Marcy Gordon

Correspondent

  • Sebastopol, California, USA

Marcy Gordon is a correspondent who lives in Sebastopol, and covers Sonoma and Napa for Forbes Travel Guide. Obsessed with travel at an early age, she built a replica of the Kon-Tiki from coconut husks and palm fronds in her backyard when she was nine. She is an editor for Travelers’ Tales and has written for the San Francisco Chronicle, The Travel Guide to California and Authentic Italy guidebooks. She blogs about wine, food and travel on ComefortheWine.com, and her narrative stories have been featured in many anthologies, including Best Women’s Travel Writing.

  • On May 11, 2013
    Marcy Gordon answered the question: Marcy Gordon

    What are the best cafes in Napa and Sonoma?

    When you want an hearty breakfast or lunch with quality food and a down home atmosphere check out these cafes in Napa and Sonoma.

    Sonoma—
    Gypsy Café – Sebastopol—Gypsy Café offers modern comfort food in a “urban salvage” setting with exposed brick walls and hardwood floors. The original Old Pine Cone neon sign out front guides the way to Breakfast served all day starting at 8:30am and Lunch daily from 11:00 -2:30 pm. My favorite wake up dish is the Sebastobowl --2 eggs any style, sautéed new potatoes, garlic wilted greens & toasted hemp seeds w/toast. {Yes, hemp seeds. It’s Sebastopol—hemp is practically one of the four food groups here.} Also great—the buttermilk pancakes available in full and short stack or the gluten free Swedish Pancakes.

    Napa—
    Gillwoods Café –Gillwoods Café has two locations—St. Helena and Napa Town Center. Both offer fresh bakery goods made daily on the premises and homemade down home classics such as hearty egg scrambles for breakfast and a selection of toasted or grilled sandwiches, salads, and soups for lunch.
  • On May 11, 2013
    Marcy Gordon answered the question: Marcy Gordon

    What are the best restaurants for a business lunch in Napa and Sonoma?

    Whether you seek to close the deal or pitch a start-up, here are a few of the best restaurants for a business lunch in Napa and Sonoma.

    Napa—
    Morimoto – The wow factor here is both visual and edible.  Morimoto is a great location for a business lunch that might include creative pitches or inspiration for developing new ideas.
    Redd – Elegant, streamlined, and sophisticated-- Redd is the perfect back drop to seal the deal in style with excellent food, service and wine list that will enhance any high level business discussions.
    Lucy Resturant in the Bardessono—A casual and laid back scene with a commitment to the highest quality dining experience makes business lunch a pleasure at Lucy Restaurant. 

    Sonoma—
    Stark’s Steakhouse—Old school is always in style and Stark’s delivers it with vintage décor and classic steak house fare serving Certified Prime Angus beef and features the only in-house dry-aging program in Sonoma County.
  • On May 7, 2013
    Marcy Gordon answered the question: Marcy Gordon

    What are the best indoor activities in Napa and Sonoma?

    What else is there to do indoors in Napa and Sonoma besides Eating , Drinking, and Shopping? Well how about a Candy Factory Tour or Ice Skating with Snoopy? Adults and children will both be pleased with either of these indoor activities.

    Napa—
    Just about 30 minutes due east of Napa you can tour the Jelly Belly Candy Factory in Fairfield. The free 40 minute tour takes visitors through the candy making process. Tours are available on weekends but best to go during the week when the factory is in full operation.

    Sonoma—
    Located in Santa Rosa, the Redwood Empire Ice Arena is home to Snoopy’s Home Ice, featuring the loveable beagle character made famous by Charles M. Schulz in Peanuts comic strip. Everything you need to enjoy a spin on the ice is available for rental and the Warm Puppy Café provides snacks and drinks. Afterwards visit the Charles M. Schulz Museum located just across the street.
  • On May 7, 2013
    Marcy Gordon answered the question: Marcy Gordon

    What are the best events this weekend in Napa and Sonoma?

    As the summer event season heats up weekends in wine country are packed with activity. Celebrate Mother’s Day this weekend with Mom at one of these wine or music events.

    Sonoma – Looking to expand your wine horizons beyond the routine Cabernets, Merlots and Chardonnays? Then bring your tastebuds to Healdsburg, May 11th 3-7pm at Bergamot Alley, for The 7% Solution – a wine tasting event that celebrates those grapes planted on less than 7% of the acreage in Northern California.  With wines like Trousseau, Picpoul, Touriga Nacional, Ribolla Gialla, Counoise, Grenache Blanc, Cinsault, Carignan, Tinta Cao, and Aglianico, in the line up-- you are sure to find a new favorite.

    Napa— All the buzz in town is for Bottle Rock Napa Valley.  Starting Thursday May 9th , the first major rock festival in Napa will turn on the star power with live bands and comedy acts on several stages surrounded by the best food and wine booths and after-parties galore.  Read more here on Forbes Travel Guide.
  • On April 30, 2013
    Marcy Gordon answered the question: Marcy Gordon

    What are the best wedding venues in Napa and Sonoma?

    Sumptuous food and wine, beautiful surroundings, and a relaxed yet elegant vibe are the hallmarks of a wine country wedding.  The options abound from chic hotel settings to vineyard side nuptials at wineries.

    For full the array of amenities a top hotel is the best choice and these Forbes Travel Guide star-rated properties are among the very best wedding venues in Napa for magnificent food and magical settings.

    Auberge du Soleil – Pure romance and memorable views.
    Meadowood Napa Valley – Every detail wrapped in perfection.
    Bardessono – Chic and low key the Bardessono, in downtown Yountville, is an excellent choice for a small private affair.

    Those looking to seal their vows in a vineyard setting between the vines, or between the barrels in an historic cellar will find these Sonoma wineries are best bets.

    Arista Winery—Spectacular vineyard views for formal or casual weddings both large and small in the tranquil Japanese garden.
    Buena Vista Winery—Lush grounds and the historic buildings create the ultimate romantic setting and a reception in the elegant Champagne Cellars completes the sophisticated scene.
    Ledson Winery and Vineyards—For storybook romantics the Ledson castle is the ultimate fantasy for a dramatic fairytale wedding. 
    Kunde Family Estate Winery—Several locations are available for weddings here, including the Dunfillan Ruins-- distinctive stone ruins in a lush meadow, and hilltop sites with breathtaking views.
  • On April 30, 2013
    Marcy Gordon answered the question: Marcy Gordon

    What are the best places for dessert in Napa and Sonoma?

    When your craving for dessert can only be satisfied by fresh flavors served with flair, head out to any of the following sweet spots in Napa and Sonoma. From fine restaurants to creative cupcakeries, you'll find something truly scrumptious to treat your tastebuds. 

    It’s hard to beat Morimoto in Napa for sheer wow value when it comes to dessert. Miso Butterscotch pudding sound intriguing? Or maybe the avocado cake will win you over. But you can’t miss with the Morimoto version of S’Mores. Just do it.

    If a bite size treat is what you seek, try Kara’s Cupcakes in the Oxbow Market or Sift Cupcakes and Dessert Bar with locations in Napa and Santa Rosa.

    And if you feel the urge to go All-American dessert wise, then Mom’s Apple Pie in Sebastopol is the natural choice with the best double crust style fruit pies baked daily and awesome cream pies too, in Chocolate, Banana and Coconut Cream.
  • On April 30, 2013
    Marcy Gordon answered the question: Marcy Gordon

    What are the best coffee shops in Napa and Sonoma?

    Without coffee (and lots of beer) there probably would not be any wine made in wine country. Luckily the obsession with coffee roasting and its preparation is as revered as winemaking. It takes a good strong jolt to jumpstart the morning and here are a few of the best places to get your java-mojo on in Napa and Sonoma.

    Napa
    Ritual Coffee Roasters in the Oxbow Market features pour-over cups with beans sourced in the leading caffeine hots spots such as Honduras, Costa Rica and Guatemala. Yountville Coffee Caboose, literally in a old rail car, serves up French-press style drinks. Napa Valley Coffee Roasting Company, in St. Helena has been roasting beans and serving it up hot and fresh since the early 1980’s. 

    Sonoma
    Sonoma is home to many roasters and artisan coffee shops with the lions share located in Sebastopol including Taylor Maid Farms Organic Coffee, Hardcore Espresso, Ninja Star Coffee Bar. Also worth a visit--Flying Goat Coffee with stores in Healdsburg and Santa Rosa. Read more about the Sonoma Coffee shops mentioned above on the Forbes Travel Guide blog here.
  • On April 30, 2013
    Marcy Gordon answered the question: Marcy Gordon

    What are the best places for brunch in Napa and Sonoma?

    Brunch in Wine County is more than quiche and the standard Bloody Mary or Mimosa. Here are a few favorites in Napa and Sonoma.

    Sonoma
    Spinster Sisters – (Santa Rosa) Located in the arts district on South A street, known as SOFA, Spinster Sisters does brunch with hipster flair. Start off with a Kimchi Bloody Mary and the Kimichi and bacon deviled egg. Then try the Red Lentil Coconut soup with ginger yogurt and chili oil or the Wilted Kale salad. For something more traditional, try the hearty South A Scramble, or Joe’s Benedict both prepared with local Petaluma Farm Eggs.

    Costeaux Bakery—(Healdsburg) This award winning French Bakery café has an excellent selection of breads and pastries and serves breakfast and lunch till 1pm everyday. The Costeaux Omelet is a standout as is the Croissant Breakfast Sandwich with egg, applewood smoked bacon, avocado, and cheddar cheese.

    Napa
    Boon Fly Café —(Napa) Nothing says “brunch” better than the Boon Fly Café’s Famous Bacon Bloody Mary. Be sure to order the donuts with your coffee as you ponder the menu filled with delectable options from Griddle Cakes with maple syrup and bananas to the Spicy Chilaquiles or the “Green Eggs and Ham” served with a lemon-leek cream on a bed of crispy hash browns.

    Solbar – (Calistoga) Sunday Brunch at Solbar in the Solage Resort and Spa is nothing less than inspired. The menu offers a range of light and healthy selections with an emphasis on fresh and seasonal as well as hearty fare with out of the ordinary flavors, such as the Chicken and Pancakes featuring buttermilk fried free-range chicken, sweet potato pancakes, and rosemary-cinnamon butter.
  • On April 26, 2013
    Marcy Gordon answered the question: Marcy Gordon

    What are the best kid-friendly restaurants in Napa and Sonoma?

    Kids today have very sophisticated palates. If your offspring are not the Chuck E. Cheese type here are a few kid-friendly restaurants that will please both you and your not so picky eater.

    Napa
    Gotts Roadside {formerly Taylor’s Refresher} is the quintessential drive-in burger joint but with a very high end approach to All American favorites like corn dogs, onion rings and of course fries. Two locations– one in the Oxbow Market in Napa and the other roadside in St Helena where the kids can run around the outdoor picnic benches while you quaff a glass of fine Cabernet with your 100% Niman Ranch beef burger.

    Oxbow Public Market
    Does your family like Italian, French or maybe Venezuelan? With a variety of restaurants all under one roof everyone will be happy here and the kids will be keen on a post meal treat from Three Twins Ice Cream or Kara’s Cupcakes.

    Sonoma
    Rosso—Wood fired pizza that will satisfy the inner child and a special menu for the Babmini with scaled down versions of the house specialties like spaghetti and meatballs and a kid pleasing mac & cheese entrée that you may end up ordering for yourself.

    HopMonk— (Sonoma and Sebastopol) Great food for all ages and the kids are safe to roam about in the garden courtyard at the Sebastopol location.
  • On April 26, 2013
    Marcy Gordon answered the question: Marcy Gordon

    What are the best hiking trails in Napa and Sonoma?

    Napa and Sonoma are full hiking options. With the coast to the west and mountains to the east hikers will find a great range of trials to suit their style and fitness level. Be it a long leisurely coastal trial along the bluffs or a rigorous climb to the top of a peak.

    Sonoma
    Armstrong Redwoods State Park – Hike around the cathedral of ancient trees on the park floor or head up the trail switchbacks to the top of the park where you can picnic above the tree line. 

    Sonoma Coast Trail -- Kortum Trail is connected to several trailheads that can be accessed from Highway One. Hike the entire trial from end to end or choose just a segment of this coastal trail that meanders along the high bluffs. Some sections of the trail are on raised boardwalks and pass by majestic pampas plants and Pacific reed grass and other native species. In season, you can catch a glimpse of the migrating whale pods.

    Pinnacle Gulch – This secluded trail begins near the Bodega Bay golf links and leads down a steep ravine directly to the beach. Depending on the time of day you may have the trail and the rocky stretch of ocean below all to yourself. It’s only a mile each way but quite an energetic climb on the return trip.

    Napa
    Robert Louis Stevenson State Park—If you are looking for an invigorating hike this is for you. Not a casual climb, but the 10-mile round-trip trek with 1300 feet of elevation gain, is worth it for the summit views. Note: The parking area for the trailhead is not well marked so be on the look out as you approach the turn out on Highway 29.
  • On April 23, 2013
    Marcy Gordon answered the question: Marcy Gordon

    What are the best boutique wineries in Napa and Sonoma?

    When speaking about boutique wineries, most agree the definiton for "boutique"  is quality wines made in limited production. But what constitutes limited production is often debated. Some say less than 30,000 bottles, others say below 5,000. But regardless of the number debate, here are my top selections for best boutique wineries.

    Sonoma
    LaFollette – When Greg LaFollette lends his master of touch to the winemaking process the results are memorable. LaFollette wines are first and foremost representative of their terroir and express a sense of place that is palpable and delicious. Previously available for tasting by appointment only, the wines are now offered at their new tasting room at the Barlow in Sebastopol.

    Cartograph—Stunning Pinot’s that reflect the delicate essence of the grape and will make you rethink the definition of Pinot Noir. (Healdsburg)

    Napa
    Meteor—Located in Coombsville, one of the newest AVA’s, Meteor’s vineyards have the extraordinary advantage of rich, stony soils, elevation, and the unique cool mico-climate that creates some of the finest and most distinctive Cabernets in Napa. Of course the talented winemakers have a major hand in the creation of the wines too, but it all starts in the vineyard.

    Corison— Tiny in production, but highly respected by winemaking peers and oenophiles for the elegant and vibrant wines made by Cathy Corison.
  • On April 23, 2013
    Marcy Gordon answered the question: Marcy Gordon

    What are the best commercial wineries in Napa and Sonoma?

    Some of the best commercial wineries are also the best equipped to host large numbers of visitors and deliver an engaging experience of their wines and large production facilities.  Here are selections for locations in both Napa and Sonoma.

    Sonoma
    Buena Vista— The oldest winery commercial winery in California, Buena Vista was founded in 1857 by Agoston Haraszthy. A visit to Buena Vista is must for lovers of history and wine. Be on the look out for the The Count of Buena Vista who still roams the grounds and brings the winery to life.

    Ferrari-Carano – You may feel the need to check your map and make sure you are still in California and not Italy when you arrive at Ferrari-Carano. The impressive Italianate Villa Fiore, is the grand center piece of the 70-acre Dry Creek Valley estate vineyard. The grounds feature beautiful manicured gardens and the barrel cellar is a masterpiece as well. 

    Napa
    Robert Mondavi—When people think of modern wine tourism they think of Mondavi. Robert Mondavi cultivated not just wine, but the concept of wine country as a destination.

    Sterling—Take a gondola ride to the winery with probably the best views of the entire Napa valley.
  • On April 23, 2013
    Marcy Gordon answered the question: Marcy Gordon

    What are the best adventure outings in Napa and Sonoma?

    Photo by Emily Blake, courtesy of Sonoma Canopy Tours Sonoma Canopy Tours --Take the ultimate thrill ride and zip through the redwoods with Sonoma Canopy Tours. The two-and-a-half hour adventure includes 7 zip-line platforms and steps up gradually to the grand finale zip line that flies 800 yards to the final stage where you rappel down to the forest floor.

    Safari West – Visit the African Bush right in Sonoma. Take a three- hour Safari Vehicle Tour through the 400 acre animal park where you can experience a host of wildlife including giraffes, ostriches, gazelle, cape buffalo, wildebeest, and zebras roam the grounds freely. 

    Getaway Adventures – From biking to kayaking and more, Gateway offers personalized tours through Napa and Sonoma propelled by your own arms and legs. Sign up for one of the popular Sip ‘N Cycle tours with stops at several boutique wineries or go coastal on a kayak tour where the Russian River meets the ocean in Jenner.
  • On April 23, 2013
    Marcy Gordon answered the question: Marcy Gordon

    What are the best tours of Napa and Sonoma?

    Whether via private limo, balloon, bike, or segway -- options abound for touring Napa and Sonoma in ways that that are both informative and fun.

    Platypus Tours—the classic limo tour with a twist—Platypus is major fun and led by expert guides that will customize the tour to your preferences in wine. Sit back, relax, and leave the driving to a local expert.

    Napa Valley Wine Train – Enjoy a gourmet wine-paring lunch or dinner in the plush restored rail cars as you pass thru the beautiful vineyard scenery of Napa Valley.

    Segway Napa— After a ten minute “get-aquainted” spin with your Segway,  you’ll be ready to whirl through historic downtown Napa and along the waterfront for an informative and fun tour. Off road vineyard tours are also available and a great way to get up close and personal with the vines.

    Napa Valley Bike Tours – Pedal the back roads and 
    private lanes of Napa and Sonoma on an escorted or self-guided ride through the heart of wine country.

    Napa Valley Balloons – No better way to get up and away from it all than via a private balloon tour above the Napa or Sonoma Valley.
  • On April 23, 2013
    Michelle Doucette is now following Marcy Gordon