Posts tagged san francisco


Ok, so there was a brief hiatus from our San Francisco posts, but I’ll wrap it up right here, right now. Simon and I rented a car on Saturday while everyone else went to Muir Woods. We cruised around town and enjoyed the marvelous weather, and followed part of the 49-mile Scenic Drive (check out the awesome signage above – I really want a print of that). The 49-mile drive is meaningful on many levels; the city is 49 miles square, and it’s also symbolic of the 1849 Gold Rush. There’s a great Wikipedia on it if you want to know more.  

We rented a convertible, which was particularly fun as we cruised on over the Golden Gate Bridge. It was also the end of Fleet Week in SF, and the boats were all out in the Bay to watch the airshow. It was pretty spectacular, and extremely loud. Jude would’ve been really freaked out.


We made our way through Marin up to Napa Valley. It was spectacularly beautiful, and there was a crispness in the air. It just smelled like grapes and the vineyards were beautiful. We cruised through the various little towns, like St Helena and Calistoga. Did you know there’s another Old Faithful geyser in Calistoga? Apparently it is one of three Old Faithfuls. That’s about as disappointing to me as discovering when I was a kid that there was more than one Shamu. 

After dinner near Berkeley and a pitstop at Trader Joe’s (we had to load up on supplies!), we hopped back on the 49-Mile drive and snaked through the Presidio. By this time, it was totally dark, and the view of the Golden Gate was spectacular. There was not a cloud in the sky; it was totally clear with a great big moon and tons of stars. We pulled over and shot a few photos. Someday I want to go back and check out the Cliff House on the Pacific. At sunset, it must be absolutely dazzling.

Our last full day in San Francisco, Simon and Eric biked for 17 miles in the morning. Of course, this was after Eric had already been running that morning, crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. While the guys did that, I met everyone else for breakfast near Union Square, and then I took off shopping by myself for awhile. It was more browsing than shopping, really. But it was nice to just hang out. When the guys got back, all of us but my parents set off for Chinatown. The boys really enjoyed checking out all the little tourist traps. Upon the recommendation of a friend of ours who lived in SF for awhile, we were sure to stop at the Golden Gate Bakery for some special treats. I must say, I was pleasantly surprised that the Chinese baked goods were pretty yummy. I don’t know what I expected, but it was good! 

Before we knew it, we had made it through Chinatown and were headed to North Beach. The boys were such troopers, and nary a complaint for all the walking we did. Of course, there were copious stops for snacks and sweets. 🙂  So they were happy campers. We ended up all the way back to Fishermans’ Wharf, and ate dinner at Pier 39 after watching the stinky, barking sea lions for awhile. They really are entertaining. 

Cafe Chairs in North Beach (Little Italy)

It was a final goodbye to SF on a last cable car ride that night. Monday was just travel, travel, travel. ::sigh:: Almost takes the fun out of going somewhere, just having to get there!


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See the Sights






The first time I ever went to San Francisco, I was in the fourth grade. My parents had been many times before; it was one of their favorite cities. I remember how much fun it was to ride the cable cars and see the sea lions at Pier 39. I really looked forward to sharing all of that with my nephews.

One thing that we were really interested in seeing in San Francisco was the new California Academy of Science. Built to resemble the various hills around the San Francisco Bay area, the roof is entirely covered in plants. Inside, there is a very impressive rainforest as well as an aquarium and planetarium. It was slammed the day we were there; apparently it was a school holiday and we weren’t the only ones who thought it was a good idea to go visit.


Albino Alligator. Or is it a crocodile???

Albino Alligator. Or is it a crocodile???



I totally love an aquarium. I just can’t get enough coral, anemones, starfish, etc. I particularly adore getting to touch the little critters in the tide pools, and watching jellyfish float around in their silent dance. The albino alligator was really impressive. And a little freaky, hanging in the fog.

The graphic designer in me was particularly drawn to this gorgeous display:

Isn’t this a creative way to display the names of donors to the museum? They’re like a gorgeous cabinet of natural curiosities, encased in glass.

We enjoyed lunch on Fishermans Wharf at Boudin. I’m a carb and bread fanatic, and crusty, deliciouos sourdough bread in San Francisco is about as good as it gets.


Dad looks particularly cute in his crab hat at Boudin.
The signage around San Francisco is so fun. I could just roam around for days, taking photos of great signs and neon lights. It’s vintage sign fun!

Speaking of vintage signs, here’s a good one! Chocolate heaven, non? We enjoyed making our way from Boudin over to Ghirardelli Square for some dessert. While Simon and I indulged in some Sprinkles-knockoff-cupcakes (not shabby, btw), everyone else camped out at Ghirardelli for ice cream sundaes. Matthew’s berry one was particularly impressive. After a sugar refuel, it was decided that we should scale the hill to get up to Lombard Street. The boys needed to see the crookedest street in the world. 🙂

Let me say, it was quite the haul up that hill. If I lived in San Francisco, I would be SO buff. I cannot even imagine pushing a stroller up those hills.

Isn’t it a stunning view? Can you even imagine looking out at this every single day? ::le sigh::

Or, can you imagine getting to look at this (above)  every day? I’m a lucky girl! Hee hee!!!  🙂

Hanging off the front edge of a cable car, we made our way from Lombard down to Union Square. It is such an elemental experience. Touristy? Yeah, maybe so. But when I think of San Francisco, I think of chilly weather, the feeling of leaning forward down a hill while riding on the side of a cable car, and watching the lights of the cars on the Golden Gate Bridge. I want to eat sourdough bread, and explore little shops and enjoy the view of the Bay from the hillsides.

And who better to share it with than my loved ones?

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Friday Adventure in SF


Simon in the Sunset at Coit Tower
Simon in the Sunset at Coit Tower
I promised you a few SF photos, and I could probably bore you to tears with tons of them. We spent Friday morning hanging around and enjoying the city, with the plan to meet up at 1 o’clock at the hotel to go off on our good ‘n’ dangerous adventure (good ‘n’ dangerous is a famous phrase in our family — it goes back to the days of yore when my mom found a note in my brother’s jeans as she was doing laundry that was discussing some covert good ‘n’ dangerous plan that he and a friend had cooked up. Needless to say, said good ‘n’ dangerous adventure did not go down). Eric had rented us a 12-passenger van so we could all ride together; when Matthew saw Simon, he ran up to him and said, “Dad got us a BUS!” Matthew has such a way with words!   Eric was quickly dubbed The Van Master. 

Only Simon and I knew of The Good ‘n’ Dangerous Plan, other than Amy & Eric, obviously. We drove a good ways to Union City, and pulled into a parking lot. Stunned silence filled the bus/van as we all stared up at  That’s right — we were going indoor skydiving! Mom and Dad decided not to participate, but the rest of us (even 4-year-old Luke!) suited up into our outfits. It was definitely one of the coolest things that I have ever done. I am SO glad that they found it for us to do! 

The Flying Crew
The Flying Crew

You definitely feel like your face is going to peel off; the wind is pretty extreme. And it’s basically like that scene in the original Charlie & The Chocolate Factory movie where they’re in the bubble room and they have to burp to get down or else they’ll get sucked into the fan. That was always my favorite scene in that movie. 

Flying Rachel
Flying Rachel w/ instructor


Flying Eric
Flying Eric, aka The Van Master

It was seriously so much fun. I don’t know that I would ever jump out of a plane, but I would definitely do this again. It was just enough thrill! Afterwards, we loaded back up into the van/bus and the Van Master drove us through In-N-Out for milkshakes. Since we had our own transportation, we decided to make our way back into town via Coit Tower. The sun was just setting, and it was unbelievably beautiful. We enjoyed the view from the top via the rickety elevator. 

Dinner was had at Buca di Beppo after a long foray through traffic. We totally stuffed ourselves full of pasta and garlic and cheese. Simon and I decided to walk back to the hotel in lieu of the bus/van and it was a good thing, too, considering how much we had eaten. Blechh. Such a bad feeling, overeating. 


Flying Matthew

Flying Matthew

Flying Simon

Very Serious Flying Simon


Rachel & Simon

Rachel & Simon at Coit Tower

Coit Tower at Sunset

Coit Tower at Sunset

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