Take a ride from Santa Cruz north on Hwy 1 north to San Francisco. Pull over and take as many photo's as you can. It's all breathtaking, and every turn has different visuals.. Fog, Pine trees, golden hills, dark oak trees, dark blue sky's, yellow green pastures in Salinas Valley.
The neighborhoods of San Francisco, make you feel like you're in a small little town in a very large metropolis. The city embraces you. The people are friendly, caring, won't let you get on the wrong bus. The weather is perfect for a long sleeve cotton t shirt, most of the day. At night, a good windbreaker is all you need. Carry your camera everywhere you go. Check out the neighborhoods. The public library has all kinds of little explorations for free in all the different neighborhoods. I did the walking tour of the Castro. there was a historic mansion tour in Pacifica, walking tours of Upper Haight and Lower Haight.
Fondest memory: Walking along the streets at night, and feeling absolutely safe. Sitting at a bus stop, talking to all the different people waiting for the bus. Meeting people on the buses that were willing to walk you in the direction of where you are going. And most of all... there's a Trader Joe's conveniently located in town for all of your needs! God bless you Trader Joe's!!
We spent and additional 3 days at Pismo Beach in Central CA. While there we toured local
wineries (this was an outing during our family reunion). Even if you don't like wine, you can still appreciate the beauty of the well manicured winery (just ask Kelly...not a wine fan). As mentioned, we also drove HWY 1, beautiful. Please note that mapquest said 1 1/2 hours, but the drive was 3 hours (due to the 2 lane narrow winding roads). We opted to take the 101 on the way back to San Fran.
If you are renting a car or have someone driving you sight seeing around San Francisco, I highly recommend you take the 49 Mile Scenic Drive. It will make navigating thru the difficult San Franciscan traffic easier and will take you to all the key spots throughout the city.
You can tell if you are on the 49 mile scenic drive by keeping a watchful eye for the blue/white/red sign such as this one located in North Beach.
Tip: If you can, considering taking this drive on Sunday mornings when the traffic is at a minimum. Avoid Saturday afternoons, night time, and weekdays (especially Fridays) after 3pm.
Weekdays from 10am-2pm are also ok. If you have a map of San Francisco, they usually have the 49 mile scenic drive.
Fondest memory: Here is the map on line:
49 Mile Scenic Drive Map
One of the most exciting and best spots in San Francisco is to visit its downtown area. The city is full of travelers and very crouded. You deffinately feel the atmosphere being fresh and friendly.
Fondest memory: When walking in San Francisco the best part is to have the most comfortable shoes. Do not make a mistake by wearing high heels and feeling uncomfortable. San Francisco is a smaller version of New York and it has an old city feeling.
Favorite thing: If you happen to have an extra day in San Francisco (and if the sun is shining)... Drive south on Rt 1 for about an hour. The road winds along the coastline and the views are fantastic. You can even stop and take a cheesey picture like I did. Hopefully the wind won't blow up your shirt and make you look like the stay-puff marshmallow man....
Favorite thing: Some very pretty areas but if your not into tasting wine or DUI then I'd skip Napa and surrounding areas as a day trip. Instead go up the coast toMuir Woods and beyond. The coastal highway has beautifull sites. Large parts of it can not be seen by the driver. No gaurd rails, rockslides and only 3 feet curbing before you do a "Thelma & Louise" Forget swimming in that water.it's to cold without a wet suit.
What a place. What trees. Entry fee was only three dollars. You could spend the whole day here. Short and long trails. One even goes to Stinson Beach 4 1/2 miles away one way.
Fondest memory: The quit in Muir woods while walking on the trails. Even with lots of tourist it's quite once you get further into the woulds. The trees are so very big, little sunlight hits the forest floor and sounds are muffled..
Favorite thing: As you trun off Interstate 280 towrds Half Moon Bay you cross the San Andreas Lakes. These lie in the valley of the San Andreas fault which because of the fault is very straight. They have now been enlarged by a dam and supply water for San Francisco. The water actually originates in the Hetch Hetchy reservoir in Yosemite and is transported via tunnels and channels to here.
Next day of the trip we ventured to Napa Valley, to one of the wineries called Sattui. Purely because of their chicken salad, I had heard great things. It truly is a delicious salad, really clean tasting.
Sattui has picnic benches in their grounds, and after purchasing the chicken salad, bread, cheese, which can be sampled in their large shop, it is time to eat these delicious goods outside in the glorious sunshine.
And if you are lucky the Napa Valley Wine Train passes slowly by.
Afterwards we drove to Calistoga past the CIA building.
That's the Culinary Institute of America to you and me.
Although we didn't get the explore Calistoga as it was getting late, so we headed back to SF.
While Napa, being further inland, was warm. I always found SF to be rather chilly especially in July, when I expected it to be hot. The hottest day was the day I left. Typical!!!
Take the ferry from the Ferry Terminal to Sausalito during sunset. Bring a jacket. It is incredible to be standing on the ferry and sailing by the Golden Gate Bridge while the sun is setting.
Fondest memory: The city is alive! There is always something going on.
Take the ferry to Sausalito for lunch or dinner. It is a cheaper ride than the tourboats that leave from Pier 39, you aren't surrounded by all of the tourists, and the views of and from the bay (including Alcatraz) are outstanding. Once in Sausalito, there are some nice places to eat, drink, and shop. If you are lucky, you can watch the fog roll in over the Marin Headlands and the Golden Gate Bridge on the ride back-truly a unique sight.
Fondest memory: Watching the sunset behind the Golden Gate Bridge from the top of Telegraph Hill (Coit Tower).
Favorite thing: Frisco is amazing cos is very close to natural spots, like Redwoods, Sequoyas, Yosemite, Lake Tahoe and many other... if you like outdoor sports, is a good HQ
Fondest memory: It is the best way to get to know the city, just drive around and follow these signs. You will see all the best things of the city.