Monday, September 17, 2012

San Francisco Vacation: Days 1 & 2

I'm settled back in from vacation, my photos have been Instagrammed to the ends of the earth and I'm finally ready to start sharing the details of my husband & I's recent trip to San Francisco. We flew out of Richmond early Tuesday morning, the 4th of September and returned late on Sunday, September 9th. I'm going to break our trip up into three separate posts. It'll go a little something like this:

Days 1 & 2: City sights and shopping
Days 3 & 4: Muir Woods, Sausalito, Sonoma Valley, more city sights and a Giants-vs-Dodgers baseball game at AT&T Park
Days 5 & 6: Monterey Bay, Pebble Beach (17 Mile Drive), Carmel and a few last city sights

So, if you guys are up for it, I'm gonna go ahead and get started...

We stayed at the historic Mark Hopkins Intercontinental, located at the crest of the famed Nob Hill area, which is just a few short blocks from Chinatown and Union Square. The hotel itself was gorgeous and the service was impeccable.


We enjoyed the location because it was a crossroads for three of the four cable car lines that run throughout the city, but when cable cars were unavailable, the task of walking back up to our hotel after being out all day was quite the workout (and I do mean nearly straight up...think a 45 degree angle). We cabbed it back to our hotel most nights after dinner, but trust us, we'd already done our fair share of climbing SF city streets by lunchtime most days! 

As soon as we dropped off our bags, we headed out for Fisherman's Wharf for some lunch. We had our first cable car experience and we couldn't wipe the goofy grins off our face...we felt like we were in a Rice-a-Roni commercial! Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39 offer tons of restaurant options, but we opted for something super casual, so we ended up at a little place called Chowders, where I had clam chowder in a sourdough bowl. We got our first good view of The Rock, where we stood for awhile and wondered what it would have been like to be an inmate there and to be so close, yet so far away from the bustling city (is that creepy?!? probably). The lazy, sunbathing sea lions were enjoying their afternoon nap...most of them were anyway...some of those fat little fellas were Grouchy McGroucherson, barking at any other sea lion that dared to interrupt their slumber. They provided more than a few good laughs!


From Fisherman's Wharf we walked up to Ghirardelli Square and took some long whiffs of all of the chocolatey goodness. Unfortunately we were still too full from lunch to get one of their world famous hot fudge sundaes. (Looking back we should've just done it regardless of how stuffed we were, because we didn't end up ever getting back to the Ghirardelli Square Caffe.) Then we walked our first SF hill and it was a doozy!! Four blocks felt like ten, but at the top we were rewarded with amazing city views and the ever popular Lombard Street, the crookedest street in the world. (I'll go ahead and insert here that I ended up getting to drive down Lombard Street a couple of days later when we rented a car...it was awesome!)


We ended our first day with some shopping in Union Square and an impromptu concert by a Swedish DJ named AviCii. We grabbed a bite to eat at a sports pub named Lefty O'Douls's and then called it a night. We'd been up since 3am, had flown clear across the country, jammed in as much as we could in our first day and we were exhausted. Climbing into our cozy down bed at the Mark Hopkins that first night felt like a little slice of Heaven. Our trip was off to an amazing start!

We woke early on day 2 (still being on east coast time) and were anxious to get some breakfast, so we headed down a couple of blocks to Lori's Diner. Our diets were completely placed on hold while we were enjoying our vacation, so I splurged and had French toast = mmm mmm mmm!! Since it was early and none of the Union Square stores were open yet, we hopped on a bus on Market Street and took it to the Ferry Building. There were a lot of morning ferry commuters coming into the city from the Oakland side of the Bay, so we tried to stay out of the way while we walked through the market and checked out some of the vendors. So early in the morning, the only stalls open were mostly coffee and pastry places. We sat outside for awhile and took in the view of the Oakland Bay Bridge before we traipsed up through the Financial District and made our way back to the shopping around Union Square. It was then that I proceeded to pick out my two "big" purchases while we were away. If you've seen my haul video (if not click here) then you've already seen my new Tory Burch Jaden Tote and Rebecca Minkoff Mini M.A.C. -- the two newest loves of my life!  ;)  We stopped at Westfield Shopping Center for a smoothie at Jamba Juice (our first of three trips to Jamba Juice that week...we were addicted!) and then made our way back to our room to drop off our shopping bags.


The afternoon was filled with exploring the Palace of Fine Arts (one word: STUNNING!!) and taking in the sights of the Golden Gate Bridge from the beach at Crissy Field. It was so windy and chilly right on the Bay that after we walked around the San Francisco Yacht Club and admired all of the boats for awhile, we headed up a few blocks to the shopping districts of Chestnut Street and Cow Hollow to warm up a bit. We were really excited to try out a restaurant called The Tipsy Pig on Chestnut Street for dinner, but we found ourselves starving by 4:30 and that restaurant didn't open for dinner until 5:30. Boo. I remembered a place that I had seen on Google Maps called Nettie's Crab Shack and I knew that it was in the Cow Hollow area, so we ventured out to find it and boy am I glad that we did!! I had the most amazing Oyster Po'Boy and my stomach is growling now just thinking about it. I forgot to snap any pictures of the restaurant itself, but trust me, it was so cute! If you ever visit SF, hunt down this little place tucked away on Union Street...you won't regret it. We sat outside on the patio and enjoyed people watching. They even turned on the outdoor patio heaters so that we were nice and cozy. I wish that we could have gone back there one more time...it was THAT good!


Getting back to our hotel that evening ended up being a bit of a hassle. We could have easily hailed a cab and been there in ten minutes, but we'd bought a MUNI passport (for public transportation) and wanted to get our moneys worth out of it, but there were no buses running on Union Street that night. Go figure. We walked for awhile and eventually found a bus that would take us in the general direction of our hotel. The "scenic" tour that we took home that night, made getting a hot shower and crawling into bed that much sweeter. And we knew that we needed to get a good night's rest, as the next morning our rental car would arrive at 8am for our first excursion outside of the city. The next day would take us to Muir Woods National Monument, the picturesque Bayfront community of Sausalito and to the heart of Sonoma Valley.

Stay tuned for a recap of days 3 and 4 soon! I hope you guys enjoy this. Feel free to drop me a comment if you have any questions! And I'd love to hear from you if you've ever been to SF...or if you're amongst the lucky ones who have called it your home!

Mendi

31 comments:

  1. I grew up in CA and had family in the Bay Area...San Fran is great, very similar to Seattle in many ways, however it's a little more chaotic in SF in regards to traffic and such. Overall, it's a great place to shop, eat and see historical landmarks. Ghirardelli square was my favorite, I love chocolate! :)

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  2. Looks like you had an absolutely amazing time!!

    xx,
    Erin

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  3. Gorgeous photos! Can't wait to see Day 3 :)

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  4. Sounds like a blast! I definitely want to spend more time in SF one of the times I'm back out in California.

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  5. I am so jealous of your vacation! I wish we could have gotten away for a few days, but it just wasn't in the cards this year. Hopefully, we can go somewhere soon!

    http://www.glamkittenslitterbox.com/
    Twitter: @GlamKitten88

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  6. Oh dear.. I've been dreaming of that city ever since The Charmed-series was on. There's just something about that place that I love, beautiful & mysterious in some way - enchanting is the right word. Your photos captured my image completely. * Aww. Too bad plain tickets cost a lot from here, Finland..

    Satu
    Indie by heart

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  7. Sounds like everyone in the blogosphere went to San Fran this weekend, so jealous!

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  8. Wow it sounds like you had a blast - finally catching up on all of the entries and cannot wait to hear more!

    BTW, Avicii is a BIG DEAL in the EDM (Electronic Dance Music) scene. That is totally awesome!

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  9. This sounds like such an amazing trip! The pictures are gorgeous and it sounds like you experienced so much of the city!
    the-creationofbeauty.blogspot.com

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  10. Beautiful pictures and I am so glad to hear you both had such a great time. It seems as though you and I were crossing paths because my Hubby and I arrived to the Monterey Bay area on Sun. Sept. 9th.

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  11. I've wanted to visit San Fran ever since Full House :) Super jealous! Looks like you had a great time, lovely pictures!

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  12. I want to go!!! Haven't been there in a while.

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  13. I lived in the Bay Area and SF is my favorite spot to go shopping!!! You did good! :)

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  14. MENDI. you red haired gorgeous fox. i can't even begin to tell you how happy this post made me. sometimes i like to make things about me and i did that today. i pretended that you were telling ME allllll about how amazing that san francisco place i'm from is. and i can't wait to go back wednesday. i will have a ghiradelli sundae for you. JUST FOR YOU.

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  15. Welcome back Mendi! Great post, I didn't have much of an idea what San Francisco was about, you've really given me a new insight into this amazing city, wow, theres so much to do there! Love the elevated views!

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  16. Great pics, you look gorgeous!! I love SF so, so much! I almost moved there. Prob should have hehe! Looks like you made the most out of your time :)

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  17. I loved reading about the first leg of your trip!
    You guys look amazing and your pictures turned out perfect.
    Cute sea lions, I never realized they were so close.

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  18. Hello again! I nominated you for the versatile blogger award! :)

    http://themusingsofadesignstudent.blogspot.com

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  19. Gorgeous photos - looked like a great time!

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  20. aaah totally amazing way to start off your trip!! Love all of your photos...it's everything that SF and that whole nor cal area is all about!!

    <3Amanda
    FFF @New York Fashion Week

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  21. You packed so much into your trip! Good work! Great food choices and purchases!!! I'm going to SF in a few months.. I can barely wait!


    xx

    Holly Foxen Wells

    GlamourMash

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  22. this is such a fun post (eventhough I live in SF) it makes it more fun because I forget places that I should probably visit more often. I think it's soo cool you came her and I'm glad you liked it and got to see so many of the famous sights

    Can't wait to see the next two posts

    xoDale
    http://www.savvyspice.com/

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  23. You look FAB dear !! Great pics :) Kisses

    New post up....
    ❤ StylishByNature.com

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  24. What gorgeous photos Mendi! I haven't been to SF but a blog friend did a SF post as part of my A Perfect Day In...series, it looks like an amazing place http://vanishaslife.blogspot.com.au/2012/06/perfect-day-in_27.html

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  25. Hi!
    I'm looking for mutual followers.

    http://shoppingepisodes.blogspot.com

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  26. Wonderful photos and you guys were visiting some of my favorite spots! I love the Northern CA. Glad you had fun :) great photos!!

    xx
    leslie

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  27. wow looks like a great vacation! you definitely hit the SF hot spots for sure. cant wait to read the rest of your trip re-cap

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  28. Sound and looks like you had a great trip

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  29. I love SF! We were there a few years for part of our honeymoon. I can't wait to go back next year for a wedding! Sounds like you had a fab time!

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  30. Looks like an amazing trip! Can't wait to see the rest of your pictures! I went to SF with my family when I was younger, but I would love to go back! -Jessica

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