I keep hearing about people moving out to San Francisco from New York for a breath of fresh air and a Cali perspective. So, on my quick visit out there, I had high expectations. I love living in New York, but I’m not immune to its downfalls. Being that it’s summer, the smelliness of the city is starting to set in as the temperatures soar. And, don’t get me started on the subway in summer time–whoever invents a portable shower you can use after your subway journey in July will be a millionaire. But, then again, there’s nothing like a rooftop bar on a Friday afternoon in NYC. Anyway, I figured San Francisco would have to offer a lot to compete.
Luckily, I was pleasantly surprised to find, that it really does. I only had the pleasure of visiting San Francisco for the day, so I know there’s plenty more to explore there (on my future trips of course!) but what I saw really impressed me. It even got me thinking about joining the trend of moving out West….but just for a moment.
On this particular trip, my sister and I traveled to California for a long weekend to see a bit of San Francisco and then to head out to Napa (more on that later). We rented our car at the airport and headed into town on a foggy Saturday. Side note: apparently everyday is somewhat or significantly foggy in San Francisco.
Since we only had the day, we drove directly to Alamo Square, the most picturesque neighborhood in San Francisco. Think: bay windows on colorful town houses and super hilly streets. We parked (another side note: there are laws around turning your tires when you park on the streets, and don’t forget the parking break!), and head to the park to see the Painted Ladies – homes made famous in the opening credits of Full House (90’s show about the Olsen Twins as babies).
We wandered the streets a bit and found another cute park that led to a great look out point over San Francisco. It was super windy, so I only got this delightful and very flattering photo:
After we’d had enough of being blown around, we headed to meet a lovely college friend of mine for lunch at DuBoce Park Cafe (if you haven’t started to notice the trend yet, there are a lot of parks in San Francisco). I highly recommend this laid back, indoor/outdoor lunch spot if you find yourself in the area.
As it grew later in the day, we began to feel a pull to head North to our next destination of Napa. So, we spent some time driving (mostly because it was terrifying to go up and down the hills—see below) and then headed towards the bridge (yep that bridge).
If you’re headed to Napa or San Fransisco in general, you must take the route that takes you over the Golden Gate Bridge. It is so so beautiful and worth the toll (ahem $26 charged later to your credit card when you think you’ve gotten through for free… womp womp). Stop at the Golden Gate Park (yes another park) before you head out for amazing photo ops as well.
Once we’d crossed the bridge, the first thing I noticed is that the temperature goes up like 20 degrees almost immediately. San Fransisco is like this little pocket of chilly, windy, foggy weather, but just over the bridge, it was summer again!
Next, to the left, as you cross the bridge, you’ll see some roads cut into the side of some beautiful hills. We decided to try and figure out what this area was before we entered wine country.
What we found was the most magical, fragrant (yes, I do mean fragrant, in the good way) place I’ve ever found unintentionally in my life. It’s called the Marin Headlands. It’s made up of trails and roads cut into the side of grassy hills overlooking San Fransisco on one side and the ocean on the other. Also, the entire place smells like herbs which grow wild everywhere you look–sort of how I imagine heaven is. As a “New Yorker,” any time I smell something like that in nature, I have to appreciate it for the next time I inadvertently get a whiff of subway….smells….
Despite only being in San Fransisco for a few hours, I get it. I get why it’s such a popular place to move to despite the wind and the fog (hey, I’m in love with London so a little fog never put me off). I’ll be dreaming of the Marin Headlands for a long time to come….