I am fortunate that because @WineGuyTO’s brother lives in from San Francisco, California, we visit at least once a year. This year we went out in March. While everyone in Toronto was enjoying unseasonably warm temps, we had rain 😦 But there were a few days of sun and we enjoyed them.
This visit we did some touristy things. The first was seeing the famous redwood trees. In my quest we ended up visiting 3 parks: Redwood State Park outside Moraga, Armstrong Woods outside Guerneville and the famous Muir Woods north of San Francisco.
These trees are big! The trees in Redwood are re-growth as they were a logged forest previously. Currently they are about 150-200 years old. Still formidable.
Please excuse the pictures from Armstrong as this was the first day of the heavy rain. This forest I believe is older. It is located in Sonoma wine country outside Guerneville and is more isolated.
Lastly Muir Woods. Thankfully the sun was shining this day, though the creeks were at times overflowing the banks. A very popular spot, there were lots of people both hiking for pleasure and sight-seeing.
A must for this trip was going to wine country! Our location was chosen when scouting through Groupon I found a hotel stay at a decent price in Guerneville. We had no real plan in mind other than going to Benziger Winery. The Groupon included a tasting passport, so that influenced our day 2 choices. I was surprised at how close to the East Bay Sonoma was. We were at the outskirts within an hour! Our first day (and the last with sunshine) we sampled wines from: Viansa, Valley of the Moon, Keating, Meadowcroft, Benziger and Sonoma-Enoteca. On our second day we visited: Imagery Estate, Ledson, Red Car, Dutton Estates and Russian River Vineyards. I am hoping that (one day) @WineGuyTO might write a blog post. Regardless our favourites were Benziger, Imagery, Keating and Red Car.
Our other bit of being a tourist was visiting Alcatraz. I remembered the line-ups on Pier 39 from my first trip to San Fran so I pre-booked the tickets online. Thankfully, though it was dreary out, it did not rain on us. I enjoyed exploring the island by ourselves. We did not think that we would be there for the two hours they suggested, but that is about how long it takes! In the actual prison section they handed out free audio guides which was nice, they had some actual prisoners and guards narrating famous events. Other than the movies, my knowledge of Alcatraz was limited to it being a prison. I did not know that it had been an army base as well, and had been the site of an 19 month Occupation by Native Americans (American Indian Movement). The room of all the movie posters and tv shows that had Alcatraz in them was interesting because there were many more than I thought.