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AFAR Explorer′s Wishlist
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8501 CA-128, Philo, CA 95466, USA
This unpretentious tasting room is set in gorgeous country. Stop for a picnic--and some sips of brut rose--if you're cutting across the Anderson Valley en route to the Mendocino Coast.
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1429 Tubbs Lane, Calistoga, CA 94515, USA
Established in 1882, the Chateau has been carefully restored and maintained by the Barrett family (Bo,of Bottle Shock fame, is still making the wine) and was recently placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The winery is famous for...
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4045 St Helena Hwy, Calistoga, CA 94515, USA
Castello di Amorosa ia an architectural adventure for the whole family right in the middle of Napa Valley. Based on fourth generation winemaker Dario Sattui’s passion for medieval history, he spent 14 years constructing the replica of a...
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1236 Lincoln St, Calistoga, CA 94515, USA
Tasting wine is a favorite pastime that's enjoyable pretty much anywhere, but especially so when there's a funky old Airstream involved. The Grade Cellars in Calistoga makes the most delicious Sauvignon Blanc called Sea Fog. If you're every...
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6528 Washington St, Yountville, CA 94599, USA
$$$$
Oh, Bouchon! Don't let the long line out the door discourage you—these delicious pastries are well worth the wait and the outdoor café tables make for a lovely spot to dig in once you're handed your treats.
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Boonville, CA 95415, USA
Boonville, a tiny town in the middle of California's Anderson Valley, is proudly anti-establishment and idiosyncratic. The area has its own language, and a radical newspaper that isn't afraid to print controversial stories. The last time I passed...
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490 Pacific Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133, USA
$$$$
Cotogna is dangerously close to the AFAR Media offices. This rustic sister restaurant to Quince opened last year, and the roomy bar is a cozy place to sit mid-day with a double espresso served neat in a Heath Ceramics cup. The pastas are all...
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20 Healdsburg Ave, Healdsburg, CA 95448, USA
The Russian River Valley in Sonoma County is a wonderful day trip from San Francisco. Pack a picnic and reserve a raft from SOAR Inflatables, and spend a summer day moseying down the river. Go early or late in the season to avoid crowds and have...
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CA-1, Bodega Bay, CA 94923, USA
Many car commercials have been filmed along this stretch of the iconic California road. The hairpin turns and switchbacks make it a wild ride for some, but the views to the west (the ocean) and the east (Northern California's inimitable green...
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Johnson Pier, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019, USA
You came all the way to San Francisco and you're going to let some stranger in a chef's hat cook your dungeness crab for you? Pshaw. There's a little-known alternative, even among locals, that's far more fun: Zip down the coast half an hour to...
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Petaluma Ave, Sebastopol, CA 95472, USA
The Sea Ranch, a community located three hours north of San Francisco on the coast, comes close to Utopia for me. Founded by a group of UC Berkeley architects in the 1960s, Sea Ranch was conceived as a rustic escape from the city. The houses are...
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47540 CA-1, Big Sur, CA 93920, USA
$$$$
The view from the Big Sur Bakery is right on par with the food. In the morning, fuel up on breakfast scones and strong coffee. After a day exploring the Henry Miller Library and Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, return at dusk for baby lettuces,...
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3400-3416 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA
Bernal Heights is one of my favorite neighborhoods in San Francisco. It's a little off the beaten path, but on a clear day the park at the top of the hill offers an amazing view of the city and the bay. On a foggy day, the park feels like the...
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Long Ave & Marine Dr, San Francisco, CA 94129, USA
FREE
The Golden Gate Bridge is probably the most photographed site in California, but this vantage point never gets old. Explore the hollowed out fort, learn some history, and marvel at the view from the top floor.
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Weott, CA 95571, USA
A popular stop along the Avenue of the Giants, the Dyerville Giant rendered me speechless today. This ancient tree, which stood for 1,600 years and grew to be 362 feet tall, fell to the ground in 1991. Its sheer size--the tree was taller than...
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19225 CA-1, Marshall, CA 94940, USA
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North of the little town of Point Reyes Station, the Marshall Store sits on the banks of Tomales Bay. I've been coming here for years after hiking or horseback riding or walking on the beach in Point Reyes National Seashore. The place is super...
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214 Healdsburg Ave, Healdsburg, CA 95448, USA
$$$$
After a day spent floating down the Russian River, happy hour at Mateo's hit the spot. We grabbed seats at the colorful bar and ordered tacones stuffed with olive oil guacamole and black bean puree with homemade chorizo. I paired the food with a...