California Journals

Raising a Toast to California Wine Country

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An October 2003 trip to California by travelwisdom

Riddler in Action Photo, Napa Valley, California More Photos
Quote: With over 600 wineries in a four-county area, how many wineries can we visit over 10 days?

Raising a Toast to California Wine Country

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Overview

Quote:
With over 600 wineries in a four-county area, a wine-tasting trip to California can be a bit daunting. How many wineries can we indulge in over ten days? Hmmm! After spending several weeks researching our trip we settled on an itinerary based on some must-see wineries, a trip of the Wine Train, and three intriguing bed-and-breakfasts, with plenty of flexibility for spontaneous stops. As it turned out there were many memorable moments such as our first day on the wine trail. At home, 10 a.m. might be a bit early for popping a cork. Here it’s the natural thing to do. There are two main arteries through Napa Valley, the Silverado Trail and Highway 29. Our plan calls for meandering...Read More

Bylund House- A Romantic Retreat

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Hotel

Quote:
After a couple of wrong turns, we negotiate the winding road and steep driveway to the top of a ridge, and come face to face with the Bylund House. It is an impressive northern Italian-style villa surrounded by rolling hills, wineries, and ranchland. Right away, we realize this is really different than checking into a local Holiday Inn. There appears to be no one home. There is a big dog sleeping placidly on the front steps. There appears to be a note taped to the door. Dilemma. Is the guard dog trained to attack? We cautiously approach the house. The dog is definitely not a guard dog. He welcomes us like old friends. The note of the door also welcomes us and tells us to make ourselves at home ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 8, 2004

Bylund House- A Romantic Retreat
2000 Howell Mountain Road
St. Helena, California 94574
(707) 963-9073

Grape Leaf Inn

Hotel | "Grape Leaf Inn - A Dream of a B&B!"

Quote:
This is the fourth day of our adventure in wine country. By late afternoon, we are in Healdsburg at the Grape Leaf Inn. What a wonderful B & B! The Grape Leaf Inn is as colorful as its name. It’s a romantic 100 year old, three storied, Victorian home with wraparound porches. There are twelve Queen Anne style bedrooms with private baths. Ten rooms have king-sized beds and spa tubs for two. Five rooms have fireplaces. Most upper floor room have skylights over the bed. With names like the Pinot Noir, Gamay Rose, Sangiovese, and Chardonnay Suite it was difficult to choose the "best" room. All rooms here are best! Room rates range from $210 to $325 per night. View the rooms, amenities an...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 8, 2004

Grape Leaf Inn
539 Johnson Street
Healdsburg, California 95448
(707) 433-8140

Little River Inn : Lodging Restaurant & Day Spa

Hotel | "Savor a Pacific Sunset at Little River Inn"

Little River Inn : Lodging Restaurant & Day Spa Photo, Mendocino, California
Quote:
It is day seven of our driving trip through California Wine Country. We are driving through the towering redwood forest headed toward Little River Inn on the Pacific coastline near Mendocino. We stop frequently to savor the fresh pine scent and walk through the forests. At times the forest is so dense that there is little daylight and we have to drive with the headlights on. The road is winding and driving difficult. No wine tasting today, but what an experience. As we approach the coast, the scenery changes around each bend. We leave the dense forest and hug the coastline hundreds of feet above the Pacific Ocean. Our reservations for the next two days are at the Little River Inn. We arriv...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 8, 2004

Little River Inn : Lodging Restaurant & Day Spa
7751 N Highway 1
Mendocino, California 95456
(707) 937-5942

Napa Valley Wine Train

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Attraction | "Riding the Rails on the Wine Train"

Quote:
Today is one of those crisp, clear California days. Perfect weather for an outing. After breakfast, we head for Napa for a trip on the Wine Train. Rumbling along past 26 wineries through lush vineyards for 36 miles from Napa to St Helena, the Wine Train has been making several three-hour journeys most days since 1989. Visitors relax in nine restored Pullman cars, such as a Champagne Vista Dome Car, Lounge Car, open air Silverado Trail car, and two dining cars. There are brunch, lunch and dinner excursions. Family Fun Nights, allow parents to enjoy a gourmet four-course dinner, while their children are entertained by games, movies and food under the supervision of professional care prov...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 8, 2004

Napa Valley Wine Train
1275 McKinstry St.
Napa, California 94559
(707) 253-2111

Top Ten Favorite California Wineries

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Story/Tip

Riddler in Action Photo, Napa Valley, California
Quote:
Top Ten Favorite California Wineries With over 600 wineries in a four county area, a trip to California can be a bit daunting. So many wineries. So little time. After spending ten days visiting the vineyards, here are our Top Ten recommendations. Of these Top Ten, five are in Napa Valley and five are in Sonoma Valley. As tasters quickly discover, although tours are complimentary at some wineries, tastings come with a fee. Average fees are $3.00-$5.00. Reserve wine tasting fees in private tasting room may be as high as $20.00. After much debate, we chose these as our Top Ten Wine Country Favorites. In addition to making superb wines, these Top Ten have other memor...Read More