We took our second trip to San Francisco in June 2013. We really enjoyed our last trip in March 2011 and were thrilled to see the area in the summer. This time, we brought my mom, dad and brother. Next time, we'll bring Riva. I can't wait to explore the California coast while staying in our cozy Airstream!
We arrived in San Francisco and did a tour of the city to include Coit Tower, Lombard Street, then dinner and shopping in Chinatown. The next day, we got up early to drive to Yosemite National Park.
We arrived at the park early enough to enjoy breakfast at the Awahnee Hotel in Yosemite Valley. Then we took a tour of the valley, and drove up to Tuolumne Meadow. We went for a hike in the meadow to Soda Springs where the water truly is carbonated (we tried it - very minerally in taste but bubbly!), then Justin and John took a dip in the Tuolumne River. Later, I jumped into the icy water of Tenaya Lake. It was breathtakingly cold!
We headed to the River Rock Inn, located in the quaint town of Mariposa, just outside the park. It was such a cute place with wonderful food. We woke bright an early the next morning to have coffee with the ranger at the Wawona Campground in Yosemite. Then we explored the redwoods of Mariposa Grove. Our next destination was the base of El Capitan. My dad wanted to say he had climbed the giant granite slab, so we hiked through the woods and up boulders to reach it. Later that day, we drove up to Glacier Point to view Half Dome. We even saw a coyote on the way. That evening, we went to the Yosemite Theater to see Lee Stetson bring John Muir's stories to life. It was fascinating.
The next day, we drove west to Big Sur, where we enjoyed lunch at Nepenthe, then a hike to McWay Falls at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. Absolutely beautiful! Then we drove the 17-Mile Drive through Pebble Beach and saw the famous Lone Cypress. We checked into our hotel on the beach in Monterey Bay, then went to dinner at the Fish Hopper on Cannery Row. We watched a flotilla of otters frolic in the bay as we ate our delicious meals. The next morning, we awoke to a feeding frenzy of dolphins and birds about 100 yards from our door.
We drove north to Capitola, where the Jay Moriarty Memorial Paddleboard Race was taking place. I got to meet my athlete idol, Candice Appleby, and watch the racers take off into the fog. We ate breakfast by the beach, then drove to Santa Cruz where we explored the boardwalk. Woodies on the Wharf was taking place on the pier - dozens of antique surf mobiles on display. A visit to Santa Cruz would not be complete without a stop at Steamer Lane, an iconic surf spot that we could see from the wharf. Justin drooled for a while as he watched the sets roll in. Our next stop was Half Moon Bay Brewery for some pints and clam chowder. We finally arrived at our apartment in San Francisco, a spacious two bedroom flat in the heart of the city. Justin and I met our dear friends from Los Alamitos, Allyson and Dennis, for sushi in Japantown, then ice cream at Bi-Rite Creamery.
The next day, we visited the Painted Ladies in Alamo Square, then Golden Gate Park. I am still in awe (and my feet are still recovering) of the enormity of that park. There is a science center, museum, botanical garden, conservatory of flowers, Japanese tea garden, equestrian center, soccer field, bison paddock (YES, a paddock with a herd of buffalo-like creatures!), fly casting pools, Stowe Lake where you can rent a row or paddle boat, a Dutch windmill, and so much more. After that, we drove to the foggy Ocean Beach where we could barely see more than 25 yards into the Pacific. After our feet recovered from miles and miles of walking, we met up with Dennis and Allyson for a drive to the famous "Full House" house, then Twin Peaks. The view was unbelievable. We topped it off with a trip to Sift for some cupcakes.
Our last full day in San Francisco was jam packed. We explored the coastal redwoods of Muir Woods in the morning, then dropped my family off at the pier so they could take a cruise to Alcatraz. Justin and I had already been, so we went to the Ferry Building for some lunch, then rented bikes at Sports Basement at Crissy Field and rode over the Golden Gate Bridge. We biked around the Presidio and passed by the Palace of Fine Arts before returning to the pier to pick up the jailbirds.
On our final day in California, we dropped my family off at the airport. We had some time to kill, so we drove to Half Moon Bay for breakfast. On our way back, we stopped at Montara State Beach to dip our toes in the Pacific one last time and look for sea glass. Then we took our sandy feet to the airport and hopped on a plane back to reality.
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