Springtime in Napa

It’s springtime in Napa which means mustard flower and cleanup piles. I have always found Napa to be a spectacularly beautiful place. But, I’ve always found the views away from the large commercial wineries to be my favorites. The side roads and country in between the touristy places can take your breath away. Napa is truly the most beautiful big time small town in Nor Cal and I never ever get tired of it in any season.

San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers

Golden Gate Park is full of surprises and pleasant escapes from the rest of the City. It is certainly up for “Best Park in America” if you ask me which no one ever does…

I digress. One of the many treats in Golden Gate Park is the Conservatory of Flowers.  It was like a trip back to Victorian times only more humid.

And where better to try out my new iPhone XS?  The portrait feature is a lot of fun providing some fake depth of field by blurring out the background of your subject. The phone is particularly better taking photos in high and low light compared to previous versions. (Thank you Apple for finally improving that.) Some of the filters are comically bad from a real photography perspective but they are fun from a, well, fun perspective.  Bottom line, the phone takes a much much clearer photo than before which I appreciate considering the obscene price.

It’s the City by the Bay.  The City that Rocks.  The City that Never Sleeps. We Built this City on Rock and Roll!  ~Jefferson Starship, We Built This City

Click here for other Golden Gate Park posts which will make you want to visit immediatly!

Check out my other posts on San Francisco here!

De Young Museum- Cult of the Machine

San Francisco’s premier art museum De Young , located in the glorious Golden Gate Park, is showing a “Cult of the Machine” exhibit which is simple, small, and enjoyable. The exhibit focuses on what appears to be period Industrial Art Deco style meets San Francisco Tech Industry.  A few pieces even focused on the Golden Gate Bridge, our beloved swaying icon of the area.  I found the exhibit to be very modern despite much of it being 100 years old.  The museum is a perfect respite from the heat and only feat away from my favorite San Francisco attractions; the Japanese Tea Gardens and the Botanical Gardens.  One could easily spend the entire day at the De Young even while the nature just steps outside beckon.

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Clarence Holbrook Carter – War Bride, 1940

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Joseph Stella – Bridge, 1936

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Charles Sheeler – Golden Gate, 1955

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Joseph Stella Factories, 1918

San Francisco’s Ghirardelli Chocolate

You must go here. It’s crowded but the hot fudge, my friends, is worth the wait. Not many touristy places will get my endorsement, especially in San Francisco, but you must trust me here. If any part of your tooth is sweet bring them here. 

Interestingly enough you can get a hot fudge Sunday just like this at AT&T park while watching the Giants play. Who needs beer and hot dogs when they can have this?

Just takin’ a little walk…over the Golden Gate Bridge!

Don’t look down!

My cousins and their Egyptian foreign exchange student came to visit San Francisco for business/pleasure from Phoenix.  Deciding not to plan ahead my cousins and I , both San Francisco tourist veterans in our own right, set to decide what important sites their new “daughter” must see.  The conversation went like this, “What do you think she should see?”  “I don’t know, what do you think she should see?  All I know is I am hungry.”  “Anything you want to do that you have never done before?”  “Ah, no. I feel like I have done everything.”  Then my cousin asked me if I had ever walked over the iconic Golden Gate Bridge?  Well, heck.  I never had.  I guess I just never wanted to deal with the wind and the crowds.  So we set out…

The parking Gods were with us.  Someone pulled out right in front of us.  Parking was only $5!  Parking is NEVER only $5 in San Francisco.

It turns out there is a lovely gift shop at the bridge.  I don’t know why this comes as a surprise to me but it does.  Near the gift shop there is a cool representation of what it takes to build this magnificent bridge.  Did you know that those gigantic orange cables holding up that thing is made of thousands of of smaller cables?  There are a few interactive toys/models to show folks the engineering behind the bridge too.

And then there is the bridge!  Just walk on out there.  Put earthquakes out of your mind.  Put tsunamis from the Rock’s new movie out of your mind.  Pay no attention to the police officer yelling at someone doing something they aren’t supposed to over the intercom.  Take some fun little selfies. And then behold the beauty that is the Marin Headlands in one direction and the most beautiful city in the United States in the other.  (Reference some of my favorite lesser known spots in SF: Botanical gardens, ChinaTown, Japanese Tea Garden, Coit Tower…)  You have a birdseye view of Alcatraz and Angel islands.  You can see the new span of the Bay Bridge and all its glory connected by Treasure island.  You can see Berkeley and Oakland.  You can see seals frolicking in the water below.  Wait, don’t look down!  You can see sailboats at 90 degree angles.  You can feel the vibration of the bridge moving by both natural forces and the hundreds of cars zooming by.  It is loud, very loud and the wind is whipping up in your ears making it seem even louder.  You dodge runners and bicyclists as well as other tourists walking with their cameras up not paying attention to anyone or anything around them.  We turn around 3/4 of the way over the bridge because it is a long darn bridge and the loudness and the wind is getting to us all.

It never fails to surprise me that every time I go to the City I have a good time and can experience something new.  I know it will be this way for the rest of my life.

Photo doesn’t do this view justice


It’s hard not to stare at this view


Do you think there is anyone out there that doesn’t recognize this bridge?


Such a beautiful city and the Golden Gate only makes her that much prettier

Used to have toll takers now what do you do if you don’t have a fastpass?

Cousins everywhere!  I never thought I would have an Egyptian cousin or a cousin from Pacific Grove and look at these two lovely ladies!

Try your hand at how much tension is required to raise a bridge

 

To read about my other San Francisco exploits click here!

Postcards from China Town – San Francisco

My Huz and I went to San Francisco for a concert recently.  Like usual we always take any opportunity to visit the city as a chance to explore some portion of it we haven’t explored before.  So this time we parked the car at the concert venue and Uber-ed over to China Town.  (Doesn’t that sound hip!?) I have driven through China Town plenty of times.  But, we had never taken the opportunity to walk around and explore the shops and people watch before.

A few highlights for me were the street art, the grocers with stores full of unidentifiable food stuffs, the junk shops full of crazy stuff you can’t live without, and the locals gambling publicly in the parks.

The south entrance to China Town


Locals gambling very seriously out in the open air park


Lots of interesting street art around


  

Old signage still proudly stands


I honestly didn’t know what most of the stuff for sale was but it was still interesting to look at


$268 per pound? Woah.


Chop sticks anyone?

 

For other fun posts on the City by the Bay, the City that Never Sleeps click here…

San Francisco – Coit Tower

Coit Tower is an important part of the San Francisco skyline.  Sitting atop Telegraph Hill it juts up 210 feet sticking out from the buildings around it like a beautiful sore thumb.  We will just pretend I am only 29 years old and say that I have been visiting SF for 29 years and have never gone all the way up to the top of the tower.  Why?  Who the heck knows.  Well, I finally did it.  And we did it right.  We parked the car and had Uber take us up to the tower so we wouldn’t have to fight the traffic and parking problem.  (There are about ten spots at the top of the hill!  Only ten people!)

The art deco style tower is filled with murals.  The murals were a public works project for local artists in the 1930’s.  The murals have been rehabilitated and are a wonderful spectacle while you are waiting your turn to go up in the elevator.  The murals tell the story of the bay area and California at large.  While the characters in the murals are sometimes creepy they are certainly entertaining.

Once up at the top of the tower one fights one’s way through throngs of people taking selfies but the 360 degree view is totally worth it.  Views of Angel island, Alacatraz, Treasure island, the Bay and Golden Gate bridges, and the City itself are to behold.  When you are up in this tower it reminds you that San Francisco is truly the most glorious city in the United States.  (Sorry NY but SF is pretty darn awesome on a nice warm, clear day.)

Put this on your SF must see list!  Check out my other posts on SF here.

Someone obviously painted Sylvester Stallone back in the 30’s… 😉

View towards the Bay Bridge and Treasure Island

View Towards Alcatraz

    
  

Botanic gardens – Golden Gate Park San Francisco

I rarely visit San Francisco without visiting Golden Gate Park. My favorite place to visit within the park is the Botanic Gardens. Now charging a small fee for entry I often think I don’t need to visit having been there multiple times before. However, every time I go I am left recharged and looking forward to my next visit back.

The park is broken down by continent and type of tree or bush or plant. One can even experience a garden for the blind which boasts hundreds of odorific plants.

The park is an oasis in the hustle and bustle that is the City by the Bay and is hands down my favorite location in the city.

I would be honored if you would view another of my fun posts on the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park by clicking here!

Japanese Tea Garden – Golden Gate Park San Francisco

Golden Gate Park, in my book should be every bit as popular and well known as Central Park and for some unknown reason it’s not. It is a virtual oasis in The City.

One of many reasons is the Japanese Tea Garden. For a few dollars you can be transported to another place in time.  It is peaceful and joyous and well cared for. Because of the small entry fee it is busy but not overrun with crowds.

So take a picnic and enjoy a first rate garden in the middle of the City by the Bay.





  
  

Check out Annie Heart’s heartbreaking love story inspired by my post on the Tea Garden by clicking here!

Ahhh shucks… I’m honored to be a featured blogger with Bucketlist Publications – Treasure Island, San Francisco

I am terribly excited to be honored as a feature blogger with Lesley Carter’s Bucketlist Publications. Please check out my piece on Treasure Island nestled in between spans of the Bay Bridge in windy San Francisco Bay!  It’s one of those places I have driven by a million times and always wondered what was there.  Well, I finally found out.  Check it out and let me know what you think!

Click here to view my post on Bucketlist Publications for a fun story and more photos…

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