Friday, October 16, 2015

San Fran & Wine Country

Last Thursday Aaron and I jetted out on our first post-baby getaway and to celebrate our five year anniversary. We try to go somewhere each anniversary and I hope that is a tradition that continues.

This year we spent one night in San Francisco and two nights in Sonoma county. I scoured blog posts and travel guides to plan out our trips so I wanted to provide the same.

First up, we rented a car through Silver Car, and I would recommend it to anyone! While only in about 10 markets, you are guaranteed a new silver Audi A4 each time. The rate was cheaper than some comparable big chains and the best part is no lines. We seriously walked by rental counter lines about 30 people deep and right out to our waiting car. Next trip we take I will without a doubt see if Silver Car is there.

Le Meridien - Our hotel was in the financial district. While in a sleepy area at night, the rate was good and it was in walking distance of the Ferry Building. A perk of being a loyalty member is an upgraded room view. We were on the 23rd floor with a balcony view of the Bay Bridge... it was awesome!

Hog Island Oyster Company - We popped in here for lunch and it was great! The Ferry Building venue reminds me of Chelsea Market in NYC so the setting was very industrial and bustling. These oysters though... they could be the best I have ever had and those are high standards.

Fog Harbor Fish House - The restaurant was good but nothing to re-visit on the next visit out. The view was gorgeous though with a great view of the harbor.

Murray Circle Restaurant - We planned to eat at another place for breakfast but a long line prevented those plans. Thanks to Google Maps we found a hotel restaurant at Cavallo Point. This is a new resort in Sausilito over the Golden Gate Bridge and it is a beautiful place. My goat cheese omelet was perfection and Aaron's eggs benedict were not to be missed.

We walked a lot... like 6 miles a lot. We did the corny boat cruise but it was a great chance to see the city from water. They take you under the bridge which makes for some instagram worthy pics. We also rode the cable car which turned slightly scary when we got stuck on the top of a hill. Fisherman's Wharf is apparently the place to go but I thought it was a tacky tourist trap, if that is your thing.

After a visit to Muir Woods, we headed to wine country. We stayed at a Hampton Inn in Sonoma County for the price point but it was a hike to drive all over. I never realized how spread out everything was so plan accordingly before you visit. I did however pick up some places to check out for future trip accommodations. 

The goal of this trip was to reconnect and relax a little so I didn't plan too much or make too many reservations. In hindsight, I wish I had planned earlier to secure a tour time slot for one of the wineries. I did learn however that the smaller the winery, the better.

I heard great things about Frog's Leap Winery and wanted to give it a visit. This place was heaven. For starters the onsite house looked like a Pottery Barn magazine and the grounds were gorgeous gardens. They only take reservations so book early. We did the garden sitting and while I would have liked a guided tour, this was just as perfect. They let you roam the grounds which includes the barrel room and fermenting silos. And their wine... I tracked down the Atlanta stores that sell their bottles so I can stock up. 

We also stopped at two big wineries, Chateau St. Jean and Robert Mondavi, but I prefer the intimacy of the smaller venues.

Dinner was at Farmhouse Inn and it was one of the best meals I have ever had. I tried rabbit for the first time in my life and it was actually quite tasty! The best part was uninterrupted conversation and we got to finish a complete meal without running out with an over-done toddler.

The next day was a day to explore the towns of Napa and Sonoma and of course to partake in some wine. 

Domaine Carneros was a beautiful house with stunning views. And champs is my thing so of course I signed us up for sparkling wine. This was another very busy winery so expect crowds before you go as well as make a table reservation.

Artesa was our afternoon stop and the hilltop views were gorgeous. Another larger winery but we didn't need a reservation to partake. Note they were a little sparse with their pours and the were large groups that reminded me of college.

After walking around the precious town of Sonoma and watching an hour or two of the Alabama game in a local bar, we enjoyed dinner at El Dorado Kitchen. Both the risotto and heirloom tomato salad were superb!

Overall this was an amazing trip and one to reconnect with the Hubs. In hindsight, I wish we had splurged a little on our accommodations in wine country but lesson learned. Until next time!


  1. That looks like a fabulous trip! When we stayed at the Stanford Court on Nob Hill we had a great view of the Golden Gate Bridge and loved just sitting there and taking the view in!

  2. Loved reading about your trip and all of you recommendations. Thanks so much for sharing!