San Francisco is located just south of some of the country’s best wine tasting regions. So, when I started planning my visit, I knew I wanted to spend a day checking them out. I had been to Napa a few years earlier, so I was excited when I found out that Extranomical Tours offered a day trip to another famous region, Sonoma, combined with a trip to the Muir Woods, another area near the city that I was eager to see. The tour started out bright and early with a pick up in downtown San Francisco. I had been nervous that we would be utilizing some giant mega bus, so I was pleasantly surprised when a small 10 person van pulled up.
Our guide Bernie greeted us and filled us in on the history of the Muir Woods as we picked up the other passengers and headed out to the National Monument.
The Muir Woods are amazing. In a relatively short walk through the park you can see many of the historic (and super super tall) redwoods. Again, I was nervous that we would be shuffled through the park in some embarrassing “follow the flag” tour, but Bernie had filled us in on all the information during our drive so we were free to walk around the trees at our own pace during the visit.
San Francisco is still chilly in February even though the sun is out. I spotted this red roof-free beast as we departed the park. The members of our group quickly nicknamed it the “misery bus” since we couldn’t imagine how awful it would be to be touring the mountains without an enclosed seat.
Our next stop was Sonoma and our first winery. I’m not a wine expert (although I have seen Bottleshock twice), so I was glad when we got a private wine tasting room to learn about the wines we would be tasting.
Not only was the wine delicious (obviously), Sonoma’s scenery is amazing. After the tasting we had plenty of time to sit outside and enjoy another glass (and head back inside for a little more tasting). Unlike many of the wineries I have visited in the past, the tastings were complimentary. Jacuzzi Winery also gave us a 15% discount for being part of the Extranomical Group.
An interesting fact about the Jacuzzi Winery is that it was established by the same family that invented the famous Hot Tubs. (Don’t worry, I asked if they had some on site…sadly they did not)
For lunch, we went to the adorable Sonoma town center. Bernie was able to point out several great restaurants (we ended up at “The Girl and the Fig”) as well as some fun historic sites. We had time for a leisurely lunch, a stroll around town, and a visit to the “Cheese Factory” to do some sampling. After lunch, we visited our final winery, Cline Winery. In addition to more wine tasting, Cline had some fun sites to check out- most notable: a collection of California Mission models and an exotic Asian bird zoo. I also spotted this extremely necessary accessory in the gift shop:
After we finished our wine tasting, me and my intrepid travel companion, Meggie, gratefully climbed back into the bus to enjoy the trip back to San Francisco. On the way, we stopped for a wonderful view of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Overall, it was a fun and relaxing way to see some of the highlights outside of the city. I’ll be back later this week with some more of my pictures from the trip. _________________________________________________________________________
Although Extranomical Tours provided a complementary tour in exchange for my review, all thoughts and opinions are my own. The Redwoods and Wine Country Tour is available year round from San Francisco. For more information and booking please click here.