Best Of 2011

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Best Love - Hate Relationship with Core Muscles

Pilates is no joke. The first time I tried it, I went in confident in my strength and flexibility. I walked out realizing just how weak and inflexible I really am. Who knew that using one's own body weight as resistance for a mere half hour could cause days-long soreness? That said, it's certainly a workout worth trying, and Downtown Pilates is your pick for Best Pilates Studio in Napa County.

Along with regular pilates mat classes, Downtown Pilates teaches fusion, a challenging exercise done to music and a style that combines elements of pilates, yoga, ballet and Lotte Berk. Equestrian pilates classes are also available, an innovative workout that enhances the muscles,which benefits both horse and rider. If you're able to keep it up (unlike me), eventually your body could be as ripped as Madonna's—pilates is her fitness secret of choice.—M.S.

Best Antecedent to Coit Tower

Sometimes there's nothing more refreshing than being surrounded by mile-high redwoods, forest vegetation and the reassuring sound of running creek water. Doesn't sound like a bad way to spend a relaxing day or even a weekend, which is why so many locals and wine tourists alike are drawn to Bothe State Park, your pick for Best Park in Napa County, located in the heart of Napa Valley.

Named after Reinhold Bothe, the park has a long history. In the 1870s, much of the park was acquired as a country estate for Charles Hitchcock (whose daughter, Lillie Hitchcock Coit, would eventually have a tower erected in her name) for social gatherings and a popular vacation spot for San Francisco's elite. The valley's attractiveness prompted Bothe to acquire part of the estate when the last of its original owners passed away in 1929. Initially calling it Paradise Park, Bothe continued operations as a private resort until the state park system acquired it in 1960.

With over 50 campsites meant for family camping and five historic hiking trails stretching over 10 miles of land, Bothe Park is every nature lover's happy place. Because of its prime proximity to many wineries, many visitors discover it on accident, not having known it's even there. Large picnic grounds are available for day use and a swimming pool is open for visitors in the summer. The park is principally located on volcanic ground, and ash from its tectonic past can be seen on the cliffs of Ritchy Canyon.

Sun, trees, historic grounds and delicious sandwiches packed for lunch. What could be better?—M.S.

Best Bike Shop


Mike's Bikes

836 Fourth St., San Rafael. 415.454.3747.

1 Gate 6 Road, Sausalito. 415.332.3200.


Calistoga Bike Shop

1318 Lincoln Ave., Calistoga. 866.942.2453.


Mike's Bikes of Petaluma

264 Petaluma Blvd. N., Petaluma. 707.776.0606.

Honorable Mention

Bike Peddler - NorCal Bike Sport

605 College Ave., Santa Rosa. 707.571.2428.

425 College Ave., Santa Rosa. 707.573.0112.

Best Independent Bike Frame Builder


Otis Guy Cycles

115 Ridge Road, Fairfax. 415.250.2585.


Curtis Inglis, Retrotrec


SyCip Bicycles

Honorable Mention

Soulcraft Bikes

Best Gym


Tamalpais CrossFit

555 Francisco Blvd. E., #19, San Rafael. 415.256.9400.


First Place Tie

Synergy Medical Fitness Center

3421 Villa Lane, Napa. 707.251.1395.

Fitness First

1330 Gerard St., Calistoga. 707.942.5275.


Coaches Corner

420 Morris St., Sebastopol. 707.829.5180.

Honorable Mention

Powerhouse Gym

515 Fifth St., Santa Rosa. 707.284.4664.

Best Health Club


Bay Club Marin

220 Corte Madera Town Center, Corte Madera. 415.945.3000.


Synergy Medical Fitness Center

3421 Villa Lane, Napa. 707.251.1395.


Airport Health Club

432 Aviation Blvd., Santa Rosa. 707.528.2582.

Honorable Mention

Parkpoint Health Club

1200 North Dutton Ave., Santa Rosa. 707.578.1640.

19111 Sonoma Hwy., Sonoma. 707.996.3111.

195 Foss Circle, Healdsburg. 707.385.2500.

Best Pilates Studio


Fit First Pilates

21 Tamal Vista Blvd. #162, Corte Madera. 415.264.2157.


Downtown Pilates

1338 Pearl St., Napa. 707.257.7382.



850 Fourth St. #A, Santa Rosa. 707.526.3100.

Honorable Mention

Pilates Collective

132 Weeks Way, Sebastopol. 707.829.8746.

Best Yoga Studio


Bikram Yoga

San Rafael

1295 Second St. # 201, San Rafael. 415.453.9642.


Ubuntu Restaurant

1140 Main St., Napa. 707.251.5656.


Bikram College of India

522 Wilson St., Santa Rosa. 707.545.9642.

Honorable Mention

Three Dog Yoga

2097 Stagecoach Road, Santa Rosa. 707.528.1071.

Best Martial Arts School


Kim's Martial Arts Institute

85 Red Hill Ave., San Anselmo. 415.455.0471.


Red Dragon Karate

2000 W. Pueblo Ave., Napa. 707.255.5470.


New School Aikido

880 Piner Road #55, Santa Rosa. 707.571.2013.

Honorable Mention

ATA Martial Arts

1415 Fulton Road, Ste. 221. Santa Rosa. 707.523.1144.

1416 Sonoma Ave., Santa Rosa. 707.568.4321.

397 Aviation Blvd., Santa Rosa. 707.591.0800.

Best Outdoor Gear Shop


Demo Sport

1101 Francisco Blvd., San Rafael. 415.454.3500.


Napa River Velo

796 Soscol Ave., Napa. 707.258.8729.


Sonoma Outfitters

145 Third St., Santa Rosa. 707.528.1920.

Honorable Mention

Clavey Paddlesports

409 Petaluma Blvd. S., Petaluma. 707.766.8070.

Best Park


Samuel P. Taylor State Park

Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Lagunitas. 415.488.9897.


Bothe Park

3801 St. Helena Hwy. N., Calistoga. 707.942.4575.


Howarth Park

630 Summerfield Road, Santa Rosa. 707.543.3282.

Honorable Mention

Helen Putnam Regional Park

411 Chileno Valley Road, Petaluma.

Best Public Golf Course


StoneTree Golf Club

9 Stonetree Lane, Novato. 415.209.6090.


Napa Golf Course

2295 Streblow Road, Napa. 707.255.4333.


Bennett Valley Golf Course

3330 Yulupa Ave., Santa Rosa. 707.528.3673.

Honorable Mention

Windsor Golf Club

1340 19th Hole Drive, Windsor. 707.838.7888.

Best Snow - Skate - Board Shop


Battens & Boards

2640 Northgate Mall, San Rafael. 415.479.0103.



2740 Jefferson St., Napa. 707.253.7949.


Brotherhood Board Shop

1216 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa. 707.546.0660.

Honorable Mention

Santa Rosa Ski & Sport

1125 W. Steele Lane, Santa Rosa. 707.578.4754.

Best Surf Shop


Battens & Boards

2640 Northgate Mall, San Rafael. 415.479.0103



3090 Jefferson St., Napa. 707.255.3509.


Northern Light Surf Shop

17191 Bodega Hwy., Bodega. 707.876.3032.

Honorable Mention

Brotherhood Board Shop

1216 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa. 707.546.0660.

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