Saturday, October 8, 2011

Charming Little Towns in California

Mendocino is a sweet little town about 160 miles north of San Francisco. Situated in one of most idyllic settings on the Pacific coast, Mendocino attracts many artists and art lovers alike, and easy to see why the tourists flock to this charming town filled with beautiful little restaurants, cafes and art galleries. Unfortunately, due to its remote location and popularity, the lodging and dining options are limited; however, Fort Braggs, about 10 miles north of Mendocino offers more selection (and less expensive options as well).
Petaluma is a perfect day trip from San Francisco and a great stopping place while visiting the wine region. Close to the city and the country, the options for recreation and sightseeing within an hour's drive are limitless. Also, there is a wonderful selection of restaurants and antique shops, and I especially love Risibisi (154 Petaluma Blvd), a fantastic Italian restaurant in the heart of historic downtown.

In the heart of Sonoma Valley wine region, the town of Sonoma is a delightful place to stop for sightseeing or for lunch/dinner. I recommend following restaurants: Fremont Diner, El Molino, the Girl and the Fig, and for more info:

Of course, one of the main questions when you’re visiting this area is whether to visit Napa or Sonoma. As most people who have been to both areas will tell you, as far as wine tasting goes, vineyards in Sonoma are less touristy and less expensive; however, Napa offers greater selection of restaurants and wineries. Also, Hwy 12 offers a more scenic route, full of pretty little towns like Calistoga, St Helena and Yountville (restaurant recommendations: Ad Hoc, Brix, Bouchon Bakery, Bistro Jeanty).
Carmel is a quintessentially beautiful Californian town, and it's definitely quirky and fun, still giving off that bohemian vibe wherever you go. And I always enjoy strolling through the idyllic streets full of quaint cafes, majestic cypresses, and top notch restaurants.


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