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Planning a Girls Getaway - Questions on Where and What

Dayton, Ohio
posts: 52
reviews: 18
Planning a Girls Getaway - Questions on Where and What

Hi,

I've looked through the forum and the forum guides and I think I now have down what I need to ask to get started. I'm planning a trip with two of my friends from college - we're in our 40's.

We think we've decided on Sonoma County but I'm wavering a little and questioning if we should consider Napa Valley. That's my first question - Sonoma or Napa. I know I'm posting in the Sonoma forum but I know there are people on here who have been to both.

Once the general area is decided, I need to narrow down to a specific city and would appreciate any recommendations.

I know that a lot of these things are so dependent on the person so if you could bear with me, I'll let you know more about our little group. We're pretty casual in both dress and what we like - nothing fancy. Our taste in wine (which is the main reason we're going other than having fun together) is all over the board - sweet white all the way to dry red and everything in between.

We're going to rent a car but would like to minimize using it to get to dinner, shopping etc. In fact, I'd like to better understand how people handle getting to the wineries for tastings when no one wants to be the designated driver.

We enjoy a nice meal out but it doesn't have to be anything fancy. I personally like to eat natural, local foods if possible but we can't break the bank on this trip.

We don't need a nightclub scene - our idea of a fun evening out at home is dinner at a place that has a good margarita. We're going for the winery experience and to have a nice weekend away to catch up.

Last but not least, we're going the first week of November.

Any thoughts, ideas, etc. you can give me based on what I've said, would be great. I hope I wasn't too verbose.

Kimberly

Santa Cruz...
Destination Expert
for Santa Cruz
posts: 27,187
reviews: 6
1. Re: Planning a Girls Getaway - Questions on Where and What

I think you might enjoy the historic town of Sonoma, built around an 11-acre Plaza during the Mexican occupation of the early 1830's.

MacArthur Place and Spa might fit the bill. It is the former estate of a San Francisco newspaperman years ago, now turned into a resort, with the addition of modern accommodations on the property. I do not know if the original manor house is used for lodging. I don't think so. The former barn (he raised trotting ponies as a hobby) is now a restaurant...Saddles.

http://www.macarthurplace.com/index.php

This is walking distance, although several blocks, from the Sonoma Plaza, around which are several good restaurants. Also historic buildings now housing boutiques and a couple of hotels.

Another is a smaller, but lovely Four Sisters property, only a block from the Plaza, Inn at Sonoma.

http://www.innatsonoma.com/

And if you want fancier, the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa. This is two miles from town, in Boyes Hot Springs, and you would need to drive into town for dinner unless you too all your meals there, it is a self-contained resort, with not much around it of interest.

http://www.fairmont.com/sonoma/

There are several good wineries near the town, some of which, if you are good walkers, you can walk to, (get a map from the visitors center in the Plaza) and many more in the 18-mile Sonoma Valley, going north.

Here is a website with some videos which will give you an idea of the scenery and the atmosphere of Sonoma and the Valley.

http://www.sonomauncorked.com/

Napa, CA
Destination Expert
for Napa
posts: 5,452
reviews: 22
2. Re: Planning a Girls Getaway - Questions on Where and What

Sonoma is a great choice. It was featured on the Bachelor TV show last year and the contestants stayed at the Farimont Sonoma Mission Inn.

If you are concerned about tasting and driving, you can hire a driver for the day or join an organized tour. There are several in Sonoma that get good reviews. Here's a couple:

www.platypustours.com/sonoma-wine-tasting.php

http://www.sonomavalleywinetrolley.com/

If you don't have specific wineries in the other regions you want to visit, then Sonoma would be a fine choice for your first wine holiday.

Healdsburg, CA
posts: 476
reviews: 16
3. Re: Planning a Girls Getaway - Questions on Where and What

The first weekend in November in the Healdsburg area is an event called the Wine and Food Affair, hosted by the Wine Road. You get a ticket which lets you go to any of the participating wineries all weekend, and the wineries all have special food pairings that weekend. It is a fun event if you're interested. The restaurants will be a littler busier than November usually is, so if you choose the Healdsburg area for that weekend, I would recommend booking reservations in advance.

The Silver Service is a great, smaller local driver service that has Mercedes and Land Rover vehicles.

Innkeeper Mandie

Honor Mansion

posts: 28,701
reviews: 767
4. Re: Planning a Girls Getaway - Questions on Where and What

We have stayed at Sonoma Mission Inn 4 times, it's wonderful there! :)

Dayton, Ohio
posts: 52
reviews: 18
5. Re: Planning a Girls Getaway - Questions on Where and What

The Wine and Food Affair sounds great! Thanks for letting me know about it. I think we may have found a place in Sonoma so now my question is, is Sonoma too far from the Food and Wine Affair? I looked into some places in Healdsburg and couldn't really find anything that fit our requirements. I'd need to sacrifice our budget a bit.

Thank you all so much for your advice and help!

Santa Cruz...
Destination Expert
for Santa Cruz
posts: 27,187
reviews: 6
6. Re: Planning a Girls Getaway - Questions on Where and What

Healdsburg is not that far from the town of Sonoma. It is about 20 miles north on Hwy 12 to Sonoma then 15 miles north on Hwy 101 (freeway) to Healdsburg.

Napa, CA
Destination Expert
for Napa
posts: 5,452
reviews: 22
7. Re: Planning a Girls Getaway - Questions on Where and What

Actually, Santa Rosa is between Sonoma and Healdsburg which are about an hour apart when driving. If you want to be close to Healdsburg and on a budget, Santa Rosa or Windsor would be your best option.

Santa Cruz...
Destination Expert
for Santa Cruz
posts: 27,187
reviews: 6
8. Re: Planning a Girls Getaway - Questions on Where and What

But Santa Rosa and Windsor do not have the kind of facilities for a girls getaway that OP is looking for.

Dayton, Ohio
posts: 52
reviews: 18
9. Re: Planning a Girls Getaway - Questions on Where and What

I've looked at Santa Rosa and I think it's too big for what we're looking for. In looking I narrowed our budget down to around $250-275/night for 3 of us. The bigger hotels were out of that range. What I found was a cottage for $260 in Sonoma. When I started looking around the Healdsburg area, I realized I would need to look at specialty lodging or cottages or resign myself to paying that type of money for a Hampton Inn (not an appetizing thought). Unfortunately the cottages I found were too small or looked like my Grandma's house and I had already found the lovely looking place in Sonoma. If I need to take a harder look in the Healdsburg area, I will.

I don't understand how The Wine and Food Affair works other than you travel around to different wineries. If we would be doing that south of Healdsburg, I wasn't sure if it would still be reasonable to stay in Sonoma. We're going to get there on Friday and leave on Tuesday. I'm not sure if that makes a difference. This has been an evolving process so that's why I didn't have more of this information when I first asked my question. I've been researching and planning as I've seen your responses.

Thank you all so much!

Edited: 10:10 am, February 25, 2013
Santa Cruz...
Destination Expert
for Santa Cruz
posts: 27,187
reviews: 6
10. Re: Planning a Girls Getaway - Questions on Where and What

If you have a reasonable lodging you like in Sonoma I don't think I would change it for an event elsewhere. There are plenty of wineries in the Sonoma Valley, some with food pairings.