SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – After a hectic holiday season, you may feel like you need a vacation more than ever. But you don’t have to travel far to feel like you’ve really gotten away.
Travel enthusiast Dana Rebmann says whether you still have a few extra vacation days hanging around or you’re just craving a getaway to recharge, don’t underestimate the unique properties that call our Bay Area backyard home.
First stop, Nick’s Cove in West Marin on the east shore of Tomales Bay. If you’re the type that’s taken by seaside charm, you’ll never want to leave Nick’s Cove.
There are only a dozen cottages total, five of which are on the water. No two are exactly the same, but they all have a rustic, seashore feel. Perks like fireplaces and cozy down comforters are the norm. A long pier makes for the perfect picture and the beach features a fire pit ideal for s’mores.
Water View Cottages from $299. Waterfront Cottages from $325. Rates include a complimentary continental breakfast with fruit, fresh-baked pastries, coffee, tea, and juice that’s delivered to cottages every morning.
In the wine country, The Francis House was built in 1886 as a family home. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it became the Calistoga hospital from 1919 to 1964.
Then it just kind of got forgotten and was headed for demolition until a local couple, Dina and Richard Dwyer took on a three-year project to turn it into a five-room inn. It’s been open about a year and half now. One of its first and regular guests is a gentleman born there when it was the Calistoga hospital. Room rates from $495, including a gourmet breakfast.
Hopping over to Sonoma County where you can find your zen at the Gaige House + Ryokan. Located in Glen Ellen, just a few minutes off of Highway 12, you’ll feel like you’re in Japan.
There are 23 rooms, and Asian design elements are found in all of them, but nine of them are Ryokan Zen Suites located in the back of the property. In addition to deep granite soaking tubs with traditional Japanese bathing accessories, amenities include kimonos, slipper, sake and outdoor patios with rock gardens.
They have a special right now – stays on select nights (Sunday through Thursday) start at $469 including breakfast and a 60-minute massage.
There are lots of ways to make friends jealous when you plan a getaway to Sonoma County. In Guerneville, you’ve got AutoCamp Russian River, home to 23 custom-designed and very shiny Airstream trailers. (And April through October there’s also 10 luxury, platform tents.)
The sheer coolness factor aside, the Airstreams are loaded with bells and whistles. Queen beds, kitchens, a spacious bathroom, heat and air conditioning. The outdoor patio area has a fire pit with a grill top that’s ideal for making s’mores.
Rates at AutoCamp Russian River start at $229 in the Airstreams, including a light breakfast.
Watch surfers make it look easy in Santa Cruz from your room at Dream Inn. The only beachfront hotel in the city, you can book rooms with views of the boardwalk and the pier.
One of its fun amenities is its Bedside Reading program. There’s a book in every room that guests are encouraged to crack open and if they like it, they’re welcome to take it home to finish it and as a souvenir. First opened in 1965, Dream Inn still has that old school surfer vibe, but with all the modern touches you’d want. Rates start at $219.