Marcy Gordon


  • 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, and her narrative stories have been featured in many anthologies, including Best Women’s Travel Writing.

  • On February 23, 2013
    Marcy Gordon answered the question: Marcy Gordon

    What are the best fine-dining restaurants in Napa and Sonoma?

    There are so many fine restaurants in Wine Country you can't swing a rack of lamb without hitting one. Well maybe that's not the exact saying, but the sentiment is the same. Fine dining is akin to a religion here and you can worship at a different place every night of the week for months on end. So to make things easy I’m only going to give you two of my favorite “fine-dining” selections that are sure to deliver a memorable experience.

    The epicenter for fine dining may be in tiny Yountville where the sun never sets on the epicurean empire of Chef Thomas Keller and The French Laundry, the highly acclaimed temple of inventive cuisine. A meal at the French Laundry is not to be missed, so plan your campaign to secure reservations as soon as you know your travel dates. Hint: Try using OpenTable to make a reservation.

    In Sonoma, the Farm House Inn in Forestville is out of the way and out of this world for superb seasonal fare sourced from local producers. The atmosphere may be country casual but the dining program is finely calibrated to deliver a first class wine and food encounter of the third kind. What does that mean you may ask? It means once you board the culinary mothership here, you may never come back.
  • On February 23, 2013
    Marcy Gordon answered the question: Marcy Gordon

    What would be a perfect date night in Napa and Sonoma?

    My idea of a perfect date night involves great wine and food in a restaurant with a relaxed atmosphere. In Napa, a leisurely walk along the river will set the tone for dinner at The Thomas at Fagiani's where you can dine alfresco on the rooftop terrace. Afterwards head over to 1313 Main for a night cap at this intimate wine bar with over 1,300 rotating wines by the taste, glass, flight or bottle.

    Best date night dining in Sonoma? Think small plates. Try Willi’s Wine Bar, in Santa Rosa or Willi’s Seafood Bar in Healdsburg, for a round of creations that might make you focus more on your plate instead of your date but at least you’ll be sharing the experience. Or keep it simple and order the truffle fries with a split of sparkling wine and your date night is set. Both restaurants are under the direction of Mark and Terri Stark recently nominated for a James Beard Award for Outstanding Restaurateur.
  • On February 23, 2013
    Marcy Gordon answered the question: Marcy Gordon

    What are the best clothing boutiques in Napa and Sonoma?

    Looking Glass - Healdsburg
    This light and airy boutique carries a great selection of designers including Rag & Bone. You’ll find great accessories and gift items here too. I especially love the beeswax candles in antique bottle shapes. And for you Marvis fans, they carry a full line of the designer toothpaste from Italy in Ginger, Jasmin, Cinnamon, Classic Mint and Amarelli--Licorice flavors. Best of all they have an in house lounge serving bubbles. This is one-stop shopping indeed. Sip. Shop. Repeat.

    The Mercantile Shop - Healdsburg
    The Mercantile Shop offers a range of eclectic house wares and clothing for both men and women from California designers including Taylor Stitch, Levis Vintage, Paige, 194t, LNA, The West Is Dead, Alternative Apparel and Wren. Need help pulling together the perfect look? You’re in luck here, as proprietor Monica Schweiger is also a celebrity stylist. In homage to the general store of yesteryear, the wares are displayed around vignettes created from vintage found objects that match the store motto—“Stuff we like. Goods you need.” It’s like shopping in your best friend’s closet—the friend with great taste, an irreverent sense of humor, and spot on sense of style.

    Pearl -- St. Helena
    Located in a historic building on Main Street in St. Helena, Pearl offers a diverse selection of fashion and house wares that reflect the Napa Valley sensibility of relaxed and refined lifestyle. Be sure to check out the large collection of vintage and contemporary jewelry that will inspire you to “put a ring on it” and wish you had more fingers to adorn.
  • On February 19, 2013
    Marcy Gordon answered the question: Marcy Gordon

    What restaurants have the best wines in Napa and Sonoma?

    It’s Wine Country so great wine lists are everywhere with selections to accommodate every taste and budget. For an impressive list offering rare and prestigious wines from around the world and highly sought after local wines – Meadowood is the clear winner. But even tiny casual spots can have surprising and eclectic wine lists featuring local winemakers and uncommon varietals. The Bardessono in Yountville has one of my favorite wine lists encompassing a variety of regions and wine styles. Also in Napa, Morimoto and Auberge du Soleil, have notable lists. In Sonoma I favor the list at Scopa in Healdsburg, the list is small but features a weekly Wine Wednesday selection poured by a local winemaker. At Dry Creek Kitchen, on the square in Healdsburg, you’ll find an extensive list with over 600 Sonoma wines including very exclusive limited production wines and special regional wine flights. Also of note: Farm House Inn in Forestville, John Ash & Co., in Santa Rosa. 
  • On February 19, 2013
    Marcy Gordon answered the question: Marcy Gordon

    What are the best outdoor activities in Napa and Sonoma?

    A year round moderate climate makes Wine Country the perfect place for just about any kind of outdoor activity. But the spectacular scenery both inland and coast-side tends to turn any adventure outdoors into an epic experience. Just watching the hot air balloons over float above the Sonoma or Napa valley could be considered an activity in itself, but for those willing to greet the early dawn and brave the chilly air, nothing says “the great outdoors” better than flight in a hot air balloon. Landlubbers have ample choices too with kayaking, hiking and biking, golf, horse back riding, and whale watching on the coast. For something less ambitious, bocce ball is favorite activity and many wineries have their own bocce ball courts for visitors to use.
  • On February 18, 2013
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  • On January 31, 2013
    Marcy Gordon answered the question: Marcy Gordon

    Where is the best shopping in Napa and Sonoma?

    Photo Courtesy of Premium Outlets Shopping in Napa and Sonoma is practically a sport, so remember to keep your strength up and make frequent stops for liquid replenishment in the form of coffee, tea or a glass of wine.
    Bargain shoppers with a taste for high fashion, without the high price tags, will find Napa Premium Outlet Stores a dream come true. With stores like Barneys New York, TSE (cashmere), J.Crew, Michael Kors, Brooks Brothers and more it’s hard to believe it’s an outlet mall. Scott Lyall for Men, next to Morimoto in Napa, is the place for those seeking an upscale selection of menswear.
    NapaStyle in Yountville offers the best in home furnishings, cookware, specialty foods and wine accessories. Plus there is an in-store wine bar and café.
    Stroll the main street of Calistoga for local art galleries and antique stores side by side with quirky and original clothing boutiques. Spend a few minutes or a few hours (if you are a booklover like me) browsing the selection at Copperfield’s Books in Calistoga.
    In Sonoma, Healdsburg is boutique central with a host of shopping options for clothing, leather goods, art, and one-of-a-kind gifts. Lime Stone directly across from the square has the quintessential selection of house and tableware inspired by the local Sonoma food and wine lifestyle that’s both laid back and luxurious. 
  • On January 31, 2013
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  • On January 30, 2013
    Marcy Gordon answered the question: Marcy Gordon

    What’s the best time to visit Napa and Sonoma?

    It sounds cliché to say it’s never a bad time to visit, but honestly, it’s true. Mild winters and moderate summer temperatures make wine country a year round destination.
    Winters do tend to be on the rainy side, yet make it all the better to linger around a fireplace with a glass of hearty red wine. Spring is alive with new shoots on the vines and it’s especially beautiful along the coast. Summer brings long days, great for hiking and biking and the farmers markets are at their best with an abundance of seasonal fruits and vegetables.
    My favorite time is September through November, when harvest in full swing and the weather is at the peak of perfect with warm days, cool nights, and a handful of hot days in the inland valleys. The vineyards are full of fruit and activity is high. And the best month of all in my opinion is October.
    The holidays are also wonderful as many wineries are decorated, there are loads of seasonal events and the summertime crowds have thinned out.
    Basically, the best time to visit Napa and Sonoma is anytime you are ready. 
  • On January 28, 2013
    Jason Heard is now following Marcy Gordon
  • On January 27, 2013
    Marcy Gordon answered the question: Marcy Gordon

    What are the most romantic restaurants in Napa and Sonoma?

    The most romantic dinner I ever had was not in a restaurant and there were three of us. Hold on, it’s not what you think—one was a private chef! It just goes to show the ideal romantic setting is different for everyone.
    If your idea of romance entails lush surroundings, elegant cuisine and impeccable service, you’ll find Auberge du Soleil in Napa will meet and most likely exceed your expectations. Several of my friends have happily accepted marriage proposals there. It’s that kind of place.
    For something more rustic and intimate with a great wine list, sensational menu, and the ultimate romantic ocean view—Rivers End in Jenner, on the Sonoma Coast, is my top choice. Located high on a bluff, this beautiful spot is where the Russian River ends and joins the Pacific. Weather permitting; choose a table on the deck for the sunset. But beware—the sight and sound of the sea may inspire you to re-create the kiss scene From Here to Eternity and roll around in the surf. Instead, I suggest you opt to watch the moonlight dance across the waves from inside the restaurant.