If you didn't catch part 1 of my San Francisco visit be sure to check it out as well, as the highlights are very different from today's post. I have a couple more highlights in San Francisco but we are also going to venture out to some day trip locations that were fantastic experiences, too.
Let's start with sights in San Francisco.
First up is Golden Gate Park. This was a great space to just wander through and would be wonderful for a picnic, some chill time reading a book (which I took advantage of), or exploring some of the many attractions in the park (be aware, some areas require an admission fee). We wandered part of the park and then spent some time in the Japanese Tea Garden. We found a nice spot to just relax for a bit and I enjoyed reading a bit of my book in the serene space.
We only toured a fraction of the park and I hope to someday check out more of it. It was so idyllic. We saw a number of artists with sketch pads translating the beauty of the park to their paper and we ran into more than a few animals that offered moments of entertainment. Check out these cute guys below- because who doesn't love a funny animal video?
Next up is The Mission District (also referred to as The Mission). We spent just a little bit of time wandering around here toward the end of a day in the city and grabbed a quick bite to eat before we called it a day. The street art here is wonderful and be sure to look down alleyways as that is where we saw some of the best.
Let's head out of the city and talk about some of the day trips we took.
Muir Woods was on my to-do list since Mariposa Grove is closed for renovations and I knew we wouldn't get to explore there during our time in Yosemite (stay tuned for a post on that!). Muir Woods felt like a good warm up for the hiking we would do in Yosemite and I wanted to check out the beach, too. I was floored by the size of the trees- you just don't get anything like this in the Midwest, at least not that I've come across! I highly recommend a day of hiking and exploring here. I'll be doing a more in-depth post (with video) on this soon, but I couldn't leave it off the list here.
We made our way to the Napa Valley area twice. Specifically, we were in the Sonoma area and Calistoga. I don't know how people do wine tastings at more than 2 places in one day, because that was where I hit my limit (I really need to learn to be more comfortable spitting, but it seems like such a waste!). Luckily, we found five great wineries to add to our collection. Our first trip up we had a tasting scheduled with David Mahaffey of Olivia Brion and Palladian wineries. This was a more intimate tasting as it was just our group of four and David (plus Bella, his dog). We had grabbed a little food at Oakville Grocery before heading to meet David (don't do a wine tasting on an empty stomach!) and the food was delicious. We ended the afternoon with a quick stop in to Turnbull where we walked away with a couple of bottles, obviously.
Our second trip up was to Calistoga to meet up with friends from home. My husband and I squeezed in a last minute cave tasting at Failla, which was recommended by David on our previous trip up, before our plans with friends. This was such a lovely setting and tasting. The tasting included us and one other couple in their cave. We were given a very personalized experience with a very knowledgable staff member. We left there to meet up with our friends staying at the Calistoga Ranch (a lovely place if you are ever looking for somewhere to stay) and joined their group for a tasting at Tank Garage Winery. This tasting had a very different vibe and was an excellent change-up to our previous experiences. I can't possibly do each of these places justice in this short space, so you will likely get some longer and more focused posts on some of these spots in the near future.
Lastly, we day tripped over to Monterey to take in some coastal views. I was nervous heading in because we hit some serious fog/haze and I was afraid we were going to be out of luck on the views, but we turned a corner and everything cleared up to the gorgeous ocean views. We walked the coastline and were completely satisfied with limiting ourselves to that for the day. I'll be posting more on Monterey in a future post, because as you can see below, it is STUNNING.
This wraps some of the key aspects of the San Francisco leg of our vacation, but like I said, look for some of these to pop up in more detail in future blog posts this summer. Also in the works are posts on the Yosemite National Park and L.A./Ventura legs of our trip!
What trips do (or did) you have planned for the summer?