Kelly the Culinarian: San Francisco: Where We Stayed and What We Saw

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

San Francisco: Where We Stayed and What We Saw

Hello readers! Thank you for your patience while I traveled all about during the long weekend. I'm back to blogging and have so much to share!

After we jetted to the West Coast Friday (via Southwest Airs), we took the BART to our hotel in Union Square in downtown San Francisco. We checked into the Hotel Fusion, which was a great place for what it was.  It's a very basic, inexpensive hotel in the heart of downtown that includes WiFi and breakfast. It doesn't have a gym or pool and the rooms are small, but the rooms have fridges, are clean and have plenty of hot water and great water pressure. I go on vacation to see sights, not hotel rooms, so it's a win, in my book.

Friday night, we walked all over the city and saw lots of touristy highlights, which I don't have pictures for because my camera died. We did visit Fisherman's Wharf to say "What's up?" to the sea lions, as well as checked out a great little restaurant in Chinatown. We saw Lombard Street and trekked up some massive hills in the name of seeing it all. Also, there's a super cool flagship Walgreens around the corner from our hotel that's even nicer than the Chicago flagship. There's a full liquor section, sushi, frozen yogurt and a beauty bar.

Saturday morning, we were up bright and early to take our Extranomial Tours trip to wine country. But first, we stopped at Muir Woods to see the giant coastal redwoods. This place is so gorgeous and peaceful, featuring trees as old as 3,500 years old and nearly 400 feet tall. It's amazing to see some of these trees, which are like looking at a wall of tree. I hear there are redwood trees that are up to 30-feet wide.

Next up, we stopped at Mayo Family Winery for a tasting. We tried sparkling, chardonnay, pinot noir and many others. Nothing there really struck our fancy, so we soldiered on.

Next, we had a tasting at Madonna Estates, which was awesome. The employee was very knowledgeable and the vines grew up right to the back door, so we got to know more about the production and the products. We bought two bottles here and look forward to enjoying them soon.

The final vineyard on the trip was Cline Cellars, which was a much larger, more corporate experience. There was a wedding going on and lots of hustle and bustle here. There actually wasn't any type of tour, just a straight up tasting. I loved their red dessert wine, but I couldn't justify the $48 price, so we bought two equally lovely, cheaper bottles instead.

At the end of the day, the tour guide showed us a bit of Sausalito and let us stop and take pictures of the bridge. The tour was excellent and well worth the money.

On Sunday, we walked the entire city. That's only a slight hyperbole. Tim calculated that we walked at least 12 miles. We started with AT&T Park, then headed to Mission Bay, swung through Carnivale in the Mission District, walked up Castro Street, checked out the Presidio, strolled through Golden Gate Park and then took the bus back to Fisherman's Wharf to pick up more chocolate, sourdough bread and seafood.

We also decided to take the Alcatraz at Night Tour. It was a really cool experience. You're ferried out to the island, then go on an audio tour of the prison before taking optional tours or your own wanderings. Ironically, the best views of San Francisco are from a place that used to house condemned men. No women were ever incarcerated there, and no executions ever took place.
Monday, we had a bit of time before catching our plane, so we took the BART to Berkeley to check out the campus. The university is beautiful, but we thought the town would be fancier since everything is so damn expensive here.

We ate A LOT this weekend, so check back tomorrow for full details on what made me fat this weekend :)


Rachel said...

Wow! It looks like a great vacation. I've never been to San Fran, but my MIL was born there and always wanted to take us. Maybe one day!

The Alcatraz tour sounds really interesting. Was it scary because it was at night?

KellytheCulinarian said...

It was really cool! It's an eerie place these days and I thought the night tour was quite impactful because you experienced what the prisoners had to deal with when the lights went out.

Xaarlin said...

Looks like you hit all the good spots :) I miss San Francisco... Thanks for reminding me how awesome the city is.. Can't wait to return in a few months :)

Erin said...

Dang! You really did walk the whole city! That's impressive. And it turns out you got to see Sausalito after all :-)

Kim said...

I will have to bookmark this for when we finally get to see SF (and hopefully, more of CA!). :)

I hope you are joking about the making you fat. You can indulge on vacay! ;) :P

KellytheCulinarian said...

Oh, I'm totally kidding. I ate all the foods and not a single shame was had.

Kim said...

LOL! Good! :)

Losing Lindy said...

I was there for 3 weeks once for work, I got one day off and I did the Ferris Bueller way and saw everything to possibly see in that one day. My cousin recently moved to the area and my good friend lives out there too. Maybe someday we can take a trip.

Maggie W said...

Sounds like an awesome trip! I got the chance to go there a few years ago for a work-related conference. I'd love to go back someday and take more time to see the sites. We did a little car tour, took a trip to Alcatraz, spent some time at Pier 49 (49?) and went to the cable car museum. Although my hotel was up a hill from where the conference was, so I also had many opportunities to walk San Francisco hills. Although on the last night we paid $5 to ride a cable car for less than a mile.