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Nappa Valley for non-drinkers

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Chattanooga...
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Nappa Valley for non-drinkers

My husband and I are driving from San Francisco to Mendocino in mid May for a little vacation. We have both been to SF before so don't plan to spend time there. We are both really excited about getting to Mendocino to enjoy some relaxation and ocean views. Nevertheless, I was wondering if it would be worth a short detour to Nappa Valley to enjoy whatever unique qualities it has to offer. For example; if the scenery there is beautiful.

We are not wine drinkers, so if that is the main thing that makes the area appealing I would like to know, so that we don't waste our time. Thanks!

Santa Cruz...
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1. Re: Nappa Valley for non-drinkers

If you are not into wine, then I would not go to Napa Valley. It is lovely, and full of vineyards but is out of your way on your trip to Mendocino. If you are not wine drinkers and dying to get to Mendocino (well worth it), I can give you a good route, but later. Just about to serve dinner.....but I think I can suggest a trip you would love. Will be back. <GRIN>

St. Helena...
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2. Re: Nappa Valley for non-drinkers

Agree with puter. If Napa Valley were closer to your route and you enjoyed wine, it would be worth a detour. But it is not a 'short' detour. Suggest you stay on the coast and enjoy a leisurely drive taking in all that the coast has to offer on your way to Mendo.

Chattanooga...
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3. Re: Nappa Valley for non-drinkers

OK, very helpful to know! Puter, when you get back I will be interested in any other input you have. We may manage to arrive in SF around 1:00 in the afternoon, which I think will allow us to take Highway 1/the scenic coastal highway. I would enjoy that, though perhaps not as enjoyable for my husband doing the driving. But we are in no hurry, just don't want to drive on that route in the dark.

Los Angeles
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4. Re: Nappa Valley for non-drinkers

There are green hills in the Spring. Even then, the scenery is much like you'd find in other areas similarly distant from the Coast. If you consider vineyards to be scenic, then yes.

Washington State
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5. Re: Nappa Valley for non-drinkers

Here is an article authored by Puter that can start your "North of SF" thinking: tripadvisor.com/Travel-g60713-c139373

Santa Cruz...
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6. Re: Nappa Valley for non-drinkers

Annie... it was good of PNWF to post my day drip from San Francisco;.....Look at it and I will get back to you tomorrow to suggest how to use it for a trip further north. We had a memorial service for a dear friend this afternoon and I am ready to go to bed and be my real self in the morning. I think we can suggest a wonderful trip through my favorite part of California.

Fort Bragg...
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7. Re: Nappa Valley for non-drinkers

If you go up the coast on Hwy 1 when you leave take 128 through Anderson Valley beautiful pastoral scenery, vineyards and redwoods. Check out Montgomery Woods, the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, MacKerricher State Park. Lots to see and do on the Mendocino Coast.

Santa Cruz...
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8. Re: Nappa Valley for non-drinkers

Annie,

My suggest trip north does not join the coast until Bodega Bay, after a turnoff from Hwy 101 at Petaluma. You can start the drive on Hwy 1 just over the Golden Gate Bridge and go past point Reyes National Seashore and Tomales Bay, but then it goes inland until Bodega Bay. You can do that, but it will add some time to the drive.

After you get to Bodega Bay, don't follow the directions to turn right onto 116 after you cross the Russian River. Just turn left to Jenner and stay on Hwy 1 all the way to Mendocino. The drive after Jenner to Fort Ross is spectacular, rivaling some of the Big Sur Coast. In the article there is a description of the drive from Jenner to Fort Ross, as a suggested detour from the main tour.

Hwy 128, suggested by FtBraggGall, is also a pretty drive, but not on the coast. You just stay on Hwy 101 to Cloverdale, 88 miles and then Hwy 128 goes diagonally over to coast a few miles south of Mendocino.

If you are not landing until 1:00, I would not suggest driving all the way to Mendocino that day. It will take you some time to get your luggage and rent a car and then you have to get through the city before you are really on your way. There will be places on the drive, whichever way you go, where you will want to stop and admire scenery, etc.

Chattanooga...
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9. Re: Nappa Valley for non-drinkers

OK, great feedback, ya'll!

Chattanooga...
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10. Re: Nappa Valley for non-drinkers

I think we want to spend our first night in Mendocino. We do want to stop along the way and admire some scenery, but hubby is eager to get to the destination. I'm more the one tempted to want to stop at every place along the way. But that's not going to fly.

This may not be doable, but is there some combination of part of the way on the faster route and part of the way on the scenic route? does that even make sense?

We want to get out of SF as quickly and efficiently as possible. We may need some tips on that, no matter what we do next if anyone has some hints on that.

Thanks so much, ya'll are great. And we are going to see the Botanical Garden and Mongomery Woods.