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 January 27, 2013
    Marcy Gordon answered the question: Marcy Gordon

    What should I pack for a trip to Napa and Sonoma?

    My secret desire is to travel like a super model with just sunglasses, a cashmere sweater, capri pants, and a Birkin bag filled with enough La Mer moisturizer to get me through the flight. That said, cashmere is the answer to what to pack for Napa and Sonoma. It's always appropriate, can be dressed up or down, and the fiber magically adjusts to the temperature changes keeping you warm or cool as needed. A crisp white shirt, jeans, and a cashmere sweater are all you really need. Plus, if you pack light you have a great excuse to go shopping when you arrive.
    Napa and Sonoma prescribe to a somewhat mysterious dress code known as “Wine Country Casual” which, for the most part, means nice jeans with polo shirts for men and sportswear separates for women. Footwear is usually the dilemma for women, as heels are not recommended for vineyard visits or garden parties where you may end up aerating the lawn with your Louboutins. Closed-toe shoes are recommended for vineyard tours where the terrain can be steep and rocky. The bottom line is wear what makes you feel comfortable and allows you to move around easily for any activity. 
  • On January 27, 2013
    Marcy Gordon answered the question: Marcy Gordon

    What is the one must-do activity in Napa and Sonoma?

    Anyone interested in the essence of the wine county should experience making wine and food first hand. It’s both practical and fun.
    For ardent oneophiles or even casual wino’s the must-do activity is make your own wine. Blending sessions are an entertaining way to learn and create your own bottle. The Conn Creek AVA Barrel Room in Napa has barrels of Cabernet Sauvignon representing the diversity of American Viticulture Areas in the valley. The Cabernet barrels are grouped according to five fruit complexity profiles— Soft, Supple, Complex, Rich and Bold. Everything you need from blending beakers to corking is provided. The first step is to taste from each barrel and note what samples appeal to you most. Then after you have an idea of what blend percentages you’d like, you fill your beaker accordingly and try it in the large tasting glass. The tricky part is converting your percentages to millimeters, but don’t worry, calculators are provided.
    At Raymond Vineyards in the Blending Room you can also create your own blend, design your own label and order a case made to your specifications.
    Once you make your wine, you’ll probably want some cheese to pair with it. Luckily, the other must-do activity I recommend is making cheese, and you can learn how to do that with Sheana Davis, at The Epicurean Connection in Sonoma. 
  • On January 27, 2013
    Marcy Gordon answered the question: Marcy Gordon

    What are the best activities to do in Napa and Sonoma?

    The best activities in Napa and Sonoma naturally involve wine—such as touring the many vineyards, wine pairing dinners, and vinotherapie spa treatments with grape extract products. Even golfers can enjoy the wine scenery and tee off between 150 acres of vineyards at the 18-hole, semi–private Chardonnay Golf Club in Napa. 
    To appreciate all the natural beauty of Napa and Sonoma, get a view from above in a Hot Air Balloon. Napa Valley Balloons offers group and private packages. In Sonoma, Up & Away offers a champagne brunch after the ride.  
    For an only-in-Sonoma experience, take a horseback ride through the redwoods with the affable guides at Armstrong Redwoods Pack Station. Or fly though the redwoods via zip line at Sonoma Canopy Tours.
    Prefer an experience you can re-create at home? Try one of the many cooking classes offered at Relish Culinary in Healdsburg or Oenotri in Napa. 
  • On January 27, 2013
    Marcy Gordon answered the question: Marcy Gordon

    What are the best attractions in Napa and Sonoma?

    First and foremost, wine is the main draw in Napa Valley, and many wineries are worth a visit, even for those who are not wine tasting. My personal favorite for all-in-one wine, fun, and education is Raymond Vineyards.
    In Napa proper, visit Oxbow Market for the best food purveyors all under one roof. Check the schedule at the Uptown Theater for top music and entertainment events, or board the Wine Train for a leisurely gourmet ride though the vines.
    The Old Faithful Geyser in Calistoga, and the Petrified Forrest are wonders of nature at the north end of the Napa valley. 
    I think the best attractions in Sonoma County are found outdoors. Grab your hiking boots and enjoy the rugged beauty of the Sonoma Coast, the tranquility of the soaring redwoods in Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve Park, or the relaxing Russian River.
    In Northern Sonoma County, follow The Wine Road for the best wineries in Russian River Valley, Dry Creek Valley, and Alexander Valley. And for an experience way beyond sniff, swirl and sip, check out Francis Ford Coppola Winery, located in Geyserville, with an array of activities including a resort style pool with cabanas, and a mini-museum of film memorabilia.
    Fans of Peanuts comic strip will want to make a pilgrimage to the Charles Schultz Museum and keep an eye peeled for character statues scattered all around Santa Rosa. In tiny Bodega, flock to the spot where Alfred Hitchcock filmed the famous schoolhouse scene from The Birds.
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