San Francisco

Looking back at our trip to California it was all kind of a whirlwind, in one suitcase I had business casual clothes and active wear for outdoor activities as well as a full-length formal dress and hiking shoes. In the span of ten days, we did pretty much everything from exploring San Francisco and attending a work event to a family friend’s wedding and Death Valley. Plus, all of this was going on at a time when COVID-19 was beginning to make daily international headlines but hadn’t started to influence daily life in the United States yet.

Pier 39 Sea Lions
Pier 39 Sea Lions

I was headed to California with my mom (who happens to be my go to travel buddy) so I decided to fly from Florida to New Hampshire a mere 10 hours after landing from my weekend in New Orleans (see my last post for more on that trip) before then flying with her from Boston to San Francisco less than two days later. We landed in San Francisco around noon on Wednesday, picked up the rental car (which we would need for the second half of our trip) and drove into the city. We dropped off our luggage at the hotel before heading out to explore the area. We ended up walking down to the water to the Ferry Terminal and Pier 7 and then decided to walk down to Fisherman’s Wharf to check it out. By the time we made it to Fisherman’s Wharf we were getting hungry but knew we didn’t really want to eat at a chain restaurant, so we decided to keep walking and eventually make it to Scoma’s Restaurant for dinner. My mom used to eat at Scoma’s whenever she was in San Francisco for work, so she was excited to show me somewhere she used to go regularly. After a delicious meal at Scoma’s and still being on east coast time we decided to head back to the hotel for the night.

Powell-Hyde Streetcar Line
Powell-Hyde Streetcar Line

The next morning my mom had to work so I woke up when she left, worked out, ran across the street to Starbucks for breakfast, got some schoolwork I needed to finish done and then got ready for the day. I had been left with a list of errands, so I spent the majority of my afternoon adventuring around San Francisco’s financial district getting everything done on the list. Then around 5 p.m. I headed back to the Ferry Terminal to The Slanted Door to meet my mom and people from her work for a happy hour/dinner. The next morning was our day to explore San Francisco so we woke up early, got ready and headed from our hotel through Chinatown to Mama’s on Washington Square for breakfast. We couldn’t have gotten to Mama’s more than 20 minutes after they opened, but there was already a line out the door. Even though the line was out the door we didn’t have to wait too long and the food was worth it, I mean nearly two months later I’m still mad at myself for trying to be healthy and not getting the French toast even though it looked delicious. After breakfast at Mama’s we walked to the cable car museum, which I highly recommend. I found it fascinating that the cable cars today are still running the same way that they have run since they began. After the cable car museum, we felt as though it was only fitting to then ride a cable car and ended up riding the Powell-Hyde line all the way down to Ghirardelli Square. The one thing to note about the cable cars is that they are exact cash only for buying tickets but there is an app you can use if you don’t have cash and want to pay with a credit card. Instead of actually adventuring around Ghirardelli Square we instead walked along the water, around the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park and then checked out the Maritime Museum. There isn’t a ton to see at the Maritime Museum but it’s free so it’s worth checking out if you have the time. Plus, if you’re into architecture the design of the building itself is pretty cool. After the Maritime Museum it was time to head back to the hotel and pack up the rental car before driving across the Golden Gate Bridge to Cavallo Point Lodge in Sausalito where we were spending the next two nights of our trip and where the wedding was going to be. We ended up spending Friday afternoon just relaxing and hanging around Cavallo Point before having dinner at the restaurant on site with some friends.

Golden Gate Bridge view from Vista Point
Golden Gate Bridge View Vista Point
Muir Woods, coastal redwoods surrounding path
Wandering Through Muir Woods

I had looked at what there was to do around San Francisco before the trip and knew that at some point I wanted to check out Muir Woods. So, Saturday morning we woke up early and reserved a spot on a shuttle to Muir Woods, since all the on-site parking had already been reserved. Which if you are planning on visiting Muir Woods make sure you are aware that on-site parking is limited and has to be reserved ahead of time. We decided to get breakfast on the way and ended up stopping at the Sausalito Bakery and Café, which was easy because it was before 9 a.m. on a Saturday morning so there were a ton of available parking spots right outside. We happened to get to the parking lot where the shuttle picked up right as one was getting ready to leave so the timing could not have been better and the entire shuttle situation couldn’t have been easier. Once we got to Muir Woods there were a lot of people around, most of which who were using the area as their local park for a Saturday morning family walk. Due to the amount of people around it was nearly impossible to escape the noise of people talking which was a bit disappointing given the environment we were in. After spending about two hours exploring Muir Woods it was time to catch the shuttle back to Sausalito. On the way back to the hotel we ate lunch at the Barrel House Tavern out on the patio overlooking the ocean which in the beginning of February was a bit chilly but still beautiful. After lunch we headed back to the hotel to get ready for the wedding which ended up being incredibly beautiful, moving and so much fun.

Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park
Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park

The morning after the wedding we woke up, slowly got ourselves ready, packed up our stuff, got it all into the car and headed out of the Bay Area towards Bakersfield on our way to Death Valley. We had the entire day to drive to Bakersfield, so we decided to take the long way along Route 1/Pacific Coast Highway. We ended up having breakfast in Pacifica at the High Tide Cafe and got a coffee next door at Soul Grind Coffee Roasters before hitting the road again. On our trip south we didn’t really have any thing planned so we just stopped whenever we saw something interesting so along the way we stopped at the Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park in Pescadero and drove through downtown Santa Cruz. For our dinner on the road we ended up stopping at some random In n Out because I need to have it at least once whenever I am on the west coast and that was going to be my only opportunity to do so. Eventually we made it to Bakersfield and ended up crashing for the night. The next morning, we walked to the 24th Street Café for a quick breakfast before getting back in the car and heading towards Death Valley.

Fish Rocks in Salt Wells Canyon, California
Fish Rocks | Salt Wells Canyon, CA

Stay tuned for my next blog post all about our time in Death Valley, in the meantime check out my Instagram @YourBackyardTourist for more photos from my travels.

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