iTinerary: San Francisco, Calistoga, Half Moon Bay Trifecta


Day 1

San Francisco, Calistoga, Half Moon Bay– my road trip trilogy adventure. It’s the perfect week mixed with the buzz of a city, adventures in wine tasting, and relaxing at one of the world’s most revered coastal destinations in all of California.

My road trip iTinerary starts in San Francisco. There is so much to see and do in this vibrant city. Then on to Calistoga, where wine tasting and dining reign supreme. The grand finale takes place in Half Moon Bay at the luxury Ritz Carlton, with a spa day and campfire s’mores.

You must be hungry?

Lunch at Beanstalk Cafe

Serving breakfast and lunch, Beanstalk Cafe is a hole-in-the-wall, known for their delectable toast cups, and freshly made sandwiches.

Dinner at RN74

Celebrity Chef, Michael Mina is one of San Francisco’s iconic restauranteurs. RN74 is his French Restaurant and wine bar located where the Financial District and Soma meet. Don’t miss: Pan-roasted Mary’s Chicken with ‘coq au vin’, truffle, pappardelle and bacon confit.

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The Fairmont San Francisco

Set atop Nob Hill, in one of San Fran’s toniest neighborhoods, this Grand Dame, now known as the Fairmont, had a tough go in history. She was rocked by the 1906 earthquake, only to be ravaged by the fires following it. Julia Morgan, the first woman graduate of the prestigious Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, was hired to put her back together, and met the opening date on April 18, 1907.

Today, still stunning and timeless in architecture.

Note: No need to rent a car in the city! Use Uber as your road trip vehicle!

Do it!

Golden Gate Bridge viewing at Chrissy Field

There really is no more an iconic bridge, than the Golden Gate Bridge. The likely thing for visitors to do is to drive across it or walk on it. But, there’s another option. Head to Chrissy Field, at the bottom of the bridge. There’s parking and walking paths, and an one of the best places for a perfect view and photo op.

Today, still stunning and timeless in architecture.

Note: No need to rent a car in the city! Use Uber as your road trip vehicle!

Head across the bay to the notorious Alcatraz Prison with Alcatraz Cruises, the official tour company by the National Park Service. Allow at least 3 hours on the island, and book an audio tour. Boats leave every half hour to and from Alcatraz. There are some night tours, that offer an even spookier experience.

Day 2

You must be hungry?

You must be hungry?

Breakfast at Dottie’s True Blue Cafe

Get there early! Totally worth the wait, Dottie’s often times has lines that wrap around the corner, because breakfast here is d.e.l.i.c.i.o.u.s! Don’t miss: the pancakes!!! (Yes, three exclamation points, they are THAT good).

Lunch at Henry’s Hunan Restaurant, China Town

Chef Henry Chung, specializes Hunan cuisine. Local’s love it, visitors rave about it. Dishes are plentiful. Don’t miss: the house-smoked duck, fried onion cakes and kung pao chicken.
Tidbit: China Town is 24 blocks in size, is its own cultural area, and more visitors come here than to the Golden Gate Bridge.

Dinner at Acquerello ($$$$)

One of the finest Italian restaurants in the city. Very high end with prix fixe menus paired with wines. This is a foodie’s haven. Heavy on the wallet, but well worth the experience, as dinner is served in a converted chapel with vaulted, wood-beam ceilings.

(Cheaper chic option) Ristorante Milano

Russian Hill/Nob Hill area. Ristorante Milano is an authentic Italian restaurant run by a family from Italy, and serving up house made pastas, meats, and a to-die-for tiramisu!

Head back to the Fairmont for some fun at the Hurricane Bar. Order up the City’s best Mai Tai in a tropical rainforest.

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Do it!

Muir Woods & Sausalito Tour

Take a few hour tour across the Golden Gate Bridge to the coastal mountains and Muir Woods. This virgin forrest with California Coast redwood tree giants is a national monument. The other part of the tour whisks over to Sausalito, a quaint seaside village with a picturesque waterfront.

San Francisco City Tour

As small as the city may seem–46.87 miles squared, it’s packed with things to do and see. Save some time and book at city tour–Segway tours, shuttle tours, hop-on-hop-off bus tours, even a magic bus tour with “hippie hosts” that take you to landmarks from the “Summer of Love” make seeing as much as possible easy. A tour will get you familiar with locales, and which ones to visit on the next trip.

Photo: Visit California, Andreas

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