Travel on the Side


Back from a trip to Northern California to celebrate Mother’s Day with my mom. Enjoyed touring around and wine tasting. So many highlights! Sebastopol, California Bodega, California Golden Gate Bridge Point Reyes National Seashore Coleman Valley Road Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Area St. Helena & Calistoga, California Sterling Vineyards Platypus Wine Tours For more pics, check out my Napa/Sonoma/Marin Flickr album.

One of the most memorable and enjoyable experiences in Napa Valley was the Platypus Wine Tour. This is the way to do wine tasting! Instead of having to drive from winery to winery, you let Platypus do it for you. It was perfect! They picked us up at our hotel in St. Helena and a group of 12 of us toured wineries around St. Helena and Calistoga in a comfortable little bus…. Read More

Sterling Vineyards near Calistoga is like Disneyland for adults. First, you drive down a tree-lined pathway. Then in a beautiful garden, you take a sky gondola up to the hilltop Sterling Vineyards. The views are stunning and the wine is good too. The general admission is $29, but it’s well worth it. It includes the sky gondola ride, a self-guided tour of the winery with short video presentations on the wine making… Read More

Napa County is home to over 400 wineries. The cities of St. Helena and Calistoga are great jumping off points. Calistoga has an old West feel and is home to a number of spas. St. Helena has upscale shops lining its main street. We made the El Bonita Motel in St. Helena our home base during our stay. It’s a cute little art deco place with comfortable rooms in an affordable price… Read More

The diversity of nature of Sonoma County is amazing: sweeping coastline, rolling hills, rivers, vineyards, and redwood trees! If you’re in the area, a must stop is the Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve near Guerneville. I recommend parking your car in the lot near the registration kiosk and do some hiking on the trails. You won’t be disappointed. You’ll stand among giants! For more pics, check out my Napa/Sonoma/Marin Flickr album.

Just about anywhere in Sonoma County is breathtakingly beautiful, but Coleman Valley Road (see Google Map) is particularly special. Start in the small town of Occidental and drive the road towards the ocean. You’ll start in forests, hugging the hillsides, and then ascend to the top of the hills with beautiful meadow views. At the end, you’ll come to a “T” intersection with California Highway 1 at the Pacific Ocean. Take it… Read More

After getting up early to see the Golden Gate Bridge on Mother’s Day, mom and I drove the rental car north on California Highway 1 – a beautiful twisty-turny drive – to Point Reyes National Seashore in Marin County. Our first stop was in the town of Inverness, along the Tomales Bay (part of the San Andreas fault) to see the Point Reyes shipwreck. There were lots of professional photographers out that… Read More

It was Mother’s Day. I was in California with my mom. Neither of us had ever seen the Golden Gate Bridge and since we were staying in Sonoma County, we decided to drive down. We left Sebastopol fairly early and drove down the 101 before exiting at Sausalito. We entered the Marin Headlands/Golden Gate National Recreation Area and parked at the Battery Spencer lookout. Even though it was a cloudy morning, we… Read More

Just down the road from Sebastopol in Sonoma County¬†on the Bodega Highway is the town of Bodega. Most famously, its church – St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church¬†– was used in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 movie The Birds. For more pics, check out my Napa/Sonoma/Marin Flickr album.

Sebastopol, California, located in Sonoma County, is a funky, artsy town filled with good restaurants, delightful shops, and art galleries. Jerry Garcia used to live here. We made Sebastopol our stop for two nights to tour around Sonoma and Marin counties. Downtown Sebastopol is inviting and there are several free parking lots. So park your car and walk around. We had two great dinners. Our first night was at Peter Lowell’s. I… Read More