You can find references about sunny California in song genres from rap to country but there is nothing like spending time there. It will make you understand why Silicon Valley is overrun with techy’s and why home prices are half a million dollars or more. It all comes back to location, location, location. I recently had the opportunity to spend a few days in the Bay Area with a loosely planned itinerary and plenty of sunblock. Here is what I did…
Day 1: San Francisco
On the first day, I decided to focus on seeing the city. San Francisco is a melting pot. You will see so many cultures represented from China Town to the Pier. I decided to do a scenic tour because I wanted to take in the full breadth of the bay. So I rode up to see the Golden Gate Bridge we’ve notoriously seen pictures of.
This experience wasn’t anything short of magnificent. You can see the red suspension ropes and fog. It really is like you see in the pictures, people! I did take a walk halfway across and you could feel the suspensions sway with all the heavy traffic, gives new reference to if you see my van a rocking…
Afterwards, I took in some French Cajun cuisine at Brenda’s French Soul Food Restaurant, which boasts having the best beignets in the bay. My tummy was pleased. They have an incredible transit system as well. I thank the city buses for helping me get up the almost vertical hills as well as the help of the trolley, Lyft, and Uber. What you don’t want to miss:
- The Pier
- Lombard Street (the tightly wound zig-zag street)
- The Golden Gate Bridge
- SFO Botanical Gardens
Day 2: Napa Valley
Of course, I’ll have wine with that!
Heading to Napa Valley can be as expensive or reasonable as you make things. Before my trip, I checked out sites like Groupon and Living Social for great wine tasting deals and then stacked those for a day of wonderful sprawling vineyards and thirst quenching in Napa and Sonoma. I even threw in an 80-minute massage at Napa Vineyard Massage for a little extra R&R. I’m sure you want to know where I visited, I thought Black Point Winery looked pretty cool. It’s run by two brothers where the wine is crafted in small lots from local Anderson Valley and Russian River vineyards. There’s nothing like dessert after a little R&R so I headed over to Vintage Sweet Shoppe for a little wine and chocolate pairing after my massage.
For dinner, I kept things cheap by visiting a place called the Red Door. A friend told me
about them and I decided to check things out. Plus, I had been drinking wine all day and since they also specialize in beer, it was great to switch things up.
Day 3: Half Moon Bay
Tucked away just a few miles down from the San Francisco bay, you can find a small suburban beach town called Half Moon Bay. If you take the scenic route down, you’ll see the houses tucked high on cliffs and the small shops and restaurants flanking the coastline. Since many of the inlets are deemed national park territory you can park in nearby lots, grab your picnic basket, and enjoy a day at the beach. For this trip, I didn’t want to do a lot of walking unless it was on the beach so I packed a picnic and ate al fresco style while enjoying a bottle of the Sauvignon Blanc I purchased from the winery the day before. Some of the beaches allow for bonfires at night, so some friends and I hit the local farmers market for a few things to roast.
An alternative for those that aren’t into the beach, you can always tour the east bay, Oakland which is across the bay bridge from San Francisco. They have Lake Merrit which is surrounded by a number of popular and delicious restaurants. In the summer months, the lake often serves as a venue for annual festivals.
Of course, this post didn’t cover all my eating and sleeping but I wanted to give you an idea of what you could see in three days in the bay area. Your travels don’t have to break the bank or take up too much of your vacation time, but it sure is fun to get away. Have you had a getaway to the bay area, I’d love to hear about it, let me know what you did?