jet settersPosted: July 12, 2011
Yesterday, after more than 12 hours traveling via plane, train and automobile, we arrived in Austin, joints sore from long walks, hair windblown from the coastal breeze and thoughts of San Francisco still bouncing about our cerebral cortex
The trip was short, less than 100 hours, but in the name of a one-year wedding anniversary, we crammed as much sight seeing, street walking, photo taking and wine drinking in as possible. Observe, below, our 4-day itinerary.
Thursday: We arrived at the Hotel Mayflower (a delightfully charming, nearly 100-year-old hotel in Nob Hill complete with manually operated doors) around 2:30 (yes, just in time for our dentist appointment) and immediately set out about town. I’ve always believed that the best way to get your bearings about a new place is to explore, get lost, and explore some more. So we set afoot through San Fran’s most notable neighborhoods: Chinatown, North Beach, Fisherman’s Wharf, Union Square, Downtown and Market Street. The trek was long, but indeed the best way to get our wits about the city.
Friday: After a restful sleep we awoke at the crack of early to get to Muir Woods National Monument just as the park was opening. For nearly 2 hours we had the park and its thousand-year-old trees to ourselves. The serenity of the forest combined with the gargantuan trees and perception that you were walking through a piece of American history provided Heath with what he dubbed a “top 10 life moment.” From there we put the pedal to the metal and headed north to Sonoma to add some wine to our woods. A luxurious lunch at a curbside cafe, wine aplenty and hills upon rolling hills of vineyards made the trip to the home of California’s bear flag truly memorable. The day ended with a tour of UC Berkeley where we walked the campus and envisioned scenarios where treks to class required a light jacket rather than a light layer of salty sweat as is customary with campus romps at UT. Oh to live in a place where the average annual temperature is 60 degrees…
From there we headed to what would be our home for the next three nights, a delightful bed and breakfast we discovered through airbnb (an awesome service that hooks travelers up with rooms in the homes of locals at a fraction of the cost of hotels) located in the mission neighborhood. The space was great and proved to be a much-needed getaway at the end of our fun-filled but exhausting days in San Fran.
Saturday: We began the official celebration of our anniversary with a walk to Golden Gate park which afforded us terrific views of some of San Francisco’s best residences, gardens, parks and neighborhoods. Once in the main park we toured the botanical gardens, the DeYoung museum, and the California Academy of Sciences which boasts a living rain forest, planetarium and aquarium. Heath’s science-oriented brain had a literal field day. Once his inner lusts were satisfied, we walked down Haight Street to Ashbury to indulge my cravings for an experience that’s equal parts funky and shop girl. The vintage record stores, locally owned boutiques and funky clientele reminded me of Austin’s South Congress Avenue. (At one point during our tenure down Haight, a local hooked his iPod up to speakers on a rooftop and performed a little jig to 2Pac’s “California Love.”) Exhausted after hours of walking, we celebrated the evening with wine we purchased from the previous day’s vineyard and takeout from a Chinatown eatery.
Sunday: El fin, if you will. With one day left to go, we went to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art to take in works by Picasso and Matisse as well as other quirky pieces of modern art and photography. From there we traveled to the beach for the obligatory and romantic barefoot walk in the sand along the sea shore, then to the Golden Gate Bridge to finish the trip off right.
Fare thee well, San Fran. We shall return.