VBT Bike Tour guests: VBT will offer a shuttle from San
Francisco International Airport to MacArthur Place in Sonoma, departing the
airport at 1:00 pm. If you are arriving after this shuttle departs or your
flight is delayed, you must make your own arrangements to reach MacArthur
Please meet the shuttle at the San Francisco International
Airport in Courtyard #1, outside of Terminal #1. There are signs in the baggage
claim area that read “CHARTER BUSES”. Follow them to the extreme end of
Terminal 1 (with your back to the baggage carousels and facing the exit doors,
you will turn LEFT). Exit the building and continue in the same direction along
the pavement until you see the “Courtyard 1” sign: it will be on your left-hand
side. Your shuttle bus will carry “Pure Luxury” titles, and the driver will be
holding a VBT sign. The driver and vehicle will not pull into the courtyard
until 1:00 pm.
For guests driving to the tour, parking is available for the
six days without charge at MacArthur Place. Please check-in with your leaders
who will let you know where to leave your car.
VBT Pre-Trip Extension guests: You have another morning to
enjoy San Francisco. At 1:30 p.m., the shuttle company will meet and transfer
you to MacArthur Place. Please be outside the hotel at 1:15 p.m. The shuttle
will be coming from the airport with arriving VBT guests. Please allow for
We meet at MacArthur Place, located in Sonoma, California.
Sonoma's rustic surroundings, amid the backdrop of a dynamic wine region, is
home to award-winning wineries, stately redwoods, magnificent coastlines, the
Infineon Raceway and plenty of shopping. Upon checking in at MacArthur Place,
ask at the reception desk for your welcome package, full of information you
might find useful on tour. After settling in, meet your Trip Leaders at 3:30
p.m. for a safety and bike-fitting session, followed by a short warm-up ride
and introduction to the charming town plaza. Tonight, we dine at Saddles
Steakhouse, rated the "best beef restaurant in California." by the
California Beef Council. (There will be non-beef options too!)
Day 2 - Madonna Estate Winery/Sonoma
Our morning cycling takes us from the Inn southeast along
back roads to enter the Carneros district. Renowned for its still and sparkling
wines, this area of low hills and flatlands follows the San Pablo Bay from east
to west. The wineries benefit from the ocean air, as it enables them to grow
cool-climate grapes like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. This area, also known as
Los Carneros, is a viticulture region stretching across the cool lower reaches
of Sonoma and Napa Counties. The word carneros means “sheep” in Spanish, and
the slopes now covered with vines were once thought to be good only as pasture.
We will pause here to enjoy a picnic lunch and tasting at Madonna Estate Winery
before continuing back to Sonoma. This afternoon, enjoy free time to continue
exploring more wineries, browse Sonoma's shops and galleries or relax in the
pool or spa at MacArthur Place.
Tonight dinner is on your own at one of Sonoma's fine
restaurants. There are many options for dinner on the town plaza. Your Trip
Leaders will be happy to help with recommendations and directions.
Day 3 - Valley of the Moon/Glen Ellen/Kenwood/Bodega Bay
After a leisurely breakfast, we start our day with a ride
from Sonoma through the Valley of the Moon. This region received its name from
the Native Americans, who first noticed that as the moon ascends in the evening
sky, it appears to rise again and again over the peaks and glens of the
Mayacamas mountain range.
This morning, we stop at a local olive press for a tour of
the facility and a tasting. Continuing on, we cycle to the town of Kenwood,
arriving at the beautiful Chateau St. Jean Winery. With its surrounding
vineyards and lush, manicured grounds, the estate's landscaping was inspired by
formal estate gardens in Italy and France. We will visit the Vineyard Room for
a tasting. Lunch is on your own today; you can pick up something in Glen Ellen
or purchase something from the Charcuterie at Chateau St. Jean. After lunch, we
will board a shuttle for the 90-minute transfer to Bodega Bay.
Our lodging for the night is the Inn at the Tides. Offering
stunning views of the bay, the inn is perfectly located for our one-night
stopover on the coast. You may wish to take a swim in the inn's pool or relax
in the hot tub before dinner. Tonight, we'll dine at the inn.
Day 4 - Armstrong Redwoods
This morning, we'll have breakfast on the wharf at The Tides
Restaurant, which was made famous by Alfred Hitchcock's film The Birds. The
Tides Wharf Restaurant and parking area were used for the movie's gas station,
cafe and boat dock scenes. The Tides complex has been expanded and remodeled
several times since the filming.
After breakfast, we start our day with a ride from Bodega
Bay, following the coastline for ten miles before heading inland toward
Guerneville. This morning's ride offers beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean,
and as you ride, you'll enjoy the soothing sound of the pounding surf.
Upon reaching Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve,
you'll be surrounded by the towering redwoods that are protected here. A
testament to the wonder of the natural world, the grove offers solace from the
hustle and bustle of daily life, giving the onlooker great inspiration and a
place for quiet reflection.
Our stop here gives us the opportunity to marvel at the
stately and magnificent Sequoia sempervirens. Commonly known as the coast
redwood, it is the tallest living object on our planet. These remarkable trees
live to be 500-1,000 years old, grow to a diameter of 12-16 feet, and stand
from 200-250 feet tall. Some trees survive more than 2,000 years and tower
above 350 feet. Coast redwood stands are classified as temperate rainforests,
and they need wet and mild climates to survive. The rainfall in the Armstrong
Redwoods Reserve averages 55 inches per year, and the trees are often shrouded
in a mystical fog that helps to maintain the moist conditions needed for the
redwoods to survive.
Following our picnic lunch, we'll continue by bike or
shuttle to our lodgings in the center of Healdsburg, where we'll have the rest
of the day to settle in and explore the town. This vibrant town is known for
its historic downtown plaza, which has always been enjoyed and used as an event
and performance site. Visit the museum, stroll along the river though Railroad
Park or perhaps explore one of the galleries showcasing local paintings,
photography, glassware and jewelry. This evening, choose one of town's great
restaurants for your dinner.
Day 5 - Russian River Valley/Healdsburg
Today takes us on a ride through the kingdom of Pinot Noir.
The beautiful west-side and east-side rides of the Russian River Valley will
delight you with views of both tasting rooms and grape growing. The Russian
River Valley climate is sculpted by the regular intrusion of cooling fog from
the Pacific Ocean. Much like the tide, it ebbs and flows through the Petaluma
Wind Gap and the channel cut by the Russian River. The fog usually arrives in
the evening, often dropping the temperature 35 to 40 degrees from its daytime
high. The mist retreats to the ocean the following morning. This natural
air-conditioning allows the grapes to develop full flavor maturity over an
extended growing season — often 15 to 20 percent longer than neighboring areas
— while retaining their life-giving natural acidity.
All riding will be before lunch, which is on your own in the
town of Healdsburg. Then, take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy a swim or
paddle in the river at Veterans Memorial Beach, or take a plunge in our inn's
Tonight, rejoin the group for a farewell dinner at the inn.
Day 6 - Cycle Dry Creek Valley/Depart
After breakfast, today's route takes us through the Dry
Creek Valley, a beautiful, winding landscape with another unique microclimate.
Although it seems to be the same altitude, you might be surprised to spot a
redwood grove while cycling, round another turn and find oaks—or even palm
trees and cactus! Along the way you may wish to visit a few notable wineries
like Everett Ridge Winery or Quivira Biodynamic Winery.
Return to our inn for a shower and lunch before our shuttle
to San Francisco International Airport at 2 p.m. We recommend a flight out of
San Francisco no earlier than 6 p.m.
If you parked your car at the start of the tour, the VBT van
will transfer you back to Sonoma.
VBT Post-Trip Extension guests: The shuttle from the h2hotel
in Healdsburg to San Francisco International Airport will stop en route at the
Fairmont San Francisco. Explore the city at your leisure. Refer to the City
Information section, included at the end of your Final Travel Booklet, for
useful ideas to make the most of your time in San Francisco.