San Francisco, part I

If I can remember it all, here is a recap of my 10 day trip to SF at the end of May.  I was traveling with my friend Beth who also has family in the area and has visited before.  The trip was a nice mix of part-time tourist and part-time ex-resident.  I got to visit a bunch of friends and family and take in so many of the Bay Area’s unique treats.  We crammed a lot into our trip.

We arrived on Saturday afternoon and checked into our hotel room at the Chancellor HotelSF Pillow MenuWe got a room with a street-view right on Powell street  adjacent to Union Square.  The location was ideal.  It was close to everything and so easy to get to Bart and the main Muni lines.  The main cable car line runs down Powell Street, so we listened to the sounds of the underground cables clanging and the bells dinging morning and night. The hotel was nice and clean and had some sweet amenities.  One favorite was the “pillow menu”.  SF DuckThough we had grand ideas of trying a different pillow each night, we usually were too tired to call down and order one.  We settled on the magnetic pillow for me and the buckwheat pillow for Beth.

Probably the best treat we found at the hotel was the rubber duck.  We decided that we would use “Ducky” as our travel gnome, documenting our journeys by photographing him.  This became especially nice when a second duck appeared and we could each take a duck on our separate daily jaunts.  Then at night we’d share our adventures.

After checking in on Saturday and freshening up, Jen picked us up to whisk us down to Redwood City to Milagros for dinner with the old MPAC gang.  Milagros - 6We had a lot of fun catching up.  This is one talented bunch!  Jen was in town from Southern Ca. where she works on creating the bonus materials we all enjoy on our DVDs!  She was visiting family and taking advantage of the long weekend (and getting in a dentist visit).    Dave and Karen are still at the Media Center (formerly MPAC) and filled us in on all the people we used to work with.  Doug and Wendy are busy with their jobs at Apple, their company Digital Turbulence, and getting ready for their first baby, which Erica has already named Penelope Rose.  Erica is recently married and working at Stanford and keeping us amused on Facebook with tales of her CalTrain commute.  Sharon is acting and appearing regularly in the comedic improv show, Point Break Live (which, sadly, we missed).  We called a few folks while we were together and left a bunch of “Happy Birthday” messages.  They sure make me miss living and working on the Peninsula.

Milagros - 8

On Sunday Karen and I celebrated Betsy’s birthday with a trip to Point Reyes for Open Studios.  I don’t remember when we started doing our little birthday outings, which usually included Jen and Erica too, but they are some of my most memorable times living in California.  Karen has a penchant for finding the best of the best.  The best events.  The best restaurants.  The best getaways.  We always had planned a sweet afternoon of museums or flower gardens or house tours that began or ended with wonderful food in the cutest of restaurants and cafes.  It was always great to be in the company of this group of gals.  These ladies taught me the true meaning of sisterhood and will always have a special place in my heart.

Sadly, I have no pictures of my Sunday visit with Karen and Betsy.  We hit our first artist in Olema, painter Jan Davidson.  I was instantly in love with her work.  My favorites were her little city scapes and wax pieces.   An added bonus to open studios is seeing the amazing studios the artists create in.  Jan Davidson’s studio was open and bright with many windows and surrounded by beautiful greenery.  Artists always have the best homes!  We took in a couple little shops and the Beulah Gallery and then went for a bite to eat at the Station House Cafe in Point Reyes.  Hours later we emerged with no time left for the rest of the open studios. (No one seemed to mind).  We walked around a bit more then Karen took us for a drive near the coast and into the hidden town of Bolinas and then to the Pelican Inn for a drink and a snack.  The Pelican Inn is located near Muir Woods and is modeled after an old, 16th century English country inn.  We weren’t able to see the rooms, but Karen talked them up quite a bit.  Based on the bar and restaurant, the rooms have to be one spectacular experience!  We left eachother with plans to meet up once again during my visit.

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