The Planted Tank Forum banner
1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
Algae Eater
Joined
·
3,182 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK you California and well traveled folk I need some help. Around July 8-15th my wife and I(wow that sounds weird!) will be headed to San Fransisco, Napa Valley, Carmel and wherever else for our honeymoon. We are thinking of staying in San fran for 2-3 days a few days in Napa and dayor so in Carmel, and fly back to MD from San Fran. I am looking for input on nice places to stay and must see attractions. Napa it would be great to find some nice bed and breakfast places. San fran can be a nice chain hotel. We are planning to do Alcatraz, Fishermans Warf, some wine tours in Napa of course, Mir woods, and I HAVE to see Monetary aquarium and Aqua Forest! That is what we are thinking now. All suggestions welcome. Thanks in advance for your help
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,012 Posts
Allow a good part of a day to walk along the Embarcadero, just for the ambience, and maybe try to see a SF Giants game along the way. If you don't like baseball that well, spend the rest of that day in Golden Gate Park. (But, wouldn't you like to see Barry Bonds hit the record setting home run?)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
48 Posts
If you can spend some time at Cannery Row in Monterey, Farmer's market is always interesting... The warf is magnificent at night, moon appears to be reachable at times...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
133 Posts
Can't help with a specific place to stay, but have a look at the following site and maybe you'll find a bed and breakfast you like:

Napa, California Bed and Breakfasts and Country Inns -- BBOnline... Bed & Breakfast Inns ONLINE

Before we got married my husband and I spent a nice evening browsing through that site so we could pick out the place we would spend our honeymoon. We found a beautiful bed and breakfast in a resort town in Wisconsin and had a wonderful time... true, it didn't involve anything fish related, but there was a nice lake. That counts for something, right? ;)

Congrats and have fun planning your trip!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,012 Posts
I feel so stupid! I forgot a site not to be missed. Walk up the Castro Street Hill to the very top, the 800 block. There you will see 5 victorian houses on the left, that are virtually identical, having been built in 1892 by a "developer". The next to the last one, painted beige, was remodeled back to the near original gingerbread by.........me!! A sight of a site not to be missed!
 

·
Plant Lover
Joined
·
296 Posts
Having lived there over 20 years, and worked in the GGNRA as a volunteer, I have some opinions.

First, on the LFS front, check out Ocean Aquarium on Cedar Street (a sleezy back alley like street between Van Ness and Polk). Worth the effort, Justin's tanks are mind blowing. Also there is a relatively new planted aquarium store apparently near the Divisidero / Duboce area. Has ADA stuff. Haven't been there myself.

Now I know when visiting SF, certainly for the first time, one must do the "tourist" things, but I think they can be a drag, homogenous like every tourist spot. So just be prepared for Fisherman's Wharf and much of Monterey to be pretty touristy.

Some places I would definitely consider: a trip up to Pt. Reyes and a hike there. At this time of year the whales are moving, so a trip out to the Pt. Reyes lighthouse may be worth it to do a little whale watching (there are also whale watching boats you can get on out of Monterey when you are down that way). If you are heading over to Muir Woods (my wife use to work there), might want to stop in and check out the Marin Headlands briefly (go up to Hawk Hill for some great views on Consulman Road, then loop down past the lighthouse and stop in at the Visitor Center). It is just over the Golden Gate from the city, and on your way. On your way back you might want to hang a left at Tam Junction and drive into Mill Valley, just to check out the town.

Muir Woods is cool, but I used to piss my wife off a bit, as I find the cement path portions, and such kind of a drag. I always felt that some of the state groves way north in the Avenue of the Redwoods were even more breath taking. But Muir Woods is close to the city, so easy to get to, and still wonderful.

While at Muir Woods, drive to the ocean (about 2 miles down the road) and visit Muir Beach. If you like clothing optional beaches, the north end of the beach (just through the rocks) is the clothing optional section.

You could do a day where you drive over the GG, check out the Headlands, then drive north a couple of exits to Rte. 1 (Stinson Beach exit), take Rte 1 over to Muir Woods (couple of ways to go once you get up to 4 corners over Mill Valley, either will work). Then from Muir Woods you could go north check out Stinson Beach, then drive up the side of Mt. Tamalpais, if is clear it is worth driving all the way to the summit, the views are breathtaking! Then drop down into Mill Valley for the return. It would be a bit of driving, but everything is close actually.

In Napa, might be fun when going up the valley to stop in Calistoga for a mud bath. Also very good food at Mustard's. North end of the valley is a winery with a gondola to the top of a little moutain for some great views (Sterling, I think?).

In the city, if you are into art, the new Museum of Modern Art (well not new anymore) is worth a trip. Also the Exploratorium if you have kids (sounds like you don't) a cool hands on science museum started by Robert Openheimer's brother. It is in the Marina district, and that is near a place worth checking out, Chrissy Field which has been newly restored by the NPS. Actually if you are at Fisherman's Wharf and it is a nice day, it is a lovely walk to go west along the water past the maritime museum, up the path over the little hill to Ft. Mason (where you can stop for lunch at Greens, the famous budhist organic vegetarian restaurant) and then walk along the Marina to Chrissy Field. A not very long walk (couple of miles round trip?) and will give you a great feeling for the golden gate.

Walking across the Golden Gate Bridge itself is a blast. You park just on the city side (really you can park on either side).

It wasn't until I almost moved away that I got out to Alcatraz (my wife worked there for a time too). It is worth the trip... though a tad depressing, it is striking.

While in GG Park there is the new DeYoung Museum, just opened last year. Maybe worth seeing (slightly underwhelmed me).

Northbeach is worth seeing. It also has its tourist elements, but City Lights bookstore is still there, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti might even be there. It is the 50th anniversary of the publication of "Howl" so it seems to me visiting City Lights is de rigeur. North Beach is the place to get Italian food.

And the obvious is Chinatown, you can cable car up from Fisherman's Wharf (from the Hyde Street Pier).

Used to be the Haight was on everyones list. Yeh, the painted ladies (the Victorian Gingerbreads) are really gorgeous. So cool that here is one restored by a member of this forum.

Okay, i've gone on too long.... sorry. Also, you may want to check ahead for tickets to the Monterey Aquarium... can get really, really crowded. But it is wonderful. I know the city and north better, not so much the south (toward Montery, etc.).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,254 Posts
BS is going to have a Mrs. BS woooohoooo
 

·
Plant Lover
Joined
·
296 Posts
Woo hoo indeed. And I just reread the first post. July is not whale season... this is right now. So forget the whale watching idea.

And bring warm clothes. Tourists are always shocked at how cold the summer is in SF (when the fog comes in). As Mark Twain said, "I never experienced a colder winter than the summer in San Francisco." Napa, on the other hand, will be hot. Can be 50's in the fog belt, and then a few miles away over 100. Can you say microclimes?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
786 Posts
You *have* to go to both Aquaforest and Ocean Aquarium, they're actually only down the street from each other. Ocean Aquarium is a teeeeny hole in the wall firetrap-looking place in an alley between Van Ness (the main thoroughfare with the symphany, opera house and city hall) and Polk (red-light district). Just park in the alley and then get ready to spend an hour plus with Justin showing you everything in the tanks, tempting you with incredible rare and beautiful fish. Hint hint: bring lots of cash! ;) Aquaforest is just as awesome and the drool factor is a 10 with all the awesome display tanks and ADA gear. Wait til you see the wall of tanks with plants for sale - all AS substrate and heavy CO2. Beautiful growth and really rare stuff.

After you OD on fish stuff, check out the park (the aquarium might? be finished) and one of the best views (especially at sunset) is nearby at Baker Beach which is just northwest of the Golden Gate Bridge. Honestly, you can skip Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39 as they are completely schlocky touristy stuff but they do have a good view of Alcatraz and the bridge (if you get a non-foggy day). It's fun to go to Chinatown and take the cable car though.

That reminds me, keep in mind that summers in San Francisco are COLD! And generally, even if it is hot during the day, it always gets chilly at night. You can always tell who the tourists are in San Francisco because they are wearing shorts, t-shirts and shivering. :D Layer, 'cuz you never know.

If it's your honeymoon and you're going to Napa, you will regret it if you don't go to the French Laundry. One of the best restaurants in the entire country. Book now.

If you aren't pressed for time, drive from the city down to Monterey and Carmel via Hwy 1. It's a beautiful winding road along the ocean all the way. Fantastic views and cute little towns. Hwy 101 is industrial and blah.

Enjoy your trip!
Christine
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,602 Posts
So many things to do there.I grew up in Petaluma, about an hour north of San Fran. You should go check out Pier 39 and Fisherman's Wharf -- lots of neat shops and good restaurants (I like Bubba Gump's seafood restaurant). Go take a walk around the Embarcadero and you could even venture to Chinatown, which isn't far away at all. One cool way to do your tour of the city is to park in either Saucelito or Larkspur and take the ferry across. Enjoy the 30-40 min ferry ride, while sipping some coffee or hot chocolate (or beer). Lombard street (the twisty part) is very touristy, but it's not much to see IMHO. If you guys have time and are up for it, you should check out the Steinhardt aquarium. I hear they did a recent renovation and I think its done now. Try to take a ride on the trolley / cable cars. Go for a walk across the bridge, but bring warm clothes! There's also a place you can drive up that';s near the bridge and it overlooks the bay and city, but I can't remember the name. I haven't been there for 13 years (prom night. lol). And, yes, go to a Giants game even if you don't like baseball. They just built the park back in late 90s and its pretty nice, plus its right in the heart of the city, so you can walk there from the Financial district or the piers.
Oh yeah, go to Aquaforest too ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
459 Posts
If it's your honeymoon and you're going to Napa, you will regret it if you don't go to the French Laundry. One of the best restaurants in the entire country. Book now.
I don't know how it's possible to get reservations there, I tried really hard. Do you have to know someone?
 

·
Plant Lover
Joined
·
296 Posts
Aquaforest is the ADA store I heard of, but not visited. Sounds like Christine (cbennett) and I are on the same page.

Never got to French Laundry when I lived there, but heard it was great.

SF itself, as does the East Bay, has spectacular restaurants. If you are a gourmet, and really care about restaurant history, Chez Panisse is a must in Berkeley. Won't go into the restaurant list (and I am sure there have been some changes since I lived there), but there are few places to eat in the world that can match the Bay Area!
 

·
Algae Eater
Joined
·
3,182 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
OK flight is booked, now I need a hotel. We just kinda want to play it by ear. But I want to book a hotel for the first part of our trip. July 8th to the 15th, if you have any inside info on anything special going on then please let me know. I would like to stay in Union Square or Fishermans Warf, but am open to suggestions.

Still planing to do 3 days in san fran
2 in napa
then travel back to san fran and make stops along the way.

Thanks
 

·
Doesn't like Kool-Aid
Joined
·
10,125 Posts
I didn't see the attraction of Fisherman's Wharf to be honest.

I stayed at the Hotel Rex right by Union Square. The accomodations were quite nice and the location was fantastic.


Mike
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
My wife and I took a very similar honeymoon but we went to the wine country first and then San Fran. We stayed at the Executive Hotel Vintage Court in San Fran which I found to be a pretty good compromise for all of the things that we wanted to see there. The only thing that we were away from was Fisherman's Wharf which as most everyone has said was not that great but we wanted to see Alcatraz. By the way, if you want to go onto Alcatraz get your tickets early, we had no idea and we were barely able to get tickets before we had to leave (4 days after our initial visit to the Wharf).

As for the wine country, we wanted a quieter area so we chose to stay in the Sonoma Valley and then travel to Napa Valley when we wanted to go there. That was probably one of the best decisions that we made. If you don't want to go to Fisherman's Wharf because of tourists, then the same applies to Napa. Their Cab's are incredible and a personal favorite of mine so we had to go and it was absolutely worth it, but we were much happier spending more time in Sonoma than Napa. As far as winery tours go, I would recommend the Benziger winery in Sonoma and the Mondavi winery in Napa (there might be better ones in Napa we just didn't go on a lot there). Another thing to consider is having a limo to tour the wineries, just something to at least look into.

Sorry for the long winded reply it is just the best "vacation" I have ever taken. I know you will have a great time. I wish I would have been more into the hobby to know how much I would have enjoyed Aqua Forest and Ocean Aquarium.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,228 Posts
What about timing it right to be able to make it to a SCAPE meeting?:hihi:

Sounds like it will be a great trip. When I go to Cali, I'll know exactly where to go thanks to everyone here:icon_wink

Ohh and congrats!

-Andrew
 
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
Top