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Quintessential Tours Clients - The Davis Family

About the Davis Family   |  About their Trip   |   Letter from Janice
TRIP SNAPSHOT
Trip Length: 7 Days
Pickup Date: July 29th
Drop-off Date: August 4th
Rough Distance Traveled: 476 Miles
Pickup Location: SFO (San Francisco Intl. Airport)
Drop-off Location: SFO
Overnights: San Francisco, Santa Rosa (Sonoma Wine Country), Monterey
Group Size: 4 adults, 1 teenager
Vehicle: Passenger Van
Guide: Deke Sinclair
 
WHERE DID WE TAKE THEM AND WHAT DID THEY DO?  
Photo: Jeff Lowe
San Francisco 2 nights
Guide, Deke Sinclair, picked up the group of 5 ladies at SFO late in the morning, and took them straight to "the City," where they spent the next two days seeing the city highlights.
San Francisco Highlights
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First day "get to know each otherlunch at Max's Opera Café on Van Ness Avenue
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Touring the San Francisco highlights, like Golden Gate Bridge, Coit Tower, Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39.
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Saw the "Women Impressionists of the 20th Century" exhibit at the Legion of Honor/
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Dinner at In 'N' Out Burger at Fisherman's Wharf (they just HAD to eat there)
 
Photo: Janice Davis
Marin, Muir and Sonoma Coast Visited en route to Sonoma Valley

The group departed San Francisco after 2 days of touring, and headed over the Golden Gate Bridge. Less than an hour outside of the big city, the group found themselves walking among some of the largest living things on the planet; the coastal redwoods of Muir Woods.

After a walk through the giants, the day continued with a drive out to the coast, where they took a leisurely pace, stopping at overlooks and beaches along the way.

North of Bodega Bay, where the Russian River meets the coast, Deke took the group inland, following the course of the river, ultimately arriving in Santa Rosa.

Highlights
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Excellent lunch at the Olema Inn and Restaurant, Marin County
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Up Hwy. 1 through Marin County to Muir Beach Overlook and Stinson Beach
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Goat Rock State Beach, south of Bodega Bay on Hwy. 1
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Turned inland just north of Bodega Bay, continued east through Guerneville on to Santa Rosa
Photo: Jeff Lowe
Sonoma County 1 night (2 days)

In Sonoma County, the family did stop at a couple of wineries, but eschewed a fully wine-focused agenda, in favor of some countryside activities. The highlight of these was an early morning hot-air balloon flight over the wine country.

Sonoma County Highlights
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Hot air balloon ride left from Charles Schultz Airport in Santa Rosa in the early morning hours and landed at the Kendall Jackson Winery a few miles away
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The kids got to go to Lake Sonoma (west of Santa Rosa), where they used paddleboats on a beautiful sunny day
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Stopped at Dry Creek General Store for a deli lunch, eaten at their picnic tables
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Went wine tasting at gorgeous Lambert Bridge Winery near Healdsburg
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Took the kids to Johnson's Beach in Guerneville (just West of Santa Rosa) for a swim in the Russian River on a beautiful sunny day (they didn't want the hotel pool!)
Photo: Bob Cunningham
Monterey Peninsula 2 nights
The Davis family followed up their visit to the Sonoma Coast and the Sonoma Wine Country with a visit about 3 hours south to the Central Coast's crown jewel: The Monterey Bay. From Santa Cruz to Montery and Carmel by the Sea, the ladies truly enjoyed a relaxing time in this picturesque seaside destination.
Monterey Peninsula Highlights
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Toured the Monterey Bay Aquarium
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Ate at a Mexican restaurant right across from the hotel
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Toured the 17-Mile Drive at Pebble Beach and saw the sea otters
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Stopped at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk for a brief visit on their last day
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Stopped for lunch at Buck's in Woodside (where the big deals are made) on their last day
Photo: Jeff Lowe
Return to San Francisco 1 night

Tours of infamous federal prison on Alcatraz Island are offered 7 days a week. However, one special version of the tour is only available 5 days a week. The Alcatraz Evening Tour offers a chance to experience the prison as evening falls across the Bay, experiencing a different mood, and allowing you a glimpse at what prison life here must have been like, as the reality of nighttime on the island sets in.

Janice was very gung ho to take the ladies on this version of the tour. Unfortunately, the two nights they planned to spend in San Francisco at the beginning of their tour fell on the two nights of the week when the tour is not offered. A little creative thinking, and we realized that, with the group flying back out of SFO at the end of their trip, here was another opportunity to take the tour, and jogged the itinerary to fit this activity in as the last attraction of the family's week in California.

ENDURING MEMORY - The Sonoma Coast

Guide, Deke Sinclair, recalls two special moments from the Davis's trip to the Sonoma Coast.

Muir Beach Overlook

If you were from the East Coast and hadn't experienced the natural beauty of California, all you'd have to do is stop here. High above the blue Pacific on bluffs overlooking 50 miles of coastline and thousands of square miles of ocean, you would think you'd come to the end of the world. We walked down the staircase to the edge of the bluff overlooking the ocean. You could see all the way down the coast to San Francisco and all the way north up the Sonoma Coast to Stinson Beach. If you looked straight ahead, you could make out a cargo ship off in the distance. We were there on a magical day, with the vistas startling in their beauty. This area has remained unspoiled and was just waiting for us to discover it.

Goat Rock State Beach

Just south of Bodega Bay on the Sonoma Coast, this beach provided us with a spectacular visual experience. The beach is not made of sand, but is a gently downward slope of tiny pebbles that make a rushing sound when the constant waves crash upon the narrow beach. Large rocks lie at the water's edge, interrupting the waves' short trip to the beach. A cacophony of sun, crashing waves, mild breezes, moderate temperatures and the azure Pacific in late afternoon made for an almost surreal experience. It was made even sweeter by the fact that we literally stumbled upon this beach; we didn't even know it was there! You just had to be there to appreciate the show that Mother Nature put on! We left this beach stunned by its natural beauty and with the inner realization that we had frozen in our collective memory a vista that would last a lifetime.

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