Napa Valley Travel Guide & San Francisco Bay Area / Napa Valley Wine Train 2018

Welcome to this episode of Beth’s Best! This week we are talking about the San Francisco
Bay area and Napa Valley. This guide is going to talk about places to
eat, places to stay, and most importantly things to do including a couple of winery
options and non-winery activities for those who want to do something else on their visit
to the San Francisco Bay area and Napa Valley. We are in Downtown Napa, CA. We are about to check out one of the most
popular activities in Napa Valley, the Napa Valley Wine Train. I am so excited. It is my birthday, so we’ve splurged and booked
the vista dome car. The vista dome car has great views and private
seating. Let’s go check
it out. We’re getting on the Napa Valley Wine Train. We’re starting with complimentary champagne. We’re wrapping up our trip on the Napa Valley
Wine Train. I would say that this is definitely something
you should do if you’re interested. The food was better than expected, its a very
relaxing leisurely experience. Beautiful scenery even though it did rain
for a little bit but the sun did come out. The train itself needs a little bit of love
and attention but overall, worth the visit if you’re interested and I would recommend
it. Napa Valley is known for its wineries. Let’s take a minute and talk about selecting
which wineries to go to. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of wineries
in Napa Valley. There are a couple ways to pick which ones
to visit bc you cannot see them all in one trip. The first way to pick is by brand. If you have a brand or winery you already
know and like, definitely go there. They probably have something at the estate
you cannot get at home. The second option, is to select by varietal. Cabs and chardonnay are big here. If there is variety you like, you can pick
wineries that specialize in that variety. The third option is location, so decide where
you want to be for the day and use that to narrow down. I chose option four: other. If you follow Beth’s Best, you know I am an
art lover. So I selected wineries with art collections
on property. It was two for one situation for me. Since we’re talking about Napa Valley wine
tastings and tours, a lot of wineries require reservations so
check ahead of time. Tasting prices start around $25/person and
go up from there. Beth’s Best tip: you only want to visit up
to 3 wineries/day. After three, they all start to blend together
and it can be hard to remember what you liked from where. That’s the rule, 3/day and those are my tips
and techniques for selecting wineries to visit. And now lets get on to the important business
at hand. We are here at Robert Mondavi winery in Yountville,
CA. We’ve just started our first tasting of the
day. Tasty wines with different options. The tasting menu starts at $25/person and
goes up from there. I think the most expensive one I saw was $45/person. Like a lot of the vineyards here, they have
special wines here you can only get property. We are at Hess Winery, the Hess Collection. Let’s go check it out. We’ve just finished up our amazing tasting
with Sue down in the tasting room. Super informative and educational. She really took the time to understand what
we did and didn’t like and make recommendations based on that. Here’s a Beth’s Best tip: if you purchase
3 bottles Hess will comp your tasting fee. Now we’re going to check out some of the modern
art here. One of the reasons we picked Hess to visit
on our trip to the Napa Valley. You’re not going to believe it! My favorite modern, sculpture, nature-work
artist Andy Goldsworthy. If you don’t know who he is, he has a DVD
called Rivers and Tides. I had no idea what was included in Hess’ Collection,
I rounded the corner and there are 3 Goldsworthy pieces right here at Hess. You have to come and check this place out. For our third and final winery of the day,
if you look at the view we can only be one place. The one and only Artesa Winery. With this vantage point, you can see all the
way to San Francisco on a clear day. and all the beautiful wineries that surround us. Super excited. We’re at Artesa and our lovely server Andrew
is doing a great job. He’s telling us all about the wines and letting
us taste anything we might be interested in purchasing and bringing home. Despite the rain, definitely still worth the
visit to Artesa. They have a fantastic sculpture collection
and a gorgeous tasting room. We’re at my #1 San Francisco Bay area activities
beside wineries. We’re an hour north of San Francisco, an hour
west of Napa, and can you see the redwoods behind me? We’re in Muir Woods National Monument Park. This is a little gem of parks. It’s tiny but you’re surrounded by these old
growth redwoods and other native plant species. It’s enchanting. If you have mobility issues, don’t worry. There is a paved or maintained path down in
the valley floor. If you’re more adventurous, Muir Woods also
offers hiking trails that you can take. You do need to make your parking reservation
at Muir Woods in advance. So make sure you go on their website and reserve
your parking space or shuttle ahead of time. Muir Woods is absolutely worth the visit if
you’re going to be in Northern California. So, my friends, remember those hiking trails
I mentioned? We’re halfway through the Sierra/Alice Trail,
its one of the longer trails at Muir Woods. Kind of accidentally, you start on a trail
and wonder “what’s around the corner?” Let’s go up there and find out. And now here we are halfway up. But the view is totally worth it. Check this out, you can even see the Pacific
Ocean in the distance. We are in Oxbow Market in Downtown Napa, CA. This is a tiny little market with everything
local, produced in the surrounding area in Napa Valley. They have spices, olive oil, cheese, beer,
and obviously wine. So this is someplace you have to check out
while you’re in Napa Valley. We’re at the Olive Press. It says Napa/Sonoma, it smells like lavender. You guys need to check this out, really nice. We had this fantastic brie style cheese the
other night and I just found it here at Oxbow Market. I’m super excited. It’s the Cowgirl Creamery, Mt. Tam. I’m pretty sure all their cheeses are fantastic. Oxbow Market came through. It’s easy to think that Napa and the San Francisco
Bay Area are all about wine. And there certainly is a lot of it. But if you’re looking for something different,
or prefer beer, there are a variety of options for you as well. We’re at Mare Island Brewery in Vallejo. This view is fantastic, the beers are great,
and the staff is friendly. If you have a nature lover in your group,
you definitely want to come to Point Reyes National Seashore. Its about an hour and a half north of San
Francisco. There are different animal species you can
see here, hiking trails with different levels of difficulty. So if you’re not super fit, don’t worry there
are still trails here for you. Point Reyes National Seashore even offers
camping if that’s something you’re interested in. Point Reyes even has a historic lighthouse! We’re still at Point Reyes National Seashore,
we are now at Tomales Point in the Elk Reserve in the northern end of the park. We did see some elk on the drive from the
lighthouse to here, some birds, and we even saw a coyote. We are in San Francisco’s Presidio state park. San Francisco the city is massive with so
many wonderful things to see and do. That is its own video we’re not going to talk
about that too much here. We’re sticking to the San Francisco Bay Area
and Napa Valley. But I did want to point our Presidio park. There tons of wonderful museums and activities. Including walking/hiking paths and most of
it is free. If you are a subscriber to Beth’s Best, first
of all, thank you. Second, you know that I love Disney. I am fanatic, I am a DVC member. You guys already know this about me. So I did want to point out the Walt Disney
Family Museum in San Francisco. it’s filled with all kinds of wonderful exhibits
and media on the Disney family and Walt’s life. This is something you definitely want to check
out if you’re a Disney fan. There is so much to see and do here. You could get lost in here for hours.There
is no denying that Napa Valley is a mecca for foodies. There is everything here from Michelin star
restaurants like French Laundry, how’s garden we’re standing in now. All the way down to fast casual restaurants
like Gott’s Roadside. There is a lot of dichotomy, a lot of high
and and low end. Even some places in the middle, like Bouchon
Bistro where we’re going now. We’re at Bouchon Bistro, the famous restaurant
in Yountville, CA. Its kind of the younger sister to French Laundry,
not nearly as expensive. Its a french bistro, one of the best in the
States. We’re starting off with the deviled eggs. Which look fantastic. Yes. Mushroom soup Salmon Sea Bass Profiteroles
Gott’s Roadside is a Napa Valley institution. There are three or four locations, they’re
known for their burgers, shakes, and fries. Definitely something you should check out. If you love oysters, you have to come to Hog
Island Oyster Co. There are a couple of locations, there’s even
one in Downtown Napa, if that’s more convenient for you. But I recommend driving out to the Hog Island
Oyster Co. in Marshall, CA. It’s right near Point Reyes National Seashore. You get this amazing view, this is where they
actually harvest the oysters. Who doesn’t want to have fresh oysters right
where they farm them? I think everybody does! Let’s take a minute and talk about where to
stay when you are in the Napa Valley and San Francisco Bay area. Let me tell you what we did. There are a lot of options available to you. There are fantastic hotels in downtown Napa,
like the Westin, and Sonoma. Either location is super convenient if you’re
just going to be visiting wineries while you’re here. There are hotels north of San Francisco up
by Muir Woods and Point Reyes, where you’ve seen in this video. We decided to stay in the East Bay area, in
Pleasant Hill, CA. At the Residence Inn Pleasant Hill Concord. Which is south of Concord and north of Walnut
Creek. There are a lot of amenities in the area. A lot of our activities were north of San
Francisco, an easy drive to Napa Valley (NE), and be able to easily get into San Francisco. There are a number of hotels in the east bay
area to pick from. I’ll tell you why we picked the Residence
Inn Pleasant Hill Concord. The first reason that we picked the Residence
Inn was for this kitchen. I enjoy the Residence Inns all have studios,
one bedrooms, and two bedrooms. So you’re able to make breakfast in the room. But you don’t have to bc they all offer free
breakfast in the lobby. There is a Whole Foods nearby so whatever
we need, wine, beer, whatever, we can pick and have a large fridge for everything. The second reason is for the space. We’re here for a week, so since they’re all
studios and up the rooms are pretty darn big. We’re here for a week, so I didn’t want to
get squeezed into a tuna can. These studio rooms start at around 450 sq.
ft. Not all, but a lot of the rooms here have
a fireplace, so ask when you check in. Its nice when you get back to the hotel, to
be able to relax and enjoy the fireplace. You know what’s crazy? I thought these would be electric fireplaces. But no, they’re wood burning! I didn’t know that was still legal, they must
be grandfathered in. You can purchase those Duralog, instant fire
logs at the lobby and put them right to use. Not a reason to pick this hotel, but all of
the rooms do have a king sized bed. There is also an unremarkable bathroom. But they do have granite bathroom counters
that match the kitchen. Okay, you’ve seen the room so I’ll give you
my thoughts and review on the Residence Inn Pleasant Hill Concord. First off, we picked it for size, kitchen,
and fireplace. The hotel has delivered on all of those points. The location actually is pretty darn convenient. There are a variety of amenities and stores
nearby. The staff has also been lovely. Downside, is that the hotel has gone through
a refurb but it still needs refurbishing. Definitely a bit rough around the edges and
the maintenance could use some work. If you’re not interested in the Residence
Inn, there are several hotels here in Pleasant Hill so keep that in mind. If you’re coming to the San Francisco Bay
area for Napa Valley and wineries, I would absolutely recommend staying there bc it will
save you a lot of time commuting. Its worth it in my opinion. There are a variety of independent hotels
in Sonoma and Napa, but all the big chains are still represented. There are an astonishing amount of small,
independent, boutique hotels. So if you’re someone who likes that, you’ll
have a field day. If you’re a chain person, the Westin beautifully
located in downtown Napa next to Oxbow Market and the Napa Valley Wine Train. There are tons of hotel options in this area,
be sure to pull out the map and figure out where you want to stay based on your activities
to minimize your commute. This is where I am going to leave you for
our guide to Napa Valley and San Francisco Bay area. This is Fort Point, another free activity
in San Francisco. I know I said, we weren’t going to talk too
much about San Francisco itself but the view too good not to leave you here.Thank you so
much for watching. If you have a question, leave it below in
the comments. If you thought the video was helpful, like
it, share it with your friends, and please subscribe and hit the bell so you’ll be notified
on my next adventure. I’ll see you again real soon.


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