Francisco. It was a treat driving over the Golden Gate bridge. Our hotel was gorgeous and thanks to the Ghirardelli next door, smelled so good.
The Palace Hotel, San Francisco, CA
The Mr. had to work that afternoon, so after a delicious Indian lunch, I went back to the hotel room and just chilled. Dinner that night was unplanned, and with a large group, that was a mistake. The only place that could take us was Level III restaurant at the JW Marriott. The food was disappointing, but the cocktails and conversation were good, so that’s a win in my book.
~ mandatory tourist pic! ~
The next day, my friend and I did a half-day city tour. I figured it would be the best way to see as much of the city as I could. I’ve always used Viator to book my tours when I travel and I’ve never experienced any issues with them. Unfortunately, this one was a slight disappointment. The pick-up and check-in process was disorganized, and the sights that were listed in the tour description were not the ones we went to. However, we stopped at the Golden Gate bridge, Lands End and went up to the Twin Peaks for an incredible view. We also drove through some interesting neighborhoods!
The tour dropped us off near Fisherman’s Wharf so we spent some time eating delicious chowder, exploring the area and, of course, going to Pier 39 to hang out with the sea lions. I could have stayed there all day!
~ a view of Alcatraz and adorable sea lions ~
Dinner that night was Japanese and it was fantastic! Definitely better than dinner the night before. Fresh scallops, tempura, shabu shabu, and sake. Yum!
The Mr. finished up work the next day and most of our friends flew back home that afternoon. We stuck around and did touristy things. We went to Japantown, where I stocked up on some great Asian beauty products. Then we took a cab up to Lombard Street and walked down it, all the way to Fisherman’s Wharf. We eventually made our way back to the hotel via Chinatown. Did my calves ever hurt the next day with all of those hills. That’s craziness!
~ the view from Lombard St. and scenes from Japantown ~
~ Chinatown ~
Dinner was at a Mexican restaurant within walking distance from the hotel. Their queso dip is off the hook! It’s not on the menu, so if you visit, be sure to ask for it.
After dinner, I spotted a Target across the street and did some shopping =) Since Target left Canada before I moved back, it’s still one of my favorite shopping destinations when in the US. Who doesn’t love Target?!?
With our fill of good food, wine, and shopping, it was time to head home. I can honestly say that Sonoma and San Francisco did not disappoint. I would go back in a heartbeat, and knowing that there are hundreds of wineries left to visit, I can’t wait!
Have you been to Sonoma or San Francisco?
Have you ever done a wine tasting?