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I'm finding the Europe planning to be really intimidating. Trying to work around train rides that can be accomplished at night, looking at what Rick Steves recommends, etc. It's really daunting. I don't know how Jeff did it!

Anyway, I thought I'd plan how to use up my remaining vacation leave for the year. I was thinking Napa (and Point Reyes) around Christmas. How is Napa then? Weather looks nippy, but not bad. Does everything turn brown and yucky, or is it still very scenic? Etc.

TIA,
1poorguy
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I was thinking Napa (and Point Reyes) around Christmas. How is Napa then? Weather looks nippy, but not bad. Does everything turn brown and yucky, or is it still very scenic? Etc.

I don't recall specifically how Napa looks at that time of year but IIRC, most of CA's dry areas turn brown in the early summer as soon as the rain stops and then turn green again in the fall when the rains resume. Even brown, the hilly regions of Central and Northern CA are nice -- it's not an ugly brown. And most important, you'll be avoiding the summer traffic, which can be almost as congested as a downtown at rush hour, all over the Napa Valley.

Pt. Reyes is quite dreamy and romantic when it rains.

My personal tastes lead me to prefer the Anderson Valley, a wine-producing area a little farther north, maybe further than you want to go. Napa to me looks too perfect, too manicured, like a giant estate garden constantly tended by an army of gardners. But I guess everyone should see it once. Some folks prefer the nearby Sonoma Valley for the same reason.

--fleg
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Well, it depends.. All the vineyards will be dormant, but as long as we get a fair amount of rain, lots of greenery over the rolling hills... But there's no way to predict the possible weather, could be pretty cold, below freezing nights, cloudy days, if not rainy... I doubt many, if any tours are running, the Wine Train might be running, but I doubt it... It's a quiet time, as long as there are no floods..

I think you'd be better to work on Australia, Great Barrier Reef... Even Hawaii can gat some tough winter weather... Maybe Mexico... We went to the condo in Puerto Vallartes one year, a little earlier, Thanksgiving. Very nice, even launched some baby turtles...

Pt Reyes will be likely immersed in fog, rain, not really set up for winter tourism...

Head South...
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I think you'd be better to work on Australia

The Barossa Valley a little ways outside Adelaide looks remarkably like the Napa Valley. When we drove there we wondered why we had flown halfway around the world when we could have driven to its equivalent in less than half the time and way less expense. Fortunately, the rest of Australia made up for it.

--fleg
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Would early October be better? Not my first choice, but a possibility (in terms of scheduling).

1pg (already lives south...wants to go somewhere else...somewhere pretty...and no flying)
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Would early October be better? Not my first choice, but a possibility (in terms of scheduling).

1pg (already lives south...wants to go somewhere else...somewhere pretty...and no flying)


Early October will be swarming with tourists. Harvest/vinting season.

Count Upp
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Anyway, I thought I'd plan how to use up my remaining vacation leave for the year. I was thinking Napa (and Point Reyes) around Christmas. How is Napa then? Weather looks nippy, but not bad. Does everything turn brown and yucky, or is it still very scenic? Etc.

It's always a good idea to plan ahead about possible nippy weather. There may be fog, especially along the coast, and especially in the morning, which could make things cooler then.

As for brown hills, they are actually nice and picturesque, but the hills are more likely to be brown in the summer (the dry season). Christmas time is in the wet season. Expect rain.

You might want to look into the Spanish/Mexican history of California before it became a state. And be aware of that history and legacy while you're there.

I like Pt. Reyes and the Napa-Sonoma wine country anytime of year!

culcha
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My sister used to live in San Francisco (7 years), and we'd
go to Napa all times of year. In my experience, when we went
in November, around Thanksgiving, the weather in Napa was chilly,
very windy and spitting rain. Never went in late December. In
early October, the weather is glorious. And I've been there in
September and October -- never found the tourists a problem. The
vineyards seemed easily able to accommodate everybody. If it's
not Columbus Day weekend, you should be fine. December, to me,
would be a gamble.
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Yes, indeed, October will have the fall colors in the vineyards, still pretty dry, though, but the shops, Wine Train should still be going.. Little towns up the Napa Valley, Calistoga, St Helena, Yountville have their own charms... As locals who had to work all over the area, we gripe about the traffic, the tour buses, hay trucks, but all of it is paying the bills for a lot of folks in the area... From Napa, day trips to the coast are doable, lots of road construction has been pretty well completed, so not so bad..

I'm to the West in Sonoma County, also a major wine producer, Mendocino County as well... Younger days, Napa was 2 valleys away, unknown to a lot of us, but now, it all blends together... Sonoma, Napa, Marin Counties are home to a huge variety of people, resources, Visitor Centers have all the latest...

Today, headed up into the Sierra foothills to Foresthill, a wedding... Should be great... But a 2 or 3 hours drive...
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Some of the Napa wineries require reservations. I think of Schramsberg, off the top of my head, But very good sparkley.

http://www.schramsberg.com/

Count Upp
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If you haven't yet, rent the movie "Bottle Shock" for a sense of NAPA in the early days. When you see the sophisticated wineries now it'll put it into perspective. I enjoyed it.
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-fo-wine6-2008aug06,0,18...

Hockeypop
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