Culture | September 3, 2014 9:00 am

Where to Take Her

7 standout day trip destinations

By The Editors

Because every man needs a plan, and some of us need that plan with pretty pictures, we present Where to Take Her: a series that answers a gentleman’s most pressing lifestyle questions and recurs whenever we get around to it. This go-round: fall day trips. 

Apple Hill – Camino – Nearabouts the Eldorado National Forest you’ll find a preponderance of apple orchards gathered neatly under the umbrella of the Apple Hill Growers Association. Seriously, there are like fifty. Consult the catalogue for a breakdown of what each ranch offers and, you know, take your pick.

@Large – Alcatraz Island – Nice as it is to eyeball Alcatraz from the mainland, we’d seldom advocate a visit. Here’s your exception. Late this month it’ll play host to Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, whose sculptural installations will be on display in parts of the facility that are typically off-limits.

Chalkboard – Healdsburg – Picture perfect food in a relaxed — let’s say “Healdsburgian” — atmosphere. The chef even tends a three-acre patch of garden where he grows seasonal ingredients. Get the quail. It’s absurd. And because this is Sonoma, the wine list is on point. But don’t sleep on the cocktails.

Dipsea Trail – Mill Valley – As good-looking trails go, this baby’s a 10, carrying you through Muir Woods and landing you squarely on Stinson Beach, whereabouts you can even grab shuttle service back to the start and maybe a cold one or two while you wait. It’s got some steep spots, so consider your footwear.

Ehlers Estate – St. Helena – Sure, there are many upstart wineries in the area, but Ehlers has the perfect mix of ambiance, history and uncommonly good wine to justify the drive. Sip well and bask in the knowledge that all of the profits go to cardiovascular research.

Hog Island Oyster Co. – Marshall – With views of Tomales Bay and exemplary oysters, Hog Island’s Marshall oyster farm is a fine place to while away some hours. Don’t sweat it if you can’t snag one of their coveted picnic tables. You can always skip the shucking at their oyster bar and snag seats at a communal table.

Orr Hot Springs – Ukiah – So they don’t have a website or, like, cell reception, but what they do have are secluded, relaxing, clothing- and conversation-optional hot springs. You’ll want to bring along food and adult beverages and, above all, you’ll want to call ahead. Pro tip: rooms are available for day use.