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afrdrx's Profile Photo

First time to Sonoma

by afrdrx Online Now May 1, 2011 at 12:06 PM

Hello all,

I posted a similar question in the Napa forum, but my boyfriend and I (in our late 20's) are visiting both Napa and Sonoma in late August. He has been to Sonoma once before for a wedding, but it will be my first time there. We are narrowing down places to stay before diving into planning things to do. We've been looking at both vacation rentals, and hotels. We will have a rental car but also like to walk or bike if we can to avoid relying solely on the car. I've read mixed reviews about many places to stay in Sonoma, and was hoping to get some input here. I'm looking for advice on areas of town to stay, as well as specific lodging suggestions. We've looked into:

-A few places near Boyes Hot Springs, off Sonoma Hwy

-A couple places near East Napa St and 8th St

-El Dorado Hotel (From what I've read...Pros: great location; Cons: lots of noise and tight on space)

-Bungalows 313 (seems like a nice option but again, I've read some great reviews, and some terrible...has anyone stayed here that can provide some insight?)

-Les Petites Maisons

We prefer to be in a relatively active area of town, and are big on food & wine (hence, the trip to wine country!) Any tips on nice (and not exceedingly expensive) areas/places to stay (and things to do/places to check out, since that would be my follow-up question) would be welcome and much appreciated. Thanks!

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7 Answers
  • travelgourmet's Profile Photo

    Re: First time to Sonoma

    by travelgourmet Online Now May 1, 2011 at 12:42 PM

    Yes, I believe I gave some suggestions on Napa. The Sonoma Valley is just as big and not as commercial. Sonoma Square is the active area of the town of Sonoma. I prefer further north at Healdsburg. The town square is lively and has many shops to browse, including an Oakville Grocery, the other being in Napa. On my Sonoma pages, I have a few photos of my favorite winery in Healdsburg, not only for the wine but the picnic grounds. See my VT tip for the winery and click on the blue underlined words for more tips and photos of the winery and grocery: "THE PICNIC GROUNDS OF LAMBERT BRIDGE WINERY" - Sonoma Travelogue by travelgourmet

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  • travelgourmet's Profile Photo

    Re: First time to Sonoma

    by travelgourmet Online Now May 1, 2011 at 12:51 PM

    Sorry, gave you the travelogue VT page for the winery. The tip with the underlined blue words is at webpage: members.virtualtourist.com/v...

    As for hotels in Healdsburg, I cannot help except for a website, as I did not spend time at a hotel in Healdsburg. We were staying at cousins home. :-)

    Website for Healdsburg: http://www.healdsburg.com/lodging/

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  • afrdrx's Profile Photo

    Re: First time to Sonoma

    by afrdrx Online Now May 1, 2011 at 6:08 PM

    Thanks for your help Travelgourmet; very useful information (as were your great Napa tips!!!)

    We're hoping to gather some input on the areas/places I've noted in/around the town of Sonoma (see original post). That is where my boyfriend stayed for his previous brief trip.

    Thanks again for everyone's useful input!

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  • atufft's Profile Photo

    Re: First time to Sonoma

    by atufft Online Now May 2, 2011 at 12:17 AM

    I also have lots of tips for wineries and such for Napa, and I've worked in Sonoma. Sonoma is very beautiful, but it's really many wine regions. The geography is more complex. As noted, Healdsburg is really the better more affordable and centralized town for wine within Sonoma's wine regions. You may find economical housing in the Russian River area, which is still within relatively easy reach of the wine region. If you bicycle, and don't mind camping, consider Bothe State Park, between Calistoga and St. Helena. This is an excellent state campground that has showers. This would be the cheapest way to enjoy Napa County. An excellent cycling route would be to go north of Calistoga over to Geyserville via the Alexander Valley. There are a number of excellent wineries in this region that is less frequented by automobile traffic. Riding around Napa and Sonoma County roads is OK, but auto traffic can be heavy and fast. Have fun...

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  • Dester's Profile Photo

    Re: First time to Sonoma

    by Dester Online Now May 2, 2011 at 5:25 PM

    Just throwing my two cents in, I ate at Lokal on the Sonoma Square a few weeks ago with friends and it was very good.

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  • Rixie's Profile Photo

    Re: First time to Sonoma

    by Rixie Online Now May 3, 2011 at 7:26 AM

    Forget Boyes Hot Springs. It's too far away from downtown - you'd need to drive everywhere - and the surrounding area has no charm.

    Les Petites Maisons is (are?) in the quiet Eastside, but it's not what I would consider close to the Plaza. If you like to walk, it would be fine - it's about half a mile awway.

    Of the places on your list, the El Dorado and Bungalows 313 the are most centrally located. There's a Best Western on 2nd Street West, about a block from the Plaza. It's not luxurious, but it's nice. One winter weekend I booked a room for my in-laws that had a king-sized bed and fireplace.

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  • afrdrx's Profile Photo

    Re: First time to Sonoma

    by afrdrx Online Now May 21, 2011 at 10:11 PM

    Thanks for everyone's help! We've been reading reviews about El Dorado and Bungalows 313, and I've also looked into the Best Western per Rixie's suggestion...I'm wondering if anyone on VT has stayed at any of these places. The reviews for each of them are all over the place (Most commonly noted CONS: El Dorado - very noisy; Bungalows 313 - not very clean, and only street parking; Best Western - not clean, musty odor.) I was hoping someone visiting this forum may be able to give some advice. I don't consider us to be extremely picky, but cleanliness is kind of a must, and despite 10+ years of city-living, I'm a light sleeper. Thanks again!

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