Sampling San Francisco

May 04, 2012

Ready for a return to San Francisco?

Here are a few more highlights:

Mission Dolores is the oldest building in San Francisco. It was the sixth mission established by Father Junipero Serra (in late 1776) and the building was completed in 1791. The Mission was built with adobe walls four feet thick, and original redwood logs lashed together with rawhide strips still support the roof. The Mission survived the 1906 earthquake, but the parish church next door did not. The current basilica dates from 1918. A small museum, cemetery and gift shop complete the Mission Dolores complex.

The original Mission
 Sunday we woke to fog, cold temperatures and wind—and wouldn’t you know, that was the day we planned to go to Crissy Field and the Golden Gate Promenade, all on the water. It was chilly, but we equipped ourselves with jackets and scarves—and this outing turned into one of our favorites. Crissy Field is restored coastal habitat, with tidal marshes, dunes and historic military structures (Fort Mason and Fort Point). We took our time strolling down the path, snapping photos of happy dogs, birds, flowers, sand dunes and a fog-shrouded Golden Gate Bridge. We fortified ourselves with a stop at the aptly-named Warming Hut, the park store and small restaurant/coffee shop. 

 After lunch, we drove to Ocean Beach and then down Hwy 1 in search of photogenic beaches. The sun peeked out, but the fog still rolled over the hills like water. We spied swimmers, surfers and wind-surfers braving the cold Pacific:

 On our last day, Susan, a college friend of mine, made her way into the city to meet up with us. She gamely tagged along as we crisscrossed the city trying to see things we’d missed, and returning to the Golden Gate Bridge to get photos without fog while Laure gamely put up with our chatter as we caught up on each other’s lives.

One of our destinations was the Hyde Street Pier, part of the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. Built for automobile ferries between San Francisco and Sausalito, the pier now houses a number of historical vessels, including the ferry Eureka, the square-rigger Balclutha, the steam-powered tugboat Hercules, and a number of smaller craft.

A quick stop for Irish coffee at “the” place to get it, the Buena Vista, and we were off for the Golden Gate Bridge again to try to get some shots of the bridge without all the fog of the previous day. This time, nature cooperated.

We ended the day with dinner at the Cliff House. Unfortunately, it was too cloudy to see the sunset, but apparently this is a great place to do so.

View from Cliff House
I’ve left out descriptions of some of the places we visited, such as Japantown and the “Painted Ladies” (Victorian houses) near Alamo Square. Even though we packed our days full of sight seeing, we still missed so many places of interest: the Conservancy of Flowers and other attractions at Golden Gate Park, several fine museums, the Yerba Buena Gardens, Alcatraz and the whole of the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, to name only a few. We didn’t even ride a cable car—though we did ride everything else! And we didn’t get out of the city to explore at all. I feel like I’ve just had a taste of what San Francisco has to offer.

Guess we’ll just have to go back.

You Might Also Like


  1. You most certainly WILL have to go back - and I hope I'll be with you. Great post.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Thanks, Cheryl. Hope you get to visit SF soon, whether "virtually" or in person!

  4. Very beautiful pictures! Thanks for sharing your trip with us, Kathy.

    Kathy M.

  5. I lived near San Francisco and drove through on my way to Letterman Hospital when I was pregnant with my daughter. I never dared get off the main roads to go site seeing. I was afraid I'd get lost. My husband did take me down that super curvy brick road once.

    Sounds like you two had a full and fun time!

  6. What wonderful photos, Kathy! I feel like I've had a mini-vacation reading your post. Sounds like a whirlwind tour, but still somehow relaxing. That will make one great sketching trip! Crissy Field looks like my kind of place...

  7. Sounds like you had a wonderful time doing "research"! Your photos are fabulous. Love the surfer one especially.

  8. Timaree--I don't blame you--driving there is a challenge. I didn't even attempt the crooked street--your husband was brave!

  9. Elizabeth--I think you would love Crissy Field. You'd have to go on a day that wasn't as windy as the day we were there if you wanted to sketch, though. I don't see how you'd be able to keep your paper from flying away otherwise!

  10. Krista--it's a dirty job, but someone has to do it! Thanks for the compliment on the photos. I was happy with them, and it was the first real workout I gave my new camera.

  11. Just catching up on my blog reads and it was a delight to revisit again! Already, I'm forgetting some of the details!

  12. Laure--It's amazing how quickly memory fades, isn't it? When I read your post, I was reminded of things I'd already forgotten. See how important journaling is?

  13. I'm afraid that if I do get to go, I won't want to come back to Omaha. I love the misty, foggy weather, but maybe I wouldn't like it every day. It sounds like it's okay to indulge in treats as you do so much walking. Glad to hear you had a great time--I hope I'll get to follow in your traveling footsteps! :)

  14. Danielle--I didn't want to come home to Florida, believe me! I hope you do get to go, and I hope you'll write about it on your blog, too.