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Apr 26, 2010 05:51 AM

Romantic trip - recommendations please!

Hi all...I'm new here, but have read the rules and done many searches, so hopefully I won't be breaking any rules.

My fabulous boyfriend will be taking me on a trip to SF in August, from the 8th to the 12th. We have a bare bones itinerary and need some help in filing out the holes. We are looking for a low key way to experience the beauty of the area while doing lots picnicking, and perhaps some hiking. Of course, we want to taste some wines and olives. I hate the idea of rushing through anything and want to savor the scenery and the great food. So here's the plan...

Sunday Aug 8th - arrive in late in SF, stay at the Airport Fairfield Inn.

Monday Aug 9th - wake early, drive through SF and see the Golden Gate Bridge. Visit Muir woods, and perhaps stop at the Fremont Diner?
- travel to Sonoma, stay at the Inn in Glen Ellen. Visit Gundlach Bunschu for a wine tasting and picnic.

Tuesday thru Thursday August 10th - 12th - scenic drive on back roads to Napa. Suggestions as to which rd??
- stay 2 nights at Caymus Rancho in Rutherford.
- leaving on the red eye 10pm

We'd love your opinions on some things that sound really fun, such as:

*picnicking at Bennet Hill
*olive tour and tasting at Round pond in Rutherford
*eating at Rutherford Grill
*riding the gondola at Sterling
*visiting the hot springs
*hiking, and of course picnicking, the Palisades trail.

Any practical considerations that we should keep in mind? I have a great picnic backpack and would love to eat somewhere beautiful outside every day if possible, so breakfast and dinner suggestions would be welcome. I'm really wanting to hear about romantic places where my bf and I can enjoy ourselves.

Thanks in advance!

Rutherford Grill
1180 Rutherford Rd, Napa, CA 94558

Fremont Diner
2660 Fremont Dr, Sonoma, CA

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  1. Hi, go to the Fisherman's wharf and have lunch or dinner. You can then
    take a boat cruise to Alcatraz. Don't forget the beach...bring a bottle of wine, and a
    fruit and dip platter. You can feed each other; stare in his eyes and as for the rest,
    I'll leave it up to you. (giggles)

    1 Reply
    1. re: morning star

      They are touring wine country, not the City.

    2. There are a number of wineries that have picnic spots, but some of them only allow you to picnic on their property with a reservation. Here's a list:

      I did the olive oil tour at Round Pond a few years ago, and it was lovely.

      1. We just stayed at Glen Ellen Inn cottages last winter and it was great! If you are staying there, you should definitely grab dinner at the Fig Cafe next door. They have free corkage and very affordable prix fixe menu. The Garden Court cafe across the street has a great breakfast, cheaper and more selection than at the Glen Ellen Inn.

        Garden Court Cafe
        13647 Arnold Dr, Glen Ellen, CA 95442

        Glen Ellen Inn
        13670 Arnold Dr, Glen Ellen, CA 95442

        1. great picnic spot is above Auberge du Soleil in Napa - it's across from Rutherford Hill winery. Go to Oakville Grocery or Dean & Deluca, pick up your stuff and head over.

          Oakville Grocery
          124 Matheson St, Healdsburg, CA 95448

          Rutherford Hill
          200 Rutherford Hill Rd, Rutherford, CA

          Soleil Restaurant
          625 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA 94301

          6 Replies
          1. re: vis

            Don't you have to buy a bottle of wine from RH?

            Bennet Hill -- do you mean Bennett Lane? It's OK, not great for picnicking.
            Riding the gondola at Sterling -- take a pass, not really worthwhile and the wines are not well-crafted
            The Table Rock portion of Palisades is perfect for picnicking.
            IMO, there are better picnic supplies at Sunshine Market in St. Helena, certainly better prices.
            Wonderful small winery across the street from Rancho Caymus: Elizabeth Spencer.
            Also across the street, the great burritos at La Luna Market -- perfect for lunch.

            Be sure to read the other posts on Napa Valley.

            1. re: maria lorraine

              I actually don't know if you have to do that - i don't think this is owned by RH but I could be wrong. Either way, I think every time we've been there we've bought at least one bottle.

              1. re: vis

                The picnic grounds to which you're referring are the RH picnic grounds, reserved for their guests only,
                and there is a charge to use them.

                The website says:

                "Picnic Groves:
                Picnic Tables can be reserved for $25 per table by calling 707-963-1871 x2249. For groups of 25 people or more please contact"


              2. re: maria lorraine

                Thanks for this info. That's disappointing about the gondola, it seemed like such a fun, romantic thing to do :(

                I'm wondering about the differences in the various picnic supply places. How would you describe the offerings vs. prices at Dean & Deluca, Oakville Grocery, and Sunshine Market? I'm interested in gourmet food rather than run of the mill picnic fare.


                Oakville Grocery
                124 Matheson St, Healdsburg, CA 95448

                1. re: sodone

                  Well if it's gourmet you want, how about a ham sandwich from D&D with jamón ibérico de bellota. They also have Round Pond olive oil but you're probably going to get that at the mill.

                  1. re: sodone

                    None of the stores are run of the mill -- all are gourmet. It will be easy enough to check all of them out. The wait can get long so go well-ahead of the lunch rush.

                    The gondola is a short tram ride. Do it if you must. The view from Sterling's South Terrace is lovely. The view from Table Rock is phenomenal. Likewise, Pride, Viader, Spring Mountain wineries.

              3. Thanks for the great ideas! I think we'll definitely go to the Fig cafe and the Garden Court cafe. And I love the idea for the great picnic spot as well.

                Garden Court Restaurant
                8141 Redwood Blvd, Novato, CA 94945