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Oct 27, 2011 02:02 PM

Best place for alfresco lunch between Oakland Airport and Occidental??

We are driving from the Oakland Airport to Occidental and would love anyone's recommendation for an alfresco lunch along the way... Will be passing through Mill valley, Petaluma, and Sebastopol... Also - any vineyards along the way that are a MUST? Freemans, Iron Horse, Keller??

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  1. What day of the week? What time are you starting out?

    5 Replies
    1. re: Ruth Lafler

      It will be on a Friday... We arrive at noon, so I figure it will be 1ish by the time we get up there...

      1. re: schick13

        Closer to 2-ish, depending on traffic. Sausalito is a nice idea, but it does mean backtracking a little (assuming you're planning to go the East Bay/Richmond San Rafael bridge route). Actually, I'm a little confused by your mention of Mill Valley, which is not on the most direct route. It sounds like you may be planning on the San Francisco/Golden Gate Bridge route, which means you'd need to add half an hour or more to your travel time. Not that it isn't worth doing, but plan accordingly. Google maps says the SF route is only 20 minutes longer than the Richmond route (total travel time 1:57), but I think that's optimistic.

        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          Ruth is correct, I didn't really register that they were coming from OAK. Definitely do another lookup on your directions so that you drive up 580 and cross the San Rafael bridge. You would spend a lot more time going through San Francisco and up through Mill Valley/Sausalito.

          Traffic on Fridays can be quite heavy all day long.

          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            You are right... I think we will not go through the Bay Bridge, so Mill Valley won't be an option... just Petaluma, Sebastopol, etc... Thanks for the heads up!

            1. re: schick13

              Hole in the Wall in Sebastopol has some outside tables, good food but only a view of the parking lot.

              Hole in the Wall
              972 Gravenstein Hwy South, Sebastopol, CA 95472

      2. Depending on your timing, you may want to stop in Sausalito. It is directly adjacent to Mill Valley, but on the water, having a lot better options for an al fresco lunch. Search for Sausalito on this board for more options, but Fish and Le Garage are usually at the top of the list.

        I stayed two nights in Occidental last month (I really have to write a trip report). I hope you are planning to eat at Bistro des Copains, it was great. Barley and Hops Tavern is a lively place for a drink or snack also.

        What day of the week and what time will you be traveling? We found that a number of wineries are open limited hours. Also once you get off 101 and onto the smaller roads the distances between the wineries and the nature of the roads make it difficult to make impromptu visits. Things that look easy on a map may take a bit more time and effort to get to than you first think. We loved Iron Horse, but it is definitely out of the way and you should plan accordingly.

        Le Garage
        85 Liberty Ship Way Ste 109, Sausalito, CA

        Barley and Hops Tavern
        3688 Bohemian Hwy, Occidental, CA 95465

        1 Reply
        1. re: pamf

          We are going up there for a wedding, so will only have Friday afternoon and maybe Saturday morning to hit a couple wineries. I wish we could go to Bistro des Copains - have heard amazing things! Unfortunately, we will be busy with wedding festivities. Anyrec's for nearby wineries and/or lunch spots are much appreciated!

        2. After lunch in Sausalito head up to Merry Edwards and Dutton Goldfield tasting rooms before a beautiful back county ride, about 7 miles, on Graton Road to Occidental. A small side trip drive up Upp Road to Walker's Apple Farm is a possibility..

          1. Water Street Bistro in Petaluma is open for breakfast and lunch only. It has some outdoor tables overlooking the river.

            On a friday, you should do your best to get over the bridge and as far north as you can without stopping. From Petaluma, you can take the back roads to get to Occidental once Hwy 101 backs up. Be aware that there is construction north of Petaluma that will slow you down considerably if you stick with 101.

            Water Street Bistro
            100 Petaluma Blvd N Ste 106, Petaluma, CA 94952

            1 Reply
            1. re: Melanie Wong

              I definitely second Water Street Bistro, In addition to the patio overlooking the river, they have very good food. The owner of this deli-restaurant has chef credentials and it shows in the quality of the food. It's on my my take-visitors-to list for very casual places.

              Water Street Bistro
              100 Petaluma Blvd N Ste 106, Petaluma, CA 94952

            2. Be sure to stop for an al fresco pastry in Sebastopol at Patisserie Angelica. It shares a deck with BBQ Smokehouse. The bakery is only open weekends.

              If you do take the Mill Valley Route and decide to go up Highway One, there are some good spots in Point Reyes Station including the Station House Cafe, the oyster places just north. Bakeries in Point Reyes Station and Freestone (Bovine and Wild Flour respectively). Wild Flour's garden is incredibly lovely. Also, Cowgirl Creamery in Point Reyes is a great stop for picnic supplies.

              Enjoy your visit!

              Martha's Old Mexico has a sweet patio out back, but I haven't eaten there in years. That it's been there for years says something about the food.

              Have been to Hole in the Wall & enjoyed the food!

              Cowgirl Creamery
              80 4th St, Point Reyes Station, CA 94956

              Patisserie Angelica
              6821 Laguna Pkwy, Sebastopol, CA 95472

              Wild Flour Bread
              140 Bohemian Hwy, Freestone, CA

              Bovine Bakery
              11315 Shoreline Hwy, Point Reyes Station, CA

              The Station House Cafe
              11180 State Route One, Point Reyes Station, CA 94956

              BBQ Smokehouse
              6811 Laguna Park Way, Sebastopol, CA 95472

              Martha's Old Mexico
              305 N Main St, Sebastopol, CA 95472

              1 Reply
              1. re: Columba

                Peter Lowell's in Sebastopol has a delightful patio too.

                Peter Lowell's
                7385 Healdsburg Avenue, Sebastopol, CA 95472