My last blog told about my family’s blitz drive to San Francisco and our first 4 hours of a 23.5-hour stay. Are you ready to hear the rest? Here goes.
After taking the Hyde Line from Fisherman’s Wharf back to The Fairmont, we slept in our lovely room and woke up remarkably refreshed and ready to go. We had about 8 hours left before leaving for Sacramento and a lot of ground to cover.
It was a walking day, so after leaving our luggage in the car we headed down California Street … all the way to the Ferry Building. Walking through the city was delightful — the air is fresh from the breeze off the bay, the architecture is varied and designed with incredible curves and angles, and everywhere that it’s possible, there is a garden tucked in. Even the trees that line the streets are well maintained — limbed up to reveal sensuous trunks that draw the eye upward to beautiful foliage and, at certain times of the year, flowers.
The Ferry Building is a fun place to go for coffee and food. Blue Bottle Coffee and Peet’s Coffee & Tea have venues there, as well as a couple dozen other restaurants and shops ranging from gluten-free and regular artisan bakeries to a store that sells pork exclusively, to an herb vendor. We were impressed that virtually all of the eateries feature fresh, local, healthy cuisine. I was especially pleased to eat gluten-free quiche that tasted amazing from Mariposa Artisan-Crafted Gluten-Free Bakery.
From The Ferry Building, we took the boat to Sausalito ($20 round trip), a charming town on the other side of the bay. The ride motors by Alcatraz, which we didn’t have time to tour but could see quite prevalently in the bay.
Sausalito has lots of eateries, shops, hang-out spots and art galleries. We went into several and saw jaw-dropping photography, original Dr. Seuss sketches, and incredible blown-glass sculptures. Outside was just as entertaining with buskers on every corner and beautiful little homes with gardens.
Again, we enjoyed healthy and delicious food at The Sausalito Bakery. I had a vegetable plate that made my body feel instantly stronger — I kid you not! The bakery serves a variety of salads and sandwiches, and ice cream.
Taking the ferry back to the city, we walked up to Coit Tower, which is quite a climb from the waterfront. There are views from every corner in this city full of hills, and flowers — often in the form of huge succulents — everywhere. Coit Tower is worth a visit for the view and the famous murals that cover its walls, depicting scenes of early San Francisco life and industry.
We were on our way to Lombard Street — but alas, a person can only climb so many hills in one day and we were on the other side of the hill from the section of switchbacks that it is famous for, so we contented ourselves with seeing it from a distance and headed back to our car and out of town.
Exhausted, well-exercised, but satiated with beauty and fresh air and good food, we packed it up and headed to Sacramento, so glad we took the time — albeit only 23.5 hours — to visit such a great city.
A tip to make your trip better: If you’re planning to go to the Bay Area remember that the temperature in San Francisco is often much cooler than inland. We drove through 100-degree weather and arrived in 65-degree, breezy weather. Once the sun went down it was cold, and I was very glad I brought a sweater and jacket.
All photos by Elizabeth Griffin.