9/19/12 -- Sonoma and Napa Valleys

So, the next morning (see previous post), we drove east from Novato searching for a breakfast place, and all we spied were fields and cows, but no restaurants.  Rounding a corner many miles later, we passed a diner on the left that - while it wasn't exactly what we were looking for - was deemed acceptable.  I mean, it wasn't Dunkin Donuts. Jimmy made a quick U-turn and pulled into The Fremont Diner in Sonoma.  We were hungry and this place looked like it would fill us up!  And it did, and how!  Turns out we picked a famous diner.

Notice the decal on the old truck.  Oink-oink!

After stuffing ourselves, the four of us continued on our way to Napa.  We stopped at the Welcome Center for info and walked across a Napa River bridge to the Oxbow Market.  Glad we were still full, so we didn't buy anything... like candy.  Back in the car, we traveled on the Silverado Trail toward Calistoga, passing quite a few fine wineries; many of their entrances showcased by beautiful flower gardens. 

At Rutherford Hill Winery in Napa with its great valley views, we walked around the grounds examining their gardens and olive trees.  Here are Anne and Rus in the olive orchard.

The olive trees were loaded.

The above two pics were taken at Sterling Vineyards.
The vines were laden with grapes.  Picking had begun.

Nearing Calistoga, we saw this cool sculpture.

In Calistoga:  Of course we posed for a photo here!

Calistoga is a quaint Western town.  After a delicious outdoor lunch sitting under the trees at Pacifico Restaurante, we walked along the town streets and lucked up on a museum, that was really interesting and full of local history and artifacts.  My brother Rus and I enjoyed a quiet moment outside on a bench.

And then, as the afternoon waned, we stopped at Beringer Vineyards in the heart of Napa County, mainly to look at this "house" with its stained glass windows and tour the lovely gardens.  Quite a place.

Time to head toward home, a three-hour drive on winding roads, over the hills, till we hit Sacramento and then freeway to Auburn.  By that time we needed a break and In-and-Out Burger was in our path.  Good burgers!  Arrived in Nevada City around 9:30pm - the good ol' Prius added a slew of miles in this one 24-hour-plus period.  She now has over 100,000 on her odometer.  Best car ever.

Likewise, we packed a lot into this San Francisco trip and had a terrific time.  Rus and Anne enjoyed their introduction to California!


  1. sounds like another successful trip with the Wilkinson Tour Co. :)

  2. Beautiful. Olives, grapes, flowers, wine, olive oil. All the best of your new home state! Looks as though you are having a good time exploring!

  3. Forgot to mention that 16 percent grade coming into Calistoga from the north! We found out the hard way once. Also, Calistoga is the most dog friendly town I have ever visited, with wine and cheese offered in all the stores and of course, cheese nibbles for the dogs as well!.


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