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Vacationland

4 AWESOME WINE COUNTRY RESORTS

4 AWESOME WINE COUNTRY RESORTS
Luxurious spas, farm-to-table dining, and easy access to dozens of wineries—these Napa and Sonoma resorts offer the indulgent getaway you need

Ready for some “me time” amid decadent surroundings? Reserve your spot at one of these spectacular Wine Country resorts.

Farmhouse Inn, Forestville

You might stumble on this Russian River Valley resort when you’re making dinner reservations—its Michelin-starred restaurant, Farmhouse, has generated a huge following. The Farmhouse Inn has only 25 rooms, including eight cottages with dry saunas, all gussied up in woodsy-chic style. A full-service spa offers organic treatments using herbs, honey, and fruit harvested on the six-acre property. Swim in the heated pool, take a sommelier-led wine tour, roast late-night s’mores around the fire pit, or just luxuriate in your feather bed.

Auberge du Soleil, St. Helena, Napa

World-class Auberge du Soleil has reigned as the posh resort queen since its opening in 1982. Choose rooms (with French names like Saint-Tropez and Loire) in the main building or stay in one of the hillside cottages with terraces that capitalize on mesmerizing views. A tricked-out spa offers multiple ways to find your bliss—including a Cabernet grape body masque. There’s also a sculpture garden, yoga pavilion, fitness classes, pool, and Michelin-starred restaurant. A stay at this sun-kissed spot high on Rutherford Hill is bound to take your breath away.

Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa, Sonoma

The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa is the grande dame of Sonoma’s resorts. Built in 1927, its distinctive pink walls, red tile roof, and courtyards dotted with fountains and gardens give it a storybook California mission look. The massive structure—more than 40,000 square feet—contains 226 rooms, wine lounge 38 North, and Santé Restaurant. But the biggest draw is the thermal mineral water bubbling up from the ground, which fills four geothermal swimming pools. Try a Watsu massage at the on-site spa, play 18 holes of golf, or simply soak away the world.

Carneros Resort and Spa, Napa

For a treat-yourself weekend that’s an easy drive from San Francisco, head to Carneros Resort and Spa. Spread over 28 acres of orchards and vineyards, Carneros’ farmhouse-style cottages make a perfect casual-chic setting for a Wine Country getaway. Most have patios or decks with lounge chairs, outdoor showers or soaking tubs, and picnic tables. Spend an afternoon at the adults-only infinity pool and make reservations for dinner at Farm. For casual dining, the Boon Fly Café serves cozy roadhouse food, including out-of-this-world doughnuts.

 

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Harriot Manley/ Sunset Publishing

Northern California

Discover the San Francisco Bay Area

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17
October
Average (°C)
Sept - Nov
26°
High
7°
Low
Dec - Feb
16°
High
5°
Low
Mar - May
23°
High
8°
Low
June - Aug
27°
High
14°
Low

A crimson bridge, cable cars, a sparkling bay, and streets lined with elegant Victorian homes—San Francisco is undeniably one of the world’s great cities. Located along the Northern California at the state’s distinctive bend in the coast, the region has an alluring magic that stretches beyond the bay to diverse cities with nightlife and trend-setting cuisine. 

"I left my heart in San Francisco, High on a hill, it calls to me."  –singer Tony Bennett

The Bay Area is also home to some of the world’s finest wine country, including Napa Valley and Sonoma, plus waterfront towns, dramatic beaches, and the tech-savvy southern end of the bay known as the Silicon Valley, where lunchtime ideas at Google, Facebook, and Apple, turn into the next brilliant innovation. 

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San Francisco's cable cars are the only mobile National Monuments.
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Thomas H. Story/ Sunset Publishing

Golden Gate Bridge

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See one of the world’s most famous landmarks, spanning an elegant bay

With towers soaring 227 metres into the sky, its span arcing across the mouth of San Francisco Bay and all of it painted bright red-orange, the...

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Chao Kusollerscharlya/Shutterstock

Spotlight: Berkeley

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See a stunning museum, shop, and feast in the Bay Area’s most outspoken city

Haven for backyard artists and coffee-shop philosophers, Berkeley has deep roots in the Flower Power movement of the 1960s and ’70s. But while...

May

Rock rolls into the wine country with this three-day event in Napa that features 2019 headliners Imagine Dragons, Neil Young, and Mumford & Sons. With more than 80 performers in the May 24–26...

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Jessica S./Flickr
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San Francisco has only one drawback - 'tis hard to leave.
Rudyard Kipling
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Taste the delicious dishes from these amazing California chefs

From a pastel coloured pastry shop to Michelin-starred dining rooms, top restaurants run by celebrity chefs dot the Golden State. And even if you don’t know these chefs from the TV...

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Kid-friendly fun zones, special kids' menus & amazing wine for the grownups

Sure wine country is romantic, but now it’s a surprisingly great destination for families too, with a growing number of vineyards trading in elegant tasting rooms for child-friendly fun zones that...

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John/ Flickr
July

Get the Spanish spirit at this colourful event. Stroll the grounds of Gloria Ferrer Caves and Vineyards with a glass of bubbly, and take in a whirl of passionate music, flamenco dancing and food....

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Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards
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World-class accommodations in world-class locations

Head to the heart of California’s cities for luxurious stays at world-class hotels and resorts. From San Francisco’s historic hotels to celebrity hot spots in Hollywood and Beverly Hills,...

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Lynn Gately/Flickr
San Francisco itself is art, above all literary art. Every block is a short story, every hill a novel. Every home a poem, every dweller within immortal. That is the whole truth.
William Saroyan
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Farm-fresh produce, culinary adventures

Juicy heirloom tomatoes and just-picked strawberries. Super-sweet peaches shaped like mini UFOs. Artisan cheeses, emerald-green olive oils, local wildflower honey—California’s farmers’ markets are...

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Laura Flippen
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From Gold Rush history to 8th wonders of the world, visit these favorites

If there was ever a box of chocolates—and all of them delicious—it’s the rich collection of natural treasures, fascinating...

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Amy Meredith/Flickr
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Make memories at some of California's family-favourite beaches

Sand, water, and children-it’s a natural combination for easy family fun. These sandy beaches offer appealing, family friendly features, such as calm water for new swimmers, tide pools for...

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Alex Farnum
It's simply a very romantic place. Just one look at any of those streets, and you couldn't be anywhere else -- it's so beautiful, and there's that location, and the sense of the free spirit. ... Who couldn't become ravenous in such a place?
Julia Child
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Sample ultra-fresh, hyper-local, and downright amazing

When you come to California, come hungry. This is a state that really knows how to cook. Amazing and innovative chefs sprinkled with Michelin stars work with local farms and artisanal food...

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George's at the Cove
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Old-fashioned fun in the Golden State

Historic oceanfront playgrounds, classic city park charmers and boisterous adventures - smaller theme parks and attractions offer an array of ways to play. These smaller parks offer...

Safari West
Tai Power Seeff
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According to legend, Winchester Mystery House's maze of passages and building oddities were designed to confuse the ghosts of those killed by Winchester rifles.
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Kids get an inside look at wildlife, space, and more

From cool ways for your children to learn about wildlife, to an insider’s look at a space station, to a chance to walk through a rain forest or learn about the night sky, there’s a...

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Peter Alfred Hess/Flickr
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Check these amazing experiences off your bucket list

Kiss a beluga, see cool movie props, and learn about Walt’s secret hideaway on exclusive and behind the scenes tours at California’s theme parks and attractions. Here’s a roundup of actvities...

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Photo by Michael Saechang/Flickr
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Tai Power Seeff

Livermore

Ranches, vineyards, and relaxed appeal east of San Francisco

With warm sun and wide open spaces cradling vineyards, ranches, and wine country estates, the Livermore Valley makes an appealing destination just...

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Eiojo Torpe/Getty Images

Sausalito

Explore this quaint town that’s just over the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco

Just north of the Golden Gate Bridge, a steep hillside covered in chaparral and eucalyptus drops from Highway 101 to a flat, sunny shoreline, two...

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Where to release your inner fashionista

Shopping is an art form in California. Whether you are in search of the perfect cocktail dress or an authentic Mexican piñata, you will find it here. Want to sample fresh fruits and...

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Prayitno/Flickr
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Erica Davis/Getty Images

Half Moon Bay

This delightful little beach town possesses serious surf DNA and is just a short drive from San Francisco

Half Moon Bay is situated 45 minutes south of San Francisco on Highway 1, but it might as well be half a world away. Home to the world-famous...