Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyard
- Cheers from Sonoma Valley!
- Delicious charcuterie & sparkling wine
Leaving Sausalito, we headed for Northern Californias famous wine country, the joint valleys of Napa and Sonoma. This tour, however, focuses on Sonoma and included a stop at the stunning Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyard.
Here we were treated to a tasting of their award-winning sparkling wines paired with a delicious charcuterie board. This took place on one of their outdoor patios that overlooked rolling acres of grapevines. It was the quintessential Northern California wine country experience.
Our tasting was accompanied by knowledgeable narration followed by free time to shop and wander the beautiful estate. You cant come to Northern California and not do a wine tasting and Globus delivered a special experience.
Hours In Sonoma: Where To Eat Drink And Stay
Whether youre visiting for the first time or returning to an old favorite, Sonoma is as charming as ever.
In 2017, Sonoma County was devastated by three weeks of aggressive wild fires. Thousands of homes were reduced to ash, winemakers lost hundreds of acres of vines, and ongoing projects ground to a halt. Many producers were left with unusable wine that was either tainted by smoke or boiled from the heat. There is still a long road to recovery ahead of Sonoma County, but its clear when you visit today that locals are eager to move forward. New houses are sprouting up, many wineries are reopening with new and improved facilities, and tourists are returning to the area. Theres a buzz of energy in a community that has spent much of the last year and a half focused on rebuilding.
Whether youre visiting for the first time or returning to an old favorite, Sonoma is as charming as ever. Book a room at a luxurious new hotel, dine out at a crop of new restaurants, and sip on free-flowing local wine. There are a lot of reasons to head to Sonoma right now, but the most important is to visit, explore and show your support for this historic wine region. To help you plan your next trip, heres how to spend a dreamy 48 hours in Sonoma County.
Talk To Your Wine Pourer
Another place to save on tasting fees is at the wineries themselves. At the end of each tasting its good to ask your wine pourer where to go next. They are very knowledgeable and will let you know where to go based on what you liked from their tasting. The best part about this is that more often than not theyll give you a card for another winery with a comped tasting there. The wineries work on a referral system, so its in their benefit too. Most pourers are talkative and interesting people, so chat with them. Its a great way to learn about wine and it helps the budget.
You May Like: Places To Stay In Winthrop Wa
Our Northern California Trip With Globus Journeys
We took the 9 Day California Dreamin: California By Design tour in partnership with Globus Journeys and iAmbassador to experience the new Globus Choice Touring experience.
This new type of tour is designed to give you more flexibility, and the ability to combine the freedom of independent travel with the ease of group travel.
In select destinations within the itinerary, Globus offered us three options to choose from based on our interests. Of course, we always had a fourth option to have free time, too.
As strong independent travelers, that also enjoy group travel, we loved the concept of Choice Touring. We were very excited to see how it would work, especially in Yosemite National Park.
The secrets out, we loved it!
Read on for a full overview of our experience on this Northern California trip with Globus Journeys.
Farewell Dinner & Stargazing
After an incredible day in the park, we all came together for an included farewell dinner in a private banquet room at the Tenaya Lodge. The wine was flowing, the food was tasty, and we spent the better part of 2 hours solidifying friendships made on our tour.
Following dinner, we all gathered behind the lodge for an informative and fun guided stargazing experience with one of the National Park Service rangers.
If you ever wanted to feel small, or really gain perspective on your place in the universe, this is one experience you shouldnt miss.
We pointed out constellations, listened to stories, and learned about the parks dark sky efforts. All while admiring a spectacularly clear sky and thousands of stars. It was the perfect way to end our Northern California trip.
Recommended Reading: Best Place To Stay In Cozumel Mexico
Day 5 Bodie Ghost Town & Mono Lake
Today would be our second chance to partake in Globuss Choice Touring options for this itinerary. Like in Sacramento, our group was offered three options to choose from.
Unfortunately, due to COVID, two of the options were unable to operate.
While this might seem like a disappointment up front, it actually turned out to be the best option. Instead of only one choice, the Globus team was able to amend the schedule to combine two of the original options.
These options took place in the Mammoth Lakes region, near a place called Lee Vining, California.
Day 8 Free Day In Yosemite National Park
Our last day in Yosemite National Park was a free day with no scheduled activities. You had the choice to relax at Tenaya Lodge, book a spa appointment, hike around the lodge or book a day tour to see other parts of the park.
Normally people would have the opportunity to see the Mariposa Grove, the largest and most impressive grove in the park, that is located very close to Tenaya Lodge. However, the shuttle was not running and the only way to enter was via a 2-mile hike.
Due to having so many things on the Yosemite itinerary altered due to COVID restrictions, and the challenge of visiting the Mariposa Grove, Derek organized an included day trip to the Tuolumne Grove to see sequoias. Most people on the tour took this option and enjoyed their day.
Also Check: Best Location To Stay In Porto
Bike Into Town For Some Shopping
MacArthur Place is a short walk from downtown Sonoma, but to truly explore the area, reserve their electric Blix Bikes. Each bike has a basket on the front for your shopping bags and a bottle of wine. Take a spin around the historic Sonoma Plaza and check out some of the downtown shops. A few favorites are Frenchie, a must-visit for Francophiles and picnic-lovers. Check out their collection of cookbooks, kitchen gear and gifts and then grab one of their ready-to-go picnic bags. If youre looking for modern home goods, go to Gs General Store. They have everything from Marimekko bedding to Swedish clogs.
Lunch At Scribe Winery
You know that gorgeous California Hacienda you keep seeing on Instagram? This is it. Your first glimpse of Scribe Winerys renovated 1910 home is from the palm tree-lined driveway. Upon arrival, youre greeted with a glass of rosé and escorted to a table under their shaded veranda. Peek your head into the open-front kitchen and youll see a team of impossibly good-looking people working their way around a center island heaped with fresh produce, wild flowers, and bowls of toasted almonds and marinated olives. Its peak California aesthetic. Scribe added their full kitchen two years ago, and now you can dine here for lunch. The food is simple, but flawless: perfectly roasted chicken sprinkled with zaatar, house-made cucumber pickles, a creamy potato salad with chive blossoms, and fresh fava beans. A reservation is required, so book early! This place fills up fast on weekends and holidays. scribewinery.com
Don’t Miss: Where To Stay In Kansas
Old Sac Walking Tour & Group Dinner
Later that evening, the entire group reconvened for a short walking tour with our Globus guide, Derek. He took us to iconic historical parts of Old Sacramento and taught us more about the early settler days, and the Pony Express.
To finish our day the walk ended at the Rio City Café, where our group enjoyed a lovely dinner. We sat on a beautiful outdoor patio overlooking the Sacramento River.
Day 1 Arrival In San Francisco
The first day of our tour was arrival day in San Francisco and checking in to the included tour hotel, the San Francisco Marriott Marquis. There arent any planned activities on arrival day. If you arrive early in the day or the night before, youll have some time to tour San Francisco.
We made use of our full day in the city and booked the San Francisco Hop On Hop Off bus tour.
It is a fantastic way to see the highlights when youre short on time. Plus, you can get off and explore if something strikes your interest along the way.
Ultimately, we rode the loop and then hopped off at Pier 39 to grab lunch. We walked the pier, the waterfront, and Fishermans Wharf before walking back to the SOMA district through China Town.
Be sure to leave enough time to freshen up before you attend the Globus welcome happy hour at the hotel.
You May Like: Best Places To Stay In Los Angeles By The Beach
Stroll: Strike Gold In A Ghost Town
With the other two options canceled, our only option was to join the tour to the Bodie Ghost Town, and were so glad we got to see it. Turns out, its one of the most well-preserved and detailed ghost towns in the entire USA.
The Bodie State Historic Park tells the story of an isolated town in the Sierra Nevada Mountain range that came to its height in 1876 after gold was discovered nearby. Within 3 years, it had grown to sustain a population of 10,000 inhabitants.
The entire site rests in a state of Arrested Decay, a term used to describe the fact that Bodie has remained untouched since 1942. This means when you peer through windows and enter buildings, youre seeing everything exactly how it looked when people left.
I wont lie, its a bit eerie to wander the streets, peek through windows, and enter buildings. Our park-provided guide did a fantastic job of telling stories to bring the ghost town to life for us.
We have visited plenty of ghost towns in our travels and we can tell you, without hesitation, that Bodie is the most impressive one we have ever seen. From the furniture to the stacks of medicinal items at the pharmacy and everything in between, you will not be bored when you visit.
Check In At Macarthur Place Hotel & Spa
This luxurious 64-room property is located just outside Sonoma Plaza and has been a local institution for over 125 years. After an extensive renovation, MacArthur Place reopened in the spring of 2019. From the exterior, the bucolic villas and winding garden paths have not changed much, but each building has undergone a complete gut renovation. The rooms are light, airy, modern, and cozy and come equipped with every thoughtful amenity you can imagine. Snack on complimentary local chocolates and olive oil potato chips, relax with a lavender sheet mask , or wash up in your own outdoor shower with the in-house Grown Alchemist soaps. Each night of your stay, MacArthur surprises you with new simple luxuries . When you visit you can book a romantic stay for two, or reserve the entire ten-room 1869 manor house for a home-away-from-home experience. Rooms starting at $409/night, macarthurplace.com
Recommended Reading: Places To Stay In Hanalei Bay Kauai
Stroll: A Kaleidoscope Of Black & White
Our photography tour took place in Yosemite Valley with the Ansel Adams Gallery. For those not familiar, Ansel Adams is famous for the black and white photos he created of Americas natural wonders. Yosemite, though, was his specialty.
The 2.5-hour tour walked us to some of the most famous vantage points of Ansels work and with a knowledgeable guide, we were able to recreate some of the images.
We also discussed the use of light, shadows, composition, color vs black & white, common misconceptions in photography, and the life of Ansel Adam himself.
- Inspired by Ansel
- My favorite capture from the tour
Most importantly, we talked about how photography is a form of art. That means there really is no right way to do it. Images become a manifestation of the story that the creator is trying to tell. That we shouldnt be afraid of expressing ourselves or photographing things in an unconventional way.
Lastly, we talked about how photography evolves. This was something I really took to heart as a photographer.
My style has evolved and changed so much from when I started that I will often go back and rework entire collections of photos from our past travels. This is normal and this is healthy. As a busy creator, I needed to hear this.
Customizing With A Private Tour
Since we never turn away from a challenge, we opted for the ultimate in Choice Touring and organized a private full-day tour with Discover Yosemite Tours to visit the Mariposa Grove and Glacier Point.
Derek provided us with the information for the best tour company in Yosemite National Park and we were able to arrange our tour by phone with ease.
Our full-day private tour included transportation, lunch, water, Yosemite entrance fees, and a naturalist guide.
A handful of the other photographers on the trip joined us and we had an amazing day in the park. We put together a custom itinerary with a lot of hiking that gave us all the time we needed to take photos and create video content.
You May Like: Where To Stay In Fort Myers
Seven Branches Venue And Inn
The Generals Daughter is the Public Venue for Ramikins: Go for Pizza and Pinot Tuesdays
Tuesdays are Pinot and Pizza Night at The Generals Daughter in Sonoma and a locals tradition. Here is the deal: for $25 you get a glass of wine, a fresh salad , choice of one of four personal size pizzas , and a desert. For example last nights desert was pear cream brulee. Generous wine refills are available at a decent price. The wines change week to week, featuring a Sonoma wine maker typically with a concurrent on site wine tasting. My wife and I have also attended other events at The General Daughters. One of favorites is the Sojourn release party, where some of the finest Sonoma wines are paired with hearty appetizers. In all cases the food comes from Ramekin’s Kitchens. The food is seasonal, tasty, and well executed. The beautiful Victorian style home was General Vallejo’s daughter, and a Sonoma historical treasure.Bob DanielOver the top
Ive been enjoying cooking for nearly 65 years, and my visit to Ramekins Culinary School was the adventure of a lifetime. The cooking class I took was informative, innovated, entertaining, and simply the most fun time Ive ever had preparing food. It was worth every penny paid, and I will, more than likely, take another class there.keen72762DianartimusRehearsal dinner and delicious foodwandermom321Beautiful wedding venue with amazing foodSee all property amenities.
Day 9 Return To San Francisco
Leaving Yosemite National Park, we loaded up on the bus one last time and made our way back to San Francisco. Its always hard to say goodbye to new friends, but we hug and remember that well always have California.
Some of the people on our group tour opted to extend their trip in San Francisco with Globus, which includes accommodation and a couple of days of touring the city.
For us, it was a drop-off at the airport, a red-eye flight back to the Midwest, and on to the next adventure.
You might also like:
Don’t Miss: Where To Stay In Izmir
Tasting At Hudson Ranch
Hudson Ranch is a dreamy destination for serious wine people. Just over the border in Napa, the owners are longtime grape-growers who have been supplying reputable wineries with grapes for over 40 years. The serene, rolling property expands over 2,000 acres, but only 200 of that is devoted to vines: the rest of the land is for nature preservation, ranchlands, gardens and olive groves . Hudson has been making their own wine since 2004, from bright, French oak-aged Chardonnays to juicy red blends. Theyre only producing about 5,000 cases a year. In September 2018, they opened their brand-new tasting rooms and facilities. The industrial adobe-style buildings blend in flawlessly with the surrounding views. This winery is by appointment only, so be sure to plan ahead. Hudsonranch.com
Day 7 Choice Touring In Yosemite National Park
Today the Choice Touring options for Yosemite would come into play. Globus offers three options for you to customize your experience.
- GAZE: Westward Ho a 2-hour tram ride to popular viewpoints
- STROLL: A Kaleidoscope of Black & White 2-hour photo tour with the Ansel Adams Gallery
- TREK: Yosemite Naturally a guided hike with a naturalist
We never pass up the opportunity to expand our creativity and knowledge in photography, so we were excited to join the photo tour.
Recommended Reading: Places To Stay In Hurricane Utah
How To Have A Perfect Girls Getaway In Sonoma Wine Country
Ive already told you that Sonoma Wine Country is one of my favorite places for a girls getaway in California, offering all those things that you need to make a weekend with your favorite girls a huge success: wine, good food, plenty of fun activities. Throw some shopping and some relaxing spa time in the mix and everyone will be happy.
To give you a better idea of what a perfect girls getaway to Sonoma Wine Country could look like, I put together an itinerary for a weekend in Sonoma County, including where to stay, what to do, and practical information, such as: How would you even get there?