A Taste of California
Welcome to the 'Land of Food and Wine'! California's justly deserved reputation as a culinary global wine and food centre is founded on the ethnic mix of the population, the availability of a wide choice of fresh produce and the wonderful climate - ideal for wine production. With over 2700 wineries, California produces 90% of US wine, sadly we can't include all of these wineries in our tour, but we hope that our leisurely self-drive tour of northern California will allow you to sample a few, while at the same time providing you with the opportunity to enjoy San Francisco, Yosemite National Park and the stunning Big Sur coastline near Monterey. Using character hotels and small inns, this tour seeks to provide an intimate experience of the region and provide extended time to enjoy the wine-tasting, the natural beauty and the culture of one of America's special areas.
This tour operates daily between 01 April and 31 October.
Day 1. Arrive in San Francisco. Upon arrival at San Francisco International Airport transfer independently to your hotel in the heart of San Francisco.
Day 2. San Francisco. A full day to explore the delights of this wonderful city. Enjoy a cruise across the bay to Alcatraz (reservations required) and explore the former prison. Ride the cable cars, stroll through Chinatown, check out the shopping in Union Square and Fisherman's Wharf and in the evening sample the culinary delights of San Francisco's famed restaurants.
Your base in San Francisco - The Serrano Hotel - click here for details.
Day 3. San Francisco to Napa/Sonoma Wine Region (approx. 75 miles). Collect your rental car and drive across the Golden Gate Bridge to the Napa/Sonoma wine region. The short drive today will allow you to take your time and explore the small towns on the way to your accommodation in the heart of the wine region.
Your base for the next three nights in the Napa/Sonoma Wine Region - The Gaige House - click here for details
Days 4 & 5. Napa/Sonoma Wine Region. Enjoy the many wineries and restaurants of the Napa/Sonoma area. Your Innkeeper will be pleased to offer recommendations and to help organise chauffeur-driven transportation to the wineries.
Day 6. Napa/Sonoma Wine Region to the Sierra Foothills (approx. 105 miles). Shortly after leaving the Napa/Sonoma area today you will arrive in California's State Capital - Sacramento. Take some time to explore Sacramento, take a tour of the Capitol Building, visit Sutter's Fort and learn about the early history of the city. The Pony Express terminus was located in Sacramento and the museum is well worth a visit to learn more about the short, but fascinating history of the Pony Express. We recommend that you take a diversion to the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historical Park, just north of Placerville. It was here in 1848 that the first nugget of gold was discovered and led to the Gold Rush of 1849.
Your base for the next three nights in the Sierra Foothills region - The Amador Harvest Inn - click here for details.
Days 7 & 8. Explore the Sierra Foothills Wine Region. From your base in the heart of the Sierra Foothills region, you can visit many of the wineries and historical sites of the area. Further afield you can visit the wineries of the Lodi Wine Region just south of Sacramento.
Day 9. Sierra Foothills to Yosemite National Park (approx. 160 miles). Take the scenic route today south along Highway 49 (names after the Gold Rush of 1849) through the former gold rush towns of Angel's Camp and Columbia and into one of America's most beautiful national parks - Yosemite. Once again the leisurely pace of this tour allows you ample time to explore the small communities, sample the local culture and take in the stunning scenery.
Your base for the next three nights is the lovely Tenaya Lodge at Fish Camp, nestled in the Sierra Nevada Mountains just two miles outside of Yosemite National Park. Click here for details of Tenaya Lodge.
Days 10 & 11. Yosemite National Park. Two full days to enjoy Yosemite National Park. The plunging waterfalls of Yosemite Valley, the towering giant Sequoia trees of Mariposa Grove, the stunning scenery of the alpine meadows, the sheer granite face of El Capitan and the amzing views from Glacier Point, Yosemite National Park is a highlight of any tour of northern California.
Day 12. Yosemite National Park to Monterey (approx. 200 miles). Descending from the Sierra Nevada Mountains, your journey today takes you across California's fertile Central Valley the 'nation's fruit basket'; through the Coastal hills and into the Monterey County Wine Region. Enjoy the small towns and wineries before arriving at your destination today - Monterey!
Your base for the next three nights in Monterey - the Pacific Hotel - click here for details.
Days 13 & 14. Monterey/Carmel and the Big Sur Coast. Sample the delights of Monterey and Carmel, the rugged Big Sur coast and the wineries of Monterey County. Not to be missed is the fabulous Monterey Bay Aquarium where apart from the wonderful exhibits, visitors can enjoy the Cooking for Solutions events. 'For the Aquarium’s 25th year we present our eighth Cooking for Solutions celebration. Great chefs, gourmet cuisine and fine wines make this the culinary event of the year—an elegant way to discover how your healthy choices protect the health of the soil, water and ocean wildlife'. For full details go to http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/ Events include the signature gala celebration, as well as food and wine adventures, cooking demonstrations and a seafood challenge.
Day 15. Monterey to San Francisco (approx. 100 miles). Enjoy the last day of your holiday with a free morning in Monterey/Carmel before heading for San Francisco International Airport. Return your rental car and report for your flight.
Prices for 'A Taste of California' are available upon request from Just America. Please call 08448 806 802 or email - firstname.lastname@example.org