Page 27 - Worthing Lifestyle Jul:Aug 2019
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  on hand with some great recommendations for both tasting and dining locally. After the long drive, we decided to enjoy the local wines available at the hotel before heading to their hot tub. That evening we ventured out for dinner, soaking up (thankfully not literally as the rain had stopped) the atmosphere of the pretty high street. Most
of the wine tastings are during the day, but the many eateries of Sonoma often serve local tipples, so you can still get your Californian wine fix with your dinner. The
day is best used visiting the wine shops and following
any recommendations given there out into the vineyards themselves. You can also stay in Sonoma city, walking between shops and not having to worry about moderating what you drink on your little walking tour - cheers!
After so many days of hiking and then a day of wining,
it was time to head back to the City, where we had started a week before. San Francisco alone has an embarrassment of riches, both iconic and touristy and more cultural entities a little more off the beaten track.
We were determined to stay in the heart of the action and opted for The Marker Hotel. Just minutes walk from Union Square, The Marker oozes style and personality, with opulent suites decorated in jewel tones and some playful elements. The building dates from 1910 in the Beaux-Arts style and effortlessly combines old and new. Within the hotel is Tratto restaurant - a foodie destination worthy
of a visit in itself. The restaurant menu is Italian themed, with trattoria style dishes made to be shared and packed with robust, fresh flavours. There’s definitely the feel of an upscale neighbourhood bar - perfect for enjoying happy hour before heading into the night.
There are certain places that need to be ticked off
here and seeing the Golden Gate Bridge in the flesh is absolutely worthwhile - we even took a longer route from Sonoma so we could drive over it. Alongside that you have the classic Pier 39, home of the sea lions (you'll hear, and smell them, before you see them), Alcatraz, the famously steep Lombard Street and my favourite, the Golden Gate State Park, which affords its own beautiful views of the sweeping bay area. You're never far from great food in San Francisco either, so make time to head to the Mission district for the best burrito of your life, the LGBT Castro district for great cafés and people watching and brunch havens in Fillmore and Tenderloin. China Town shouldn't be missed either, nor the neighbouring Little Italy and just down the road you'll find City Lights Bookstore, hot spot for the Beat Generation, and the inspiration for the title of this piece.
After eight days of exploration, it was time to call a close to the road trip, coming to the conclusion as I do with so many trips - the more places I visit, the more places I add to my list. Clichés aside, California really does have it all, and it could take a decade to explore fully. Whether your have an epoch or a week, make sure you get out there and see what you can discover.
  BOOKING DETAILS:
Gosby House Inn: gosbyhouseinn.com
Discovery Whale Watch: discoverywhalewatch.com Coachman's Inn: coachmansinn.com
Evergreen Lodge: evergreenlodge.com
Inn at Sonoma: innatsonoma.com
The Marker: jdvhotels.com
Airport lounge access, parking and international car hire booked through the experts: holidayextras.co.uk
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