There is something magical about Northern California. Maybe its the fresh air, the stunning scenery that takes you literally above the clouds, the fresh produce, or the gorgeous wines the region produces. Whatever magic San Francisco and the Napa/Sonoma Valleys possess has drawn our young family there time and again.
We wrapped up Summer 2017 in Northern California and couldn’t have chosen a better time and better companions to do it. Eight glorious days exploring wineries, hiking in magical Redwood forests, and partaking city sites.
Traveling with kids isn’t very difficult if you research ahead of time and plan. Here are things we recommend:
Benzinger – A bio-sustainable winery that boasts gorgeous grounds (see above), absolutely outstanding wines and has a fun, for adults and kids alike, tram tour.
Arrowood – An off-the-beaten path winery with small productions of big reds, amazing views.
Imagery – A sister property of Benzinger, this winery is also bio-sustainable offering great wines with originally commissioned art works as labeled. The wines were great, the little vegetable and flower garden was a gem for the girls who saw how all matter of veggies grow.
Sterling – Big, a bit crowded, with decent wine. The only reason to go here is for the views which you take in after taking an air tram to a mountain top.
Castello di Amorosa – Big, definitely a bit crowded, but with amazing service, delicious wines, a small and tastefully done zoo, beautiful grounds, and a spectacular, straight-out-of-Tuscany castle to boot. The girls enjoyed visiting a Princess Castle and we enjoyed their beautiful wines. Their muscat grape juice which is bottled and presented the same way as their wines is not to be missed. We liked it so much that we brought some home.
Kunde – A beautiful winery with gorgeous grounds, an amazing patio, and an appealing wine and cheese tasting that satisfied even the youngest tasters.
The Sonoma Overlook Trail – A beginner’s hike just to get into the swing of things especially if giving hiking a go with young children
Armstrong Woods – A gorgeous, serene, easy to get to and easy to navigate redwood forest. We took the 2+ mile hike without a problem using two of these.
Eats in the wine country:
Bouchon Bakery – A bakery owned by the famed Thomas Keller that curates the very same delicious breads and pastries offered at The French Laundry and Bouchon. The girls love chocolate croissants but their Cream and Strawberry puffs are not to be missed. We liked it so much, we went twice.
Addendum – Offers a picnic lunch of fried chicken unlike anything you’ve ever had in a beautiful setting that’s casual and they pack chocolate chip cookies!
The Freemont Diner – Casual, rustic, everything you imagine a real diner to be with killer french toast and huevos rancheros.
Eats in San Francisco:
Firefly – Recommended by a friend of ours who lives in the Noe Valley, this restaurant didn’t disappoint. Their food was eclectic and not just different, but delicious.
Delphina – a beautiful restaurant in the Mission with a great menu and even better food. The offerings are seasonal, fresh, and pasta is king.
There are more things we saw and did and I will have more information on how to actively travel with younger children in posts that follow. For now, however, I begrudgingly bid goodbye to summer break.