Sometimes you spend weeks plotting and planning the perfect vacation destination, or you have an event to attend and you make a trip out of it, or there’s somewhere you’ve been dying to go and your plans are finally working out. Other times you have airline miles that are about to expire due to a severe lack of travel and of course you want to make the most of them so you go about as far as you can go with what you’ve got – which is how we ended up in San Francisco.
Week-long, plane-travel type of vacations only happen so often these days, due to work schedules and budgets. Actually, this was the first time Dan and I flew anywhere together. Because of a lack of posting on my part, this is actually a trip we took in the fall of 2014, but a road trip I’d go on again in a heartbeat.
It began as a way to use up some expiring airline miles, and make the most of the trip while we were at it. The plan evolved into a road trip from San Francisco to Portland, Oregon, winding our way up the coast. The first few days in San Francisco set the par for the trip as we packed as much as we could into what little time we had.
We arrived close to midnight and settled into a room in the Haight Ashbury District we’d found on Airbnb (you can book it here). The place couldn’t have been more perfect. As one of the more affordable options we’d seen in the city, it was a beautiful old Victorian home, divided into private rooms for individual guests.
We had very little to go on when planning for San Francisco – and it’s a big enough city that where you stay can make a huge difference – but I loved our location. It was hip, historic, with a bustling night life and close to the bus line. Walkable enough that we could explore some of the more popular areas by foot, which is how we spent much of our time there.
We wandered. Through Golden Gate Park and up to Presidio. To the Palace of Fine Arts and down to the water for a view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Over to Fisherman’s Wharf and up Lombard Street. We climbed Bernal Heights and took pictures of the Painted Ladies from Alamo Square. We packed as much sightseeing as we could into just two days.
I of course was drawn in by the plants. Vibrant colors at the end of October, and enormous versions of what we consider annuals on the East Coast lining the sidewalks. The sheer amount of greenery was a refreshing surprise, even coming off of summer in Maine.
Over the summer we had seen Delta Spirit at a small music festival in PA, and were lucky enough to catch them on our first night in San Francisco, on their home turf, and at The Fillmore no less. We spent the time before the show at the legendary Smugglers’ Cove. There was, of course, much more eating and drinking during our stay, but a year and half later not worth noting much more than some memorable stops: Magnolia Pub & Brewery, Pinkie’s Bakery, Sightglass Coffee, Sparrow Bar & Kitchen, Papalote Mexican Grill, Swensen’s Ice Cream, Flywheel Coffee Roasters, 1428 HAIGHT.
Up next: our journey up the coast!