If you're a foodie, you know you are fortunate to be living in the Bay Area, a culinary connoisseur's wonderland. These gastronomic getaways will tempt your taste buds and palate—and are less than a tank of gas away.
750 Chileno Valley Rd.
(707) 763-1025Why Go? The artisan cheese movement has mushroomed in Marin and Sonoma, with more than 20,000 acres of land in the two counties producing nearly 100 different cheeses from cow, goat and sheep milk. See the “whey” it's done.
Must Do: Cheeseheads can view the entire ranch on Achadinah's 90-minute “Traditional Tour,” including the loafing barn, milking parlor, cheese plant and aging rooms. Samples of the product are included.
Insider Tip: As long as you're on what has been labeled the California Cheese Trail, visit several more of the cheesemakers that are open to the public. Use this list to plan a full day.The Fine Print: Advance online registration is required for the 90-minute tour at Achadinah. The cost is $15. A 2½-hour group tour (minimum 10) that includes a gourmet lunch and wine runs $75 a person.
Island Oyster Farm
20215 Highway 1
Why Go? Do these bivalves have aphrodisiac properties? Tour Hog Island’s state-of-the-art wet storage tank systems and harvesting facilities on Tomales Bay to find out.
Must Do: Take a one-hour tour and tasting as you learn about oyster history, biology, watershed ecology and Hog Island's sustainable farming techniques.
Insider Tip: Since oysters are live seafood and must remain cold, bring a cooler if you plan to stock up on your visit. You can purchase ice and shucking knives, and the Hog Island site has tips on opening the mouth-watering mollusks.
The Fine Print: Individual tours for families and small groups are $10 per person and are available on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Tours must be arranged in advance through Hog Island's website.
1275 McKinstry St.
(800) 427-4124Why Go? Enjoy lunch or dinner in a restored Pullman dining car or Vista Dome car on a three-hour, 36-mile round-trip journey from Napa to St. Helena and back. The train passes through Yountville, Oakville and Rutherford, home to some of our area's finest wineries.
Must Do: The “Sip and Supper” package includes a 90-minute wine education and tasting experience before dinner. Private tours and tastings at selected wineries along the route are also available.
Insider Tip: You'll get more out of the dinner trips in the late spring and summer when you won't be making the trip in darkness, since the train departs at 6:30 p.m. and returns at 9:30 p.m.. The lunch train departs at 11:30 a.m. and returns at 2:30 p.m.
The Fine Print: Packages start at $99. The winter schedule (Jan.-Feb.) is limited, with lunch trains on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and dinner trains on Saturday. Daily service begins in March. Check the calendar for exact dates and times.
Plaza Farmers Market
On the grounds outside One Ferry Building
(415) 291-3276Why Go? What better place for a foodie than a farmers market? This one showcases the fruits, veggies, meats, eggs, breads, cheeses and jams of more than 100 local farmers, food artisans, prepared food vendors and even restaurants.
Must Do: The market greatly expands on Saturdays, both in terms of vendors and operating hours, so come for a hot breakfast or lunch from featured local restaurants. Like artisan street food? It's featured every Thursday.
Insider Tip: Though the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture only operates the outdoor market, foodies will want to check out the private retail spaces inside the Ferry Building, most of which are food-themed.
The Fine Print: Open rain or shine from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays and on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.