Driving North from SF

Discussion in 'Pacific' started by kevinscott, Mar 23, 2012.

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  1. kevinscott

    kevinscott Aspirant (224) Oct 21, 2008 Texas

    I will be flying into Oakland the morning of April 2nd for the start of my honeymoon. We're spending the first few days in the Healdsburg area then the rest in SF. We're thinking about driving North along Shoreline highway and then turn East around Valley Ford/Bodega Bay. Are there any good restaurants to stop for lunch and a beer on this route? Is it better to wait and eat somewhere once we're in Santa Rosa or Healdsburg?

    I've checked out beermapping.com and the options seem slim. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.
  2. davidbgoodman

    davidbgoodman Initiate (0) Sep 3, 2008 California

    My 2 cents: You can certainly wait until Santa Rosa or Healdsburg (the obvious options there being RR and Bear Republic), but the drive will probably take longer than you think and you'll want to stop to enjoy the world-class views.

    Two more off-the-beaten-path options: Cafe Reyes in Point Reyes Station is a phenomenal wood-oven pizza joint that has a few local brews on tap. Even better than that, though, is Barley and Hops in Occidental, CA. Amazing tap selection and lots of beer-focused food. Looks like it's unfortunately not open until 4 PM on Mondays, but I can't recommend it highly enough if you find the timing works out.
  3. bkrueger

    bkrueger Initiate (179) Sep 27, 2007 California
    Beer Trader

    If you make it to Bodega and start heading east on Hwy 12 this is a possible suggestion:

    Since you're coming in on a Monday you absolutely need to stop in Freestone at Wild Flour Bakery and pick up some Fougasse bread and some scones. You will thank me later. From here you have two options to go to Healdsburg that are scenic and beautiful.

    Option 1 - Drive north on Bohemian Hwy towards Guerneville. Barley and Hops (open later as said in the post above) in Occidental is a great place to grab a beer (they'll have a bunch of great local beers) and Howard Station is a pretty great place to grab some lunch. This is one possible route and will put you driving north to Guerneville (stop by Armstrong woods to see the most amazing Redwoods in the area) and you will meet up with River Road and then do the below route as well starting from Forestville to get up to Healdsburg.

    Option 2 - If you drive through Sebastopol somewhere like Peter Lowell's is a pretty good spot to grab some lunch. You'll also want to take a quick walk down Florence Ave to see some of the Junk Sculptures that are in everybody's lawn by local artist Patrick Amiot and his wife who live on that street. Their house will be obvious!

    If you decide to go from Sebastopol to Healdsburg via Hwy 116 driving north, make sure to stop in Graton at either the Willow Wood or the Underwood for some really good lunch options or Underwood for the best cocktails in the area. Keep driving north until you hit Forestville, take a right at Mirabel Road, right onto River Road, and then you can take Wohler Road to Westside Road for the beautiful back way into the heart of Healdsburg.

    With either of these options, and especially Option 2 you will pass by the largest number of premium Pinot noir producers known to man not located in the Cote d'Or. I highly highly urge you to stop by some of these. If you are looking for any winery recommendations between Freestone and Healdsburg I'll give you a list that any oenophiles would dream of. Calling ahead to some of the best wineries will get you a tour and private tasting that is otherwise unavailable without making an appointment such as Littorai, Chasseur, Dehlinger, etc. Otherwise you will still be passing by a large number of wineries that will be open to the public on that first Monday. Have a great time in Sonoma!
  4. rmdownward

    rmdownward Aspirant (295) Feb 10, 2007 California

  5. Rzzzzz

    Rzzzzz Devotee (424) Nov 10, 2007 California

    This. Doesn't look like much on the map, but if you straightened out all the curves it would stretch all the way to Tacoma, WA.

    I like the Pelican Inn at Muir Beach, English style B&B and Pub. Not a craft beer destination by any stretch, but it's cool place for a pint and a nice stop for a couple of honeymooners. Stop in and grab a brochure if nothing else; it's a great place to spend an anniversary.


    Farther up, there's River's End in Jenner. Again, not really a beer destination but they'll have some local craft to chose from, and the food and view are excellent. You'll score points if you book yourself a sunset dinner ahead of time. Not that you should need points on your honeymoon.


    Both these spots are right on Highway 1.
  6. bkrueger

    bkrueger Initiate (179) Sep 27, 2007 California
    Beer Trader

    As a person who lives in Sebastopol I can honestly say I've never thought once about going into Hopmonk just to grab a beer, or food for that matter, and I drive by there everyday. There are way too many better places close by to get a good beer in a better atmosphere. Maybe once it is warm out and the beer garden doesn't feel like a plastic tent and the inside like a casual diner I'll give them some more love. They have a decent beer selection but it is all overpriced (an extra 2.25 for each pint of Pliny compared to the brewery which is maybe 12 minutes away) and there really aren't that many outstanding beers (they usually just have Moonlight Death and Taxes and RR Pliny). Hopefully someday their three tavern ales that they also have on tap will be drinkable. You'll see me in there occasionally, but it is to hang out with friends or because friends are the DJ's or people playing the music or at open mic. I've probably been there a good 50 plus times, but if it was the best place in town I'd probably be there a lot more. There are just much better places to go that are close by.

    If you want Moonlight in Sebastopol there is always one on tap at Peter Lowells, three on tap at Mombos Pizza and Aubergine will have something on tap a lot of the time as well. The Underwood in Graton usually has Blind Pig on tap or RR IPA, and Barley and Hops will probably have the best selection of Moonlight and RR in West County.

    River's End in Jenner is a great place for dinner and watching the sunset on the ocean at some point during your trip if you want to make the trek out there. Definitely a special occasion type of place, especially given the remoteness factor.
  7. danscott

    danscott Aspirant (238) Jul 15, 2006 California

    Point Reyes Station is an INCREDIBLE town for eats.

    As mentioned, Cafe Reyes. Osteria Stellina. A killer Czech place with a name I can't think of.

    The whole area is great for food.

    If you like oysters, there are several oyster farms in the area that allow picnics and will sell you bags of oysters, let you BBQ. BYOB.

    And, yes, as mentioned, this drive will take a lot longer than you think. Take your time and enjoy the area.
  8. kevinscott

    kevinscott Aspirant (224) Oct 21, 2008 Texas

    Thanks for all the suggestions. Our flight lands in Oakland at 10:00am, so we'll have plenty of time to enjoy the drive before we can check into the hotel in Healdsburg anyway. I appreciate all the advice.
  9. danscott

    danscott Aspirant (238) Jul 15, 2006 California

    Hey, I checked (Czecked!) with my foodie peep in the area, and he says the Czech place has gone WAY downhill in the past few years, so I rescind that recommendation.
  10. Rinkor16

    Rinkor16 Aspirant (226) Dec 12, 2011 California
    Beer Trader

    I'd recommend Dinucci's which is in Valley Ford. It may look strange from the outside, but they have fantastic Italian food. They're open for dinner Monday through Thursday from 4 pm. They also serve lunch on Sundays (Only Sunday though). They're closed on Tuesday and Wednesday though.
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