April 26, 2014 Leave a comment
South to north:
In San Diego, I’d stay at the Omni Hotel. It’s walking distance to Gas Lamp and has great views of the harbor.
As you go north, if you want to stay a night in Laguna Beach, stay at the Surf and Sand. You can’t get any closer to the ocean. Plus, Laguna has some great shops, art galleries and restaurants.
In LA, there are so many great places but I like to stay in Santa Monica at Casa Del Mar. You can drive to anywhere from there but it’s lovely to be on the ocean. Great restaurants near there are:
Italian: Cafe Delfini
Near Santa Monica, in Venice:
If you want the true Hollywood experience, stay at Chateau Marmont. From there, you can shop in West Hollywood for funky stuff and head to any of the sites —
Now for San Francisco and Sonoma:
In San Francisco, our favorite hotels are:
The Clift: This is the one with the great bar, the Redwood Room. Great people watching.
The Fairmont: For the best views of the city, ask for a room in the towers.
The Argonaut: At Fisherman’s Wharf and a great value.
As far as restaurants:
The Slanted Door: for unbelievable Vietnamese
Farallon: seafood and a magical setting
Kokkari: Best Greek outside of Mykonos
State Bird: Really hard to get into
Sushi Zone: Small but great
And, even though it’s touristy, don’t miss the tour of Alcatraz. The ferry ride is beautiful and the history of the prison is fascinating.
In Sonoma, stay at one of these:
Hotel Healdsburg: Right on the square. Make sure you have dinner at Dry Creek Kitchen at the hotel.
Honor Mansion: Ask for a Cottage Suite — the outside bath tub is worth it.
Applewood: A little further from the center buy lovely and has a great restaurant, too.
As far as wineries, start at Field Stone, I’ll let you know if our friend will be there while you’re there. This is the winery where Jim and I got married. On the same road, go to:
Hanna: A very pretty winery with both reds and whites.
Stryker Sonoma: This is the one that has the great zinfandels. All their reds are wonderful.
J Vineyards: Great champagne and pinot noirs. Also beautiful winery.
Gary Farrell: Also wonderful wines in a beautiful setting.
There are a lot of other wineries along the road between these but try to hit these. Have a great time!