Alright – enthusiastic travelers, fellow badgers and friends, let’s explore new places and do some MORE fun, “Bakar” on this long weekend. Ready……….. 1………….2……………3…………Po 🙂
Being spontaneous with no plan is so cool and gives you a “YO” feeling but still I am putting a tentative Plan A for the trip here!
1. Let’s start early between 6-7 AM and head to Point Reyes National Park to avoid long weekend traffic in bay area as everyone will be travelling and imagine Highway1 and others going to Yosemite, Tahoe or Napa Valley – Full on Kumbh ka Mela feeling :). Point Reyes is one of the top ten destination in bay area as per Trip Advisor and many go there for weekend getaway and hiking. See this: http://www.quora.com/What-are-good-campsites-hikes-near-Point-Reyes. We have three options – one is to go through San Francisco Golden Gate bridge and others are around. If we leave early we can probably go through golden gate as the view will be awesome. For maps – put Point Reyes Lighthouse. (Miles: ~110, Hours: ~2 – 2:30 depending on traffic, Time we can spend: if we reach early we can hike and stay as late as noon or depends on everyone).
2. Between 10-11 AM – we can leave from Point Reyes to Sonoma County, CA which is not very far for some awesome sightseeing and wine tasting. There is always something new to learn when you taste and choose wine and since Sonoma is one of the best in the country – it will be fun.
We can try couple of wineries from the top 13 mentioned below and can head our way to Napa Valley. Point Reyes to Sonoma County is ~50 miles, Time: ~1-1:30 Hours drive (since its single lane and we may stop at multiple places for pictures – don’t forget we are only 4 boys 😉 ). Check this out: http://www.sonomacounty.com/articles/13-sonoma-county-wineries-you-should-know
3. Sonoma Valley to Napa Valley is approximately 15-20 miles and ~30 minutes drive through beautiful valleys. Few of the top rated vineyards are: Pride Mountain Vineyards, O`Brien Estate Winery, etc. But what I have heard is that wine tasting is very expensive and Napa Valley and Sonoma are in general expensive. So people have recommended to either get a wine instead of tasting or look for coupons and free tasting here: Coupons and Free Wine Tasting.
Some free music seems to be in River Terrace Inn, Lorn Leber that we can check out based on how much time we have.
4. At night whenever everyone is ready, done for the day, want to relax – we leave for our Hotel : America’s Best Value Inn. Miles ~70 from Napa Valley, Time ~1 hour 20 minutes.
5. We leave between 9-10 after having breakfast and hit the road to Fort Bragg and Mendocino coastal village.
Fort Bragg, CA is a small village and visitors have really enjoyed the small town glass beach and state parks. Few of the top rated parks and beach are: Glass Beach – Fort Bragg, Mackerricher state park and Russian gulch state park. I am sure we cannot do all of them so we can probably pick up the best and spend more time on beach and coastal trails so that after lunch we can head back to our town for 4th of July Fireworks. Miles from Hotel to these places: ~70 and Time: ~1:30 minutes considering traffic. Things to do in Mendocino, CA.
6. Head back home from Mendocino, CA to Santa Clara. Miles: ~200 and Time ~ 4 hours. So, if we leave by 3PM we will be back in town well in time before fireworks start (09:30 PM at most places). If we are late somehow we can still enjoy fireworks at many places on our way back. Check this: 4th of July Fireworks.
This is just a tentative plan that I have put it here so that we know what we can do when we are on vacation and cruising in Bay Area. It will be nice to check our vineyards beforehand as going through all will be difficult, time consuming and embarrassing if we come out after knowing how expensive they are (without tasting – by saying – we were just checking out, we will let you know and secretively slide away).
So lets pack and get ready. For those who are foreign citizens – a proof of identification is required while traveling and drinking wine so don’t forget. Also, keep your phone chargers, GPS and awesome songs. If you are an Indian and have little interest in photography I am sure you’ll have DSLR or a big camera (if not Iphone Rocks !! ).