Tuesday, November 12, 2013

San Francisco travel tips

Marin Headlands... all those car ads in magazines? Where the new vehicle is on the edge of an abyss, with the Golden Gate Bridge and the city in the background? That's the Headlands. Very easy to get to, very hard to forget. Drive across the Golden Gate Bridge, make the second right onto Alexander Avenue... if you go right, you're headed for Sausalito, so go left and up the hill. The road winds through the hills... for the first mile, every couple hundred feet is an oh-my-god view of the bridge, the bay and the city. Keep going until you get to...

Rodeo Beach, where the waves smash against the cliffs and the surfers rule. If you go on a rainy day, you'll have the place to yourself. If it's nice, take a hike or rent a bike and ride the trails. Incredible beauty, 10 minutes from a couple million people.

Bonita Point Lighthouse, Headlands... bear left instead of right once you're up in the hills.. the road leads you to the light, and past all these former artillery batteries...

Mama's Restaurant, North Beach... Mama's has the best omelets and French toast anywhere, and when you're done, check out...

Saints Peter and Paul Church on Washington Square next to Mama's is where Joe DiMaggio married Marilyn Monroe.

You can walk off the giant meal at Mama's by going to Telegraph Hill.

End up at Coit Tower for more heart-stopping views.

Now go to City Lights Bookstore... also in North Beach...you might see some Beat Poets.

Angel Island... it's that big, green, uninhabited knob in the middle of the Bay. Take the ferry from...

Fisherman's Wharf. Purchase a loaf of sourdough at an Italian bakery and maybe some Anchor Steam beer. Eat. Drink. Walkabout.

Listen to the channel markers clang and the foghorn clear its throat every few minutes.

Angel Island is the Ellis Island of the West, where they processed Asians hoping to start a new life inn America. Great city views, peaceful walks.

Gather some eucalyptus pods. Scratch and sniff.

Haight Ashbury... gentrified long ago. The Victorians once occupied by Jefferson Airplane, the Dead etc. now run $2 million or more... but the hippie vibe still exists, and you may run into shops there still sell honest-to-god records.

Sausalito... Take your wallet.

Go to Wine country... if you must. A little crowded. Take Route 1 up the coast instead, to...

Stinson Beach and...

Bodega Bay, where Alfred Hitchcock filmed The Birds.

If you have more than a day, go south to the Monterey Peninsula.

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