Itinerary: Napa to Pasadena
Day 1: 65 miles. From the Oakland Airport, take 880 north to 80 east. Then go east toward Napa on 37 to 29 north and exit at Yountville. After lunch, return to 29 and drive south to 121/12. Go west 2.5 miles to the di Rosa Preserve.
Day 2: 215 miles. After stopping at Copia, follow 29 south to 37, and drive west to 101 south. After you cross the Golden Gate Bridge, 101 and Highway 1 separate. Follow Highway 1 south along the coast to Big Sur.
Day 3: 212 miles. Take Highway 1 to Santa Barbara, stopping at Hearst Castle for a two-hour tour.
Day 4: 100 miles. Ganna Walska Lotusland is off 101 south. After visiting the gardens, get back on 101 to Pasadena. From 101, take 134 east to 210 east. Exit at Lake Avenue and turn right; the road becomes South Oak Knoll Avenue, and the Ritz-Carlton is on your right.
Day 5: 13 miles. Swap your car for a bicycle: the Huntington Library, Gamble House, and Norton Simon Museum are all within easy cycling distance.
Museums & Libraries
The di Rosa Preserve Reservations required. 5200 Carneros Hwy. (Hwy. 121), Napa; 707/226-5991 www.dirosapreserve.org
Copia: The American Center for Wine, Food & the Arts Admission includes guest-chef demonstrations and lectures on wine and food. 500 First St., Napa; 707/259-1600 www.copia.org
Hearst Castle Reservations recommended. 750 Hearst Castle Rd., San Simeon 800/444-4445; www.hearstcastle.com
Ganna Walska Lotusland Reservations required. Santa Barbara; 805/969-9990 www.lotusland.org
Huntington Library, Art Collections, & Botanical Gardens 1151 Oxford Rd., San Marino 626/405-2100; www.huntington.org
Gamble House 4 Westmoreland Place, Pasadena 626/793-3334; www.gamblehouse.org
Norton Simon Museum 411 W. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena 626/449-6840; www.nortonsimon.org
Where to Stay
Milliken Creek Inn A tranquil retreat where the luxury is in the details: Bulgari green tea bags for your tub and picnic-basket breakfasts. Doubles from $325. 1815 Silverado trail, napa; 888/622-5775 www.millikencreekinn.com
Post Ranch Inn Doubles from $485 Hwy. 1, Big Sur; 800/527-2200 www.postranchinn.com
El Encanto Hotel & Garden Villas Doubles from $229 1900 Lasuen Rd., Santa Barbara; 805/687-5000 www.elencantohotel.com
Four Seasons Resort Santa Barbara Built in 1927, this ocean-front Spanish-Mediterranean hotel was a playground for 1930's movie stars. Doubles from $460 1260 Channel Dr., Santa Barbara 888/424-5866; www.fourseasons.com
Ritz-Carlton, Huntington Hotel & Spa Doubles from $310 1401 S. Oak Knoll Ave., Pasadena 626/568-3900 www.ritzcarlton.com
Where to Eat
Bouchon Lunch for two $60 6534 Washington St., Yountville 707/944-8037
Auberge du Soleil Dinner for two $156 180 Rutherford Hill Rd., Rutherford; 707/967-3111
Julia's Kitchen at Copia Lunch for two $75 500 First St., Napa 707/265-5700
Sierra Mar Between courses, an amateur astronomer will show you binary stars and the rings of Saturn from the deck. Dinner for two $146 Post Ranch Inn, Hwy. 1 831/667-2800
561 Restaurant Where California School of Culinary Arts students learn preparation and service. Dinner for two $65 561 E. Green St., Pasadena 626/405-1561