Wandering in our “backyard” is often forgotten yet never disappointing. Just an hour north of San Francisco is home to amazing coastlines, beautiful waters, bountiful food and tasty wines. Furthermore, exploring in September when grapes are ready to harvest, fog may hang further offshore and families are back into the school routine open opportunities for locals like us.
The Napa Valley and Sonoma Coast never disappoint.
The difference between a weekday and a weekend in Dillon Beach at the mouth of Tomales Bay is …. well, the pictures say it all.
Beyond natural beauty, the Tomales Bay area is home to oyster farms, dairies, breweries and vineyards resulting a plethora of delicious food options. Dillon Beach’s Coastal Kitchen satisfied the desire for a frosty cold beer and tasty sandwiches. The Marhsall store delivered on the oyster front.
Leaving Dillon heading north along the Pacific coast brought us to the fishing village of Bodega Bay. Alfred Hitchcock’s film, The Birds, made Bodega Bay famous for birds and bird attacks. While birds are plentiful, visits to beaches, dunes, galleries and restaurants left us unscathed.
With Dungeness Crab season delayed, many boats remained in harbor. For the past several years, delays are common due to large numbers of migrating whales in danger of getting caught in fishing equipment. low meat quality and presence of neurotoxins.
Both the Doran Regional Park and the Porto Bodega Marina RV Park served as fabulous waterfront camp sites.
Driving the Sonoma Coast never disappoints regardless of the weather.
Ready for some “city” life, Napa beckoned. Fall in the Napa Valley is a great time to visit. Temperatures cool allowing for pleasant walking, biking or hiking. The vines are lush ready for or just finishing harvest. Wildfire threats are slightly less.
Wine tasting, kayaking, exploring and music filled the agenda.
The tasting experiences in Napa keep getting better – sparkling wine on the terrace at Mumm, reds on the veranda at Cliff Lede, fabulous foods from the garden accompanied by wines with the “Root to Table” experience at Robert Sinskey.
Blue Note at Napa at the Charles Krug Winery made for a delightful afternoon.
While Napa is known for wines, the Napa River winds 55 miles down from Mt St. Helena (not Mt St. Helens) to San Pablo Bay. Being a tidal river, kayaking can either be a float or a strenuous paddled depending on the tides.
Lake Hennessey made for easy paddling and great bird watching
Every exploration out of San Francisco reminds us of the diverse wealth of outdoor beauty to explore.
After a fun filled three weeks, Gromit returned to storage in Fairfield to rest up before the next adventure.
As a new tradition, we bid goodbye to Gromit with a visit to Heretic Brewing for lunch and a pint to spin yarns of the recent trip and to dream of the next one.