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Would love some advice about traveling alone

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Austin, Texas
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44 posts
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Would love some advice about traveling alone

My son is graduating from Coast Guard "A" School in Petaluma in a couple of weeks. After he graduates he he has to attend another week of classes before driving home. We have had a last minute change and my husband needs to return back to work. This means I will be in the area for about 6 days by myself.

I look forward to touring the area however I am concerned with driving and being by myself. Any recommendations or ideas? I would just like to have a great time seeing the country, expanding my knowledge-but most of all drinking some great wine!

Fremont, California
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for San Francisco
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1. Re: Would love some advice about traveling alone

First, this area is in general safe area to stay in, and I feel comfortable traveling in the area either with others or alone.

Secondly, there are lots of opportunities for wine tasting. The wineries are all friendly so being by yourself is fine. However, there are wonderful day tours you can take with a small group if that is more in your liking.

Also, consider going to Culinary Institute of America for some of the cooking demoes. Always fun. These are fun (and their portions) generous

ciachef.edu/enthusiasts/programs/gs_demos/

Also, consider doing some of the individual wine tours - you can join up with the group....and ask (or don't ask questions). For example, go on the Mondavi Tour, Castello di Amarosa, and more.

See if the Cooking in Sonoma Experience is going ono

xperiencedays.com/Cooking_Class_In_Sonoma.ht…

Tour some of the museums such as Schultz Peanuts museum; watch some of the Peanuts cartoons; while away the afternoon wishing of course your husband was here too...

http://www.charlesmschulzmuseum.org/

Go shopping at Napa Premium Outlets

www.premiumoutlets.com/outlets/outlet.asp…

If you're outgoing, for dinner, go to Bisto Don Giovanni. Get a seat at the bar area (full dinner menu given - lots of people there- fun)

http://www.bistrodongiovanni.com/

Also, do spend some time in Healdsburg, Sonoma and downtown Napa - lots of tasting rooms (i.e. you're walking so you don't need to be concerned about driving. You can experience wine tasting, expand your knowledge, and not be concerned about driving.

In Sonoma, for lunch (or early dinner) you can get some great deli food from Sonoma Cheese factory (places to sit inside or take your picnic across the street to the park)

http://www.sonomacheesefactory.com/

There are several tasting rooms (also olive oil shops) in thie area.

Healdsburg

http://www.healdsburg.org/

(For here, the french bakery is fun to go to even if by yourself)

http://www.costeaux.com/catering/

Also, if you like art, consider going to Hess Winery. Awesome wine - but wonderful garden areas as well as art galleries to wander through.

http://www.hesscollection.com/web/index.html

In terms of driving in the area both Sonoma and Napa are easy. There are only so many roads to go on. In Napa for example, most wineries are found on I29 or Silverado Trail. Also, lots of picnic areas, etc.

There is a lot to do - lots of tour options - etc. The hardest thing is that you planned the trip for the 2 of you (your husband and you). You might want to take the approach of - I know the 2 of us (you and your husband)most likely will come out again some day - and use the time to become a "trip advisor expert" on the area. Search out the hidden gems, the fun food experiences, the shops, the wineries that the 2 of you would have fun at in the future. Take pictures, write up little reviews of what you like and don't like, and ocme up with a great 6 day agenda for the 2 of you in the future. This gives you a "purpose"....and by the way with that "purpose", it would also be great to share your wonderful ideas with all your friends here on Trip Advisor.

We'd love to hear about your hidden gems, your delightful surprises, and what to do while in the area traveling solo. I think you have it in you to do just that....and wow...right now, I just can't wait to read your trip report.

Congrats on your son graduating from Coast Guard school and have a wonderful trip.

Fremont, California
Destination Expert
for San Francisco
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21,939 posts
5,139 reviews
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2. Re: Would love some advice about traveling alone

You probably already have your lodging booked, but if not or if you can change, I would definitely choose one of the delightful bed and breakfasts in the area.

Napa Old World Inn

http://www.oldworldinn.com/

is a regular site. I also like Candlelight Inn

(and there are many more)

http://www.oldworldinn.com/

Best Western Elm House Inn is also like a B&B

…bestwestern.com/bestwestern/productInfo.do…

what is nice about this experience is first they are lovely; there are common areas; delightful breakfasts; and the inns and b&B generally take an interest in making sure you are having a good time and can answer many of your concerns while there. (Note: There are also similar places in Sonoma, Santa Rosa, Healdsburg, etc. if you need to be close to Petaluma).

Its also a way to enjoy that great wine without driving. for example, b and b's may have snacks, wine, beverages available through the day

www.oldworldinn.com/innlight/about.html

Washington, DC
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1,709 posts
71 reviews
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3. Re: Would love some advice about traveling alone

Don't be at all concerned about travelling alone - you'll have a great time. I travelled solo for many years before meeting my husband, so I do have a couple of tips.

First - do not be hesitant to go to the nicer restaurants by yourself (make reservations). However, I did find it more comfortable to go early, before the restaurant became too crowded. You usually get better service, and more importantly, you are more likely to get a table with a nice view - particularly important when dining solo. Take a book, postcards to write, or brochures about things to do in the area to occupy yourself with between courses.

Second - treat yourself! Book a spa treatment, splurge on great desserts, etc.

Third - while it's easy to find things to do during the day, do some research and planning to find things to do at night - shops that are still open, local events, etc., exploring the grounds and facilities of a resort, etc.

Don't worry - I'm sure you'll find you really like being able to do whatever you want to do, when you want to do it!

Napa, CA
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4,740 posts
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4. Re: Would love some advice about traveling alone

Wow-- awesome suggestions.

(and thank you so much for your kind words, mini! :)

If you're an outdoorsy person, we'd suggest you spend at least part of a day walking one of the redwood groves-- they are really incredible (we find them to be very spiritual, in a "close to nature" way). Highly recommended.

Also, make reservations ahead for some nice dinners (or, call your innkeepers where you are staying-- we love to do this kind of stuff for guests!).

Good innkeepers and concierges love to help you plan your trip-- you can get maps, complimentary tasting passes, and all kinds of suggestions for fun places to nibble or taste wine. Don't be afraid to ask-- this trip planning service is included in the price of your stay at any Napa B&B or hotel.

Want to spend a day at the beach? Consider Bodega Bay (about 1 hr 20 min drive from the town of Napa). Really pretty, and a nice relaxing place to sunbathe, if you want.

Please do read our suggestions on how to *taste* wine without getting snockered in the Napa FAQs:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g32766-i258-k13704…

Since you are driving yourself around, knowing how to do this before you go could very well save your life (practicing before you go often eliminates the self-conscousness).

Remember that the tissues in your mouth absorb alcohol quickly-- so be sure not to "swish" the wine around in your mouth too much-- just do it for about one second!

As mini mentions, taking an all day shuttle tour will allow you to not worry about the driving--so that may work well for you, too.

Hope all this helps. :)

-The Innkeepers

Napa Old World Inn

5. Re: Would love some advice about traveling alone

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