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Bay Area Bucket List

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Just moved to the Bay Area like me? Time to write down every single thing you come across that you want to eat/drink/do. Believe me, there will be many.
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Russian Hill, San Francisco, CA, USA
Roam Artisan Burgers on Union Street in San Francisco is not your typical burger joint. The interiors are an artsy blend of wood, glass, and recycled fixtures and burgers can be made with a beef, turkey, veggie, bison, or elk patty. I can vouch...
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1 Muir Woods Rd, Mill Valley, CA 94941, USA
It's hard to believe that I had lived in Marin for 13 years before learning about the Tourist Club on Mt. Tam. This past weekend my friends and I hiked from downtown Mill Valley, starting on the Dipsea Trail and following it to the Sun Trail,...
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2821 California St, San Francisco, CA 94115, USA
You'll have a hard time ever leaving B. Patisserie, and you'll know why it's been an over night sensation in lower Pac Heights. The open, modern space feels like something you'd find in the Marais in Paris, and the fact that you can view the...
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833 Cortland Ave, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA
Delicious sweet treat with perfectly ripe fruit and slightly sweetened cheese. Take your treats and sit on a bench to watch the locals stroll by or head up to the top of Bernall Hill with a view of San Francisco to the East Bay.
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3876 Noriega St, San Francisco, CA 94122, USA
This bakery just opened across the street from Woodshop. It’s a godsend. It’s been rough finding good coffee out here, but they serve Blue Bottle Coffee and breakfast sandwiches on house-baked biscuits.”
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600 Guerrero St, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA
With no sign above its unassuming storefront, Tartine is most easily recognized by the line that snakes out its door and down Guerrero Street. People patiently wait for flaky pains au chocolat (the best outside Paris, in my opinion), decadent...
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47540 CA-1, Big Sur, CA 93920, USA
The Big Sur Bakery and Restaurant serves housemade granola, ginger scones, and seasonal fruit strudels in a cabin built in 1937. Wood-fired pizzas, with toppings such as squash and prosciutto, stand out on the dinner menu, and the blackberry...
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90 Railroad Ave, Danville, CA 94526, USA
This little coffeehouse and kitchen is located in the historic Danville Hotel. I have to say, with so many great places in the San Francisco Bay Area to get local homemade food, this has to be in the top. All the recipes come from the owner and...
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Lafayette Reservoir, Lafayette, CA 94549, USA
Lafayette Reservoir means tail-wagging fun to man's best friend for a 2.7 mile walk around the lake. For those who want to get their heart pumping, the Rim Trail offers a serious workout of up and down hills. But if you want to cast a line into...
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Mt Diablo, California 94598, USA
On a clear day, Mount Diablo yields some incredible views in the country. Literally, it has one of the highest viewsheds in the U.S. The state-designated trail can get confusing-- our group ended "hiking" for a long period of time up the road to...
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Wildcat Canyon Rd, Orinda, CA 94563, USA
You'll love the views you'll have of the EBMUD Watershed while you're hiking or mountain biking along Nimitz Way in both Wildcat Canyon Regional Park and Tilden Regional Park. The views really open up once you're in the area considered the Bay...
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1 Muir Woods Rd, Mill Valley, CA 94941, USA
Just 12 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge is Muir Woods National Monument, a 554-acre park; old-growth coast redwoods, the tallest trees in the world, cover 295 of those acres. Peaceful and lush, the forest is ideal for simply communing with...
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U.S. 101, San Francisco, CA 94109, USA
Just north of the golden gate is a wonderful winding road with beautiful views of the Golden Gate and San Francisco. This is great for a long bike ride or quick road trip out of the city.
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1 Point Reyes-Petaluma Rd, Inverness, CA 94937, USA
Miles and miles of secluded beaches, wildlife and, if lucky, gorgeous weather, puts Point Reyes on my top 10 list of places I can go to again and again and again. Thank God Americans realized they need to preserve places like these.
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Bodega Head, Bodega Bay, CA 94923, USA
After weeks of increasing stress from the daily grind of work and family responsibilities, I spent one perfect weekend in Bodega Bay, on the coast of California north of San Francisco. The highlight was a walk on Bodega Head, a piece of land that...
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California, USA
Its a long haul from San Francisco, but so magical when you arrive you almost forget how long you've been in the car.
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80 4th St, Point Reyes Station, CA 94956, USA
This is another place I immediately return to when I'm in the Bay Area. It's a cheese lover's temple! I loved this salad pictured that I had. It was also my first picture of San Francisco! I must say that the Mount Tam is one of my favourite...
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680 Point Lobos Ave, San Francisco, CA 94121, USA
San Francisco is not only a beautiful city, but it is also home to some exquisite natural landscapes, such as Lands End. I will never forget the first time I hiked the main Coastal Trail: I couldn't believe I was still in a city because of the...
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One, Ferry Building, San Francisco, CA 94111, USA
If Chinatown is one of San Francisco’s most historic neighborhoods, continue walking for another ten minutes and you’ll arrive at one of its newest attractions, the Ferry Building. Actually, the building itself is not new, having been completed in...
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Alamo Square, San Francisco, CA, USA
Alamo Square is home of the "Painted Ladies," eclectic musicians, and some of the most incredible views of San Fransisco. The trolleys won't take you all the way there, but cabs are easy to catch. We couldn't have chosen a better way to burn the...
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100 John F Kennedy Dr, San Francisco, CA 94118, USA
The Victorian-era glass and wood structure, which looks like a sugar-coated castle atop a grassy slope, is Golden Gate Park's oldest building. It's also one of San Francisco's most splendid historic sites. Wander through five different galleries...
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We who live in the San Franciso Bay Area area blessed in more ways than possible to mention and here's yet another. Andy Goldsworthy, the sculpture, has two of his projects in our Presidio. This is his spire and the other is fallen logs. Thank god...
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Twin Peaks, San Francisco, CA, USA
The best views of San Francisco are from the top of Twin Peaks, the two hills that are located in the geographic center of the city. Only from Twin Peaks can you get a 360-degree view of the entire city. If you are lucky, on a clear day you can...
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4001 Judah St, San Francisco, CA 94122, USA
Outerlands is an Outer Sunset institution. The small restaurant near Ocean Beach serves local, organic cuisine in a rustic-chic setting. Covered floor-to-ceiling in warm, rough-hewn wood, the interior invites lingering over an artisan cocktail or...
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4035 Judah St, San Francisco, CA 94122, USA
An artist and an architect curate a cool mix of practical things here. You’ll find books on furniture and design, and interesting items like wooden radios and pencil sets. Lots of it is handmade. The store also sells chairs and tables that Luke...
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1529 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94115, USA
Nicole Krasinski describes the novel concept of her restaurant State Bird Provisions as “dim sum and a great hors d’oeuvre party morphed into one experience.” She and her husband, chef Stuart Brioza, prepare beautifully executed...
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754 Post St, San Francisco, CA 94109, USA
This place is tiny, but it's one of my favorite places in my neighborhood. The menu is small so there are only a few choices, but no matter what you get, you'll be happy. Make sure to try the iced coffee. It's made with chicory, the way it's done...
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I discovered this Marin Headlands view of the Golden Gate Bridge on one of my very first trips to San Francisco. In my three-plus years living in the Bay Area, I still haven’t found a view to top it. My favorite time to visit is just after sunset,...
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Presidio, San Francisco, CA, USA
A few blocks east of Goldsworthy's more prominent Spire is this installation of fallen trees snaking through the still standing ones. Wood Line is located within the cypress grove near the intersection of Presidio Boulevard and West Pacific...
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Ocean Beach, San Francisco, CA, USA
Ocean Beach is a massive, four-mile-long stretch of sand. Surfers talk about it in terms of the block they surf. I surf Pacheco or Moraga Street. This story appeared in the January/February 2012 issue.
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24898 Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway, Burney, CA 96013, USA
only 4 hours up north of san francisco is Burney Falls State Park. The 129 ft falls is a beautiful Oasis set among pristine forest area. There are campgrounds not far from the falls and you can catch Rainbow Trout in the picturesque river..... The...
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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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Lands End Trail, San Francisco, CA 94121, USA
Land's End in San Francisco is an easy hike with huge payoff. This labyrinth sits just below the Legion of Honor parking lot and the Lincoln Park golf course. You can then scramble down to a beautiful rocky beach.
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3639 Taraval, San Francisco, CA 94116, USA
The Riptide is a fun bar with a brick fireplace. It is a great place to hang out in the winter. They host a surf movie night on Wednesdays. 3639 Taraval St., (415) 681-8433, riptidesf.com. This story appeared in the January/February 2012 issue.
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4500 Irving St, San Francisco, CA 94122, USA
Mollusk is a neighborhood surf shop that sells clothing and great boards. They carry my surfboards and handplanes [for body surfing]. They occasionally host art shows and live music. The shop is sort of like the cornerstone of the Sunset. 4500...
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375 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94103, USA
A key player in the "third wave" coffee movement is Four Barrel Coffee, founded by Jeremy Tooker—who has a particular love for light roasts and the bright, acidic flavors that come with this method. Don’t let that description deter you, though;...
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390 Capistrano Rd, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019, USA
It may be a little cold and foggy on the the patio at the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company. And certainly a pint or two of their microbrew will refresh more than heat your insides. But don't worry, there are heat lamps over the picnic table or a few...
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Ferry Building, One San Francisco Bay Trail #8, San Francisco, CA 94111, USA
Blueberry Boy Bait may sound like a B-side song from an alternative band, but it's actually just an ice cream flavor offered by Humphry Slocombe, a small shop in the Mission District. Owner and former pastry chef Jake Godby has made the name...
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3674 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA
18 Reasons is a new type of community center—one that connects San Franciscans to food and food to community. The goal is to they teach San Franciscans how to cook and eat together. Run by the locally famous Bi-Rite organization in the heart of...
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525 Laguna St, San Francisco, CA 94102, USA
For traditional German food in a cozy setting reminiscent of a traditional Bavarian Wirsthaus, you can’t beat Suppenküche in Hayes Valley. Owner Fabrizio Wiest, who was born and raised in Germany, worked as a graphic designer before he moved to ...
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20063 Cabrillo Hwy S, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019, USA
San Francisco is a great starting point for a road trip. Drive north or south on the HWY 1 and you're bound to find fun towns, beautiful winding roads and gorgeous coastal scenery. This cave is about an hour drive south of San Francisco, and then...
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2534 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA
The date-night dinner-and-a-movie standard has been taken to a new stylish height at this acclaimed restaurant in the Mission District. Grab a table on the patio under the strings of lights to dine on seasonal California cuisine while...
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500 Brannan St, San Francisco, CA 94107, USA
Located in the SoMa neighborhood of San Francisco, Marlowe's is a great little neighborhood spot with delicious burgers and a wide beer selection. But one treat they are known for are their Brussels sprout chips—they'll turn any veggie hater into...
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3885 Cesar Chavez, San Francisco, CA 94131, USA
Celia Sack’s store devoted to food- and drink-related books also serves as a gathering place for San Francisco chefs, foodies, and visiting authors. For anyone who collects cookbooks or rare first editions, it’s a worthy stop. The staff is...
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3621 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA
There's nothing more San Fransisco (or hipster) than buying a margharita (with pepperoni) and taking it to Dolores Park for some prime people watching. It may be easier than getting a seat in the restaurant. Don't forget the chilli flakes! How I...
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52801 California State Route 1, Big Sur, CA 93920, USA
After five hours in the car, I was more than happy to hop out and hike the 1.4 miles out to Pfeiffer Burns State Park and get the prize of a beautiful waterfall. The water's color is an unreal sea blue/green that I have never seen before. The best...
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8555 Sonoma Hwy, Kenwood, CA 95452, USA
Sonoma and Napa counties have hundreds of wineries that have tasting rooms set among the golden hills of the area. It's rare to find a winery where you can enjoy this scenery as much as the wine served in the tasting room. At Chateau St. Jean,...
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1 Point Reyes-Petaluma Rd, Inverness, CA 94937, USA
The craggy-rock view from the top of the staircase out to the Point Reyes National Seashore looks just fine from the top. But you didn't drive all this way to stand at the top while everyone else descends to see the historic Point Reyes...
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Half Moon Bay, CA, USA
Leave San Francisco and meander along Highway 1 to Half Moon Bay. It's a little hamlet of a town with a few restaurants, general stores, and a wide open beach. It's a popular surf spot where you'll rarely see any water-destined individual without...
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400 Gate 5 Rd, Sausalito, CA 94965, USA
Heath Ceramics was founded in 1948 by Edith Heath. Today it is one of the most lasting examples of midcentury American design. Heath is famous for its tableware collections, as well as its tile. The colors are amazing, and their bud vases make for...
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2601 Monarch St, Alameda, CA 94501, USA
At St. George Spirits, a liquor distiller located inside a huge hangar on the decommissioned Alameda Naval Base, you can learn all about alcohol production—and you can taste all-natural vodkas, gins, Eau de Vie, whiskeys, and more. The tour lasts...
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560 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117, USA
At the restaurant Nopa in San Francisco's Western Addition, the long bar and communal tables are perfect places to perch on a weeknight. Go early, order an elderflower gimlet or a sparkling, minty Old Cuban (both off-menu). Don't miss the Mission...
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3308 Grand Ave, Oakland, CA 94610, USA
Boot and Shoe Service is the spinoff restaurant to Pizzaiolo, which has been my favorite spot in Oakland since it opened in 2006. Boot and Shoe, its slightly more casual little sister, serves the same pizza--a blistery and crisp crust topped with...
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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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442 Hyde St, San Francisco, CA 94109, USA
Despite its tongue-in-cheek name, this sweets shop and cafe located in the gritty Tenderloin district is one of my favorite finds in San Francisco. The salted caramels here melt in your mouth. They also have a good variety of coffees from...
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355 11th St, San Francisco, CA 94103, USA
If their New American–style brunch and dinner menus don’t tempt you to Bar Agricole, in SOMA, maybe their recent James Beard Award nomination for Outstanding Bar Program will. Cocktails run at $11 across the board, and head bartenders Thad Vogler...
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30 Ridge Ave, Mill Valley, CA 94941, USA
I've lived in San Francisco for two years and had always heard rumors of a magical beer garden that you could hike to over in Marin. My friend Marisa and I finally embarked on a Saturday adventure to see if it really existed. There are two main...
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1634 Jerrold Ave, San Francisco, CA 94124, USA
Even the blackest of thumbs can find inspiration at Flora Grubb’s eponymous nursery—or at least a good cup of coffee. Grubb runs the enormous space (complete with Ritual Coffee Roasters bar) with a gallery-like ethos, rotating in new displays...
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One, Ferry Building, San Francisco, CA 94111, USA
This is one of my favorite activities in all of San Francisco! The owner of Hiking Yoga, Eric, combines his love of hiking and yoga with his passion for leading tours. While you're hiking the butt-burning hills of SF, expect a little history...
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1001 Minnesota St, San Francisco, CA 94107, USA
They had me at the yellow building. I love wandering the Dogpatch neighborhood of San Francisco and both Piccino restaurant and separate coffee bar, are lovely places to gather. The coffee bar on 22nd Street serves carefully crafted Sightglass...
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6711 Washington St, Yountville, CA 94599, USA
This venue is temporarily closed for renovations, 10/2018. Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley is a well-curated art gallery and wine tasting room set amidst an eclectic sculpture garden. At this Napa Valley tasting room, originally built in 1904 as a private...
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6126 Silverado Trail, Napa, CA 94558, USA
This Napa Valley winery is the only structure in the United States designed by the famed Austrian artist, architect, and ecologist Friedensreich Hundertwasser (1928-2000). The building's playfulness will put a big smile on your face, and best of...
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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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1425 1st St, Napa, CA 94559, USA
It was my first dinner out in Downtown Napa (the new place to be in Napa Valley), and it set the bar very high for the rest of my stay. My dinner at Oenotri was one of the best I've ever had. From the salad of beets, arugula, and oranges, the...
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610 1st St, Napa, CA 94559, USA
Think of the Oxbow like a high-end shopping mall for food and wine. On the east side of the Napa River, the market brings together a number of epicurean purveyors under one roof (well, technically, it’s three different roofs). The result:...
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813 Main St, Napa, CA 94559, USA
How good is the brunch at the Thomas in downtown Napa? So good that sometimes I wake up on a Sunday morning thinking about their banana and nutella-stuffed French toast or the BLAT (bacon, lettuce, tomato, and avocado...with an egg on top, of...
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875 Rutherford Rd, Napa, CA 94558, USA
Wine, as they say, belongs at the table. Yet most tasting rooms offer only the wine. For a richer experience, seek out wineries that offer food pairings or, better yet, an entire meal. At Robert Sinskey winery, cookbook author and Chef Maria Helm...
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8815 Conn Creek Rd, Rutherford, CA 94573, USA
Before there can be quality wine, or even quality grapes, there needs to be quality dirt. Frog’s Leap Winery is located in one of the most coveted patches of dirt in the Napa Valley — Rutherford. Which is why, when you visit, owner John Williams...
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20215 Shoreline Hwy, Marshall, CA 94940, USA
Stop at Scribe Winery and pick up a bottle of their newly released rosé to pair with oysters at Hog Island in Marshall, CA. Picnic tables overlook Tomales Bay and must be reserved in advance. Throw the oysters on the grill or eat them raw and don’...
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16228 Main St, Guerneville, CA 95446, USA
Fuel up for a hike at the nearby Armstrong Redwoods reserve at the Big Bottom Market in Guerneville. You'll find snacks, such as cured meats, artisanal pickles, and local cheeses, to enjoy in the picnic area. For something heartier, order the...
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219 Healdsburg Ave, Healdsburg, CA 95448, USA
The 36-room h2 Hotel in Healdsburg is the perfect Sonoma base. Guests can explore the green roof, lounge by the creekside pool, or rent bikes for cycling to nearby wineries.
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17000 Armstrong Woods Rd, Guerneville, CA 95446, USA
Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve in Guerneville offers easy one-mile hikes and strenuous nine-miles climbs. No matter which you choose, the scenery is spectacular. Look for Parson Jones, the tallest tree in the grove, which measures more...
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1474 Alexander Valley Rd, Healdsburg, CA 95448, USA
Jordan Winery’s new tour explores the 1,200-acre property via Mercedes-Benz coach and stops for wine and food pairings along the way. This appeared in the May 2014 issue.
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2100 Denmark St, Sonoma, CA 95476, USA
Scribe winery founded by 2 young brothers is making Sonoma hip. Appointment only tasting under the trees, 20 ft swings, outdoor dinners with some of the best SF chefs, prohibition era hacienda to become the new tasting room, and just pure hipness...
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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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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...
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7800 Eastside Rd, Healdsburg, CA 95448, USA
Last year Copain Winery in Sonoma started hosting guest chef dinners at its tasting room as part of a Supper Club Series. Copain's winemaker, Wells Guthrie, reaches out to some of his favorite chefs and sommeliers, like Bobby Stuckey and Lachlan...
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Fitch Mountain, California 95448, USA
Explore nearby Fitch Mountain and you can find a quiet little stretch of the river, a warm and mellow ribbon that runs 110 miles from all the way up near Willits down to the Pacific, near Jenner. Its name comes from Ivan Aleksandrovich Kuskov of...
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Healdsburg, CA 95448, USA
There's something about Healdsburg's grand old Queen Annes, stately Edwardians and rambling California farm houses that suggests another place and time. Walking around the warm, sun-dappled streets, you can't help but imagine the life you'd live...
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Healdsburg Ave & Matheson St, Healdsburg, CA 95448, USA
The city's annual summer concert series brings out every human within miles, for unseemly levels of pleasantness. Balmy evening, nibbles, smuggled wine, good music -- every town should drop everything and build a plaza.
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25 Matheson Street, Healdsburg, CA 95448, USA
With its quiet, leafy streets and chic destination restaurants, the town of Healdsburg is in many ways an intersection of two different vibes. The architecture of Hotel Healdsburg manages to capture them both and blend them seamlessly. It's a...
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25 Matheson Street, Healdsburg, CA 95448, USA
San Francisco summers may be frigid, but just 70 miles north it bakes. Hotel Healdsburg's jewel of a pool offers a welcome refuge from the strains of walking around leisurely and eating like a king.
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21401 E Cliff Dr, Santa Cruz, CA 95062, USA
Further south, in Santa Cruz, Taqueria Michoacan is located on a busy street and very hard to miss. This bright yellow taqueria, complete with festive murals on the exterior was a great setting for the exceptional taco I devoured here. Look out...