If Savannah met a dash of New Orleans in California's Old West Gold Country, it might feel a bit like Port Costa. At the end of a long, winding road along the Carquinez Straight awaits quirky, charming Port Costa, a lesser-known town with stellar food, cocktails and an unforgettable dive bar. The town of barely 200 feels hundreds of miles from the city, though it's merely a 45-minute drive away.
What to Eat & Drink: Set in a gorgeous Victorian-saloonlike setting, Bull Valley Roadhouse is equal parts big city-quality dinner spot (Thursday-Sunday), weekend brunch haunt and classic cocktail destination. And there's an inviting back patio, to boot. Stay next door at the quirky, historic — and, some say, charmingly haunted — Burlington Hotel, from the same owners, Earl Flewellen and Samuel Spurrier. Executive chef and co-owner David Williams (formerly of Slanted Door) and chef de cuisine Matt Brown preside over most of the food. But Flewellen runs breakfast, served Saturday and Sunday from 9 AM-2 PM at Burlington Hotel cafe. The aroma of bacon and pour-over coffee, made to order, drifts through the hotel, while locals and visitors stream in all day for fluffy pound cake, dense cornbread, biscuits, fresh-squeezed orange juice and fatty-good bacon.
While You Are There: Skip rocks along the train tracks running the Straight, then catch live music some Sunday afternoons at one of the best dive bars in the US — yes, anywhere: The Warehouse Café, lined with mismatched antiques, animal heads, dusty Marilyn Monroe paintings and a giant polar bear — stuffed decades ago by an intrepid hunter — that towers over you as you play pool.
Transportation Time: Roughly 45-minute (30-mile) drive from San Francisco