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Seeking Advice ~ First time trip to Sonoma/Napa

IslandGirl | Feb 17, 2006 12:29 PM

We are trying to organize an extended weekend reunion consisting of three couples, we'd like to go approximately mid-June and we would like to explore Sonoma/Napa County but none of us have been there so we are looking for some [lots of] advice. I've searched the CH database and already have noted some restaurant recommendations.

1. Is there a new up and coming area other than Napa/Sonoma to explore? What is the difference between Napa and Sonoma? Quiet vs. busy...casual vs. upscale... Is it practical to go between the two for a dinner?

2. We would like to stay somewhere that is a spa/resort so we can maybe work off some of the calories we plan to consume and ideally we'd be in a spot to take advantage of the best restaurants in Chowhouders' opinion in one or both counties.

3. One member of the group is allergic to cigarette smoke...is there any smoking in restaurants these days in California?

4. What is everyone's top fave restaurants ~ not necessarily famous ~ great food, great atmosphere and great service? We don't mind going off the beaten track for the experience and have not desire to go to French Laundry.

Hmm..that is all I can think of at the moment but hopefully that will get things started. Thank you for any advice offered. I've posted for previous trips to other locations and we've always ended up finding a gem of a restaurant each time thanks to advice from Chowhound.

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