San Francisco – Day 2

Blogging about San Francisco makes me want to go back! We had such a good trip. Whether it was the place or the occasion (probably both), it was plain great. I think Sam and I could have fun just about anywhere though and that’s one of the awesome things about being married to your best friend. 1 year down, here’s to good health & 60+ more!

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Our second day in San Francisco we headed to Golden Gate Park, rented some bikes and headed toward Ocean Beach (to explore more of the North-West side of the city).

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Honestly it took me awhile to warm up to biking around the city because I don’t trust people’s driving! I’d definitely rather hoof it on foot than bike in a busy city, but I was glad we biked because the part of the city that we were exploring was more spread out than our previous day’s ventures and biking got us to everything we wanted to see!

Our first stop was Judah Street for some lunch (at which time I was kind of hangry). I had read that this street encapsulated the “surf town feel” and was pretty much a smaller, cleaner Santa Cruz. UH, not so much what we found (I didn’t take any pictures there), but we made the best of it or Sam did, and I did once I had some food in my belly. We grabbed a couple of sandwiches at Java Beach Café, and all was good.

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From Judah St. we biked along the beach to the Sea Cliff area and Sutro Bath’s (big ocean-side pools that filled with ocean water when the tides came in, built in the late 19th century and later burned down in the 1960s). It’s neat to look at pictures online and see how extravagant the sutro bath’s were, but the view today is still picturesque. Ducks and seagulls enjoy the ruins of the bath’s as tourists hike the hillside to see them.

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Directly above the Sutro Bath’s is Land’s End Park with a trail that we biked along leading to pretty views of the Golden Gate Bridge!

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We had to get our bikes back into the shop before it closed and we had just enough time to grab some gelato at Holy Gelato! They had some really unique flavors including goat cheese, which was weird, I know, but actually pretty good!

The End.

Sincerely,
Amanda

San Francisco – Day 1

We decided to tackle the North-central-east side of San Francisco via foot and cable car our first day (this area is seen as the most tourist-friendly because of how much there is to see within such a close area and of course because of the touristy shops/restaurants…no thanks Bubba Gump Shrimp Co!).

North Beach – We watched a few (there were four total) seals lay out on the boat docks at Pier 39 in the Fisherman’s Wharf area. One of the seals had its right hind side bitten out by a shark (poor guy!! he looked miserable..) but the people looking out for it were hopeful that it would heal and be fine! We were happy to see a few seals out because they are known to migrate south for the summer. Normally there are hundreds to be found at these docks during the late fall/winter months.

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After saying bye to Andre we headed on foot toward Washington Square, the central hub of “Little Italy” where we grabbed some Gelato at a nearby Delicatessen (so fancy) and enjoyed the square where artists in the area had their work on display and locals were basking on the lawn. We had a hard time deciding whether to eat our gelato in the shade or the sun because the weather was in the upper 60’s/lower 70’s and in the shade it was almost too cold but in the sun it got hot pretty fast! Nearby a local in a tank top  was preparing for a nap under the sun as she sprayed herself down with sunscreen but before passing out threw on a hoodie, for warmth? for sun protection? At least we weren’t the only ones confused by the weather.

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We passed a cute Haberdashery along the way! I had to take a picture because I thought it was so neat; it was like being back in time.

We passed a cute Haberdashery along the way! I had to take a picture because I thought it was so neat; it was like being back in time.

Financial District – From there Sam found the closest cable car which unbeknownst to us took us into Union Square ,aka the central shopping area, where you can find big name stores such as: Macy’s, Coach, Dior, DSW, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and many others. Sam and I stopped into Sketchers to pick me up some comfy walking shoes and then headed back toward North Beach on foot. Uphill. Hello glutes!

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The cable car was $6 a person to ride. It was a really neat iconic San Fran experience and Sam was even able to stand out the side of the cable car to enjoy the views!

This picture is from day two in San Fran but these are one of the two pairs of shoes we picked up at Sketchers. Super cute and comfy. Links for both below.

This picture is from day two in San Fran but these are one of the two pairs of shoes we picked up at Sketchers. Super cute and comfy. Links for both below.

I bought THESE in white, and THESE.

On our way to Chinatown we needed an afternoon energy boost bad (at least I did) so we stopped into a place for coffee to sit awhile. Walking the hills is no joke! And there are so many places to pop in for a drink or a bite in San Fran which is a big part of its charm.

 Once in Chinatown we walked down one of the most popular streets, also known as “the street of painted balconies” or Waverly Place. Being the oldest and biggest Chinatown in the country there was a lot to take in! A lot of culture, a lot of shops and restaurants, temples and churches, and people living life. We stopped for a moment to watch a volleyball match that was down an alley off a main street before moving on.

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At this point we had worked up an appetite so we popped into another little place on the side of some random street for a giant slice of pizza and some soda before walking (uphill) through Telegraph Hill, “one of San Fran’s 44 hills and one of its original ‘seven hills’ to check out Coit Tower and the view (which was gorgeous).

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10+ miles and we called it a day! We also decided on bikes for our second day which I’ll share in another post!

Sincerely, Amanda

Sausalito

Sam and I are huge proponents of Air BnB…partly because we use it to rent out our home/lake house, but also because staying in an awesome house on vacay is WAY better than staying in a drab hotel room…even if you could afford the penthouse suite, you could probably stay in a bomb ass mansion with a private pool, hot tub and washer/dryer instead.

Anyway, for our one year anniversary we had no idea where to stay! Sam had never been to San Francisco and the last time I was there, I was 6 years old. Most of the hotels seemed so expensive and since we didn’t really know the area well we weren’t sure what we would actually be getting. Well we looked on Air BNB and ended up finding this CUTE little studio in Sausalito…literally right across the Golden Gate right outside of San Francisco. The thing we love about Air BnB is that people are held accountable by reviews! And we are able to communicate with the renters and see pictures of the place before we book it. Well major points for Sam because he found the perfect space for us.

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It was so cozy and just a walk away (literally just down the hill, one street away) from downtown Sausalito (overlooking the bay too!): aka close to all of the shops, restaurants, bakeries, coffee shops and bars! Which we walked to EVERY SINGLE night. It was SO enjoyable and quaint that I would definitely recommend staying in Sausalito even if you are wanting to be in San Francisco for the majority of your day/trip. We really would LOVE to go back (I mean the weather alone was amazing, especially for two people who are used to Texas summers). We had such a good trip that we immediately were trying to figure out if we could make a quick trip back before the summer was over…who knows…?!

We arrived in Sausalito Friday afternoon, got to our studio rental and immediately took a nap, well at least Sam did, I could have used some sleep for sure but I was way too excited to be still. When Sam woke up we went to check out Mt. Tam (Tamalpais is the actual name…but Mt. Tam is easier because I kept wanting to say Mt. Tampalapalis). I had googled hidden gems of San Francisco and this place came up on the list…and it was even more amazing than I think it looks in the pictures. It’s above the bay, above the usually crazy clouds where they have come to rest on the mountain and it feels like a glimmer of heaven, like you’re on top of the word! It was absolutely beautiful.

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We spent enough time walking around on the Mountain and running to try to capture the perfect picture that we were starving by the time we got back into Sausalito. It’s neat walking around Sausalito, they literally have every kind of food: Indian, French, Italian, Thai, Sushi, American, Seafood, etc. We decided on Indian the first night and went to Sartaj India Café…left stuffed, walked around downtown, grabbed a coffee and brownie from Starbucks down the way and then went home and passed out!

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The next morning we ate breakfast at Fred’s Coffee Shop before heading into San Fran for our tourist day on foot; I’ll be posting San Fran pics in another post. Fred’s portions were ginormous, so we had enough to take back to the studio and eat the next morning for breakfast and it was all delish. We didn’t try their fresh pressed OJ, but from what I gathered from those who DID order it around us, it was REALLY GOOD, so if you find yourself there, I guess give it a try!

That night after our day in San Fran, we weren’t particularly starving because we had eaten well in the city. We split a few fish tacos from Fish and Chips of Sausalito, then split TWO desserts and some coffee at Taste of Rome, which is the same place we went back to for our last evening, for some pizza!

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There was also a little market down the hill from our place where we bought a couple of bottles of wine to enjoy on our porch.

It was PERFECT and I honestly would rather stay in Sausalito than San Fran any trip.

Sincerely, Amanda

BUCKS LAKE – PART TWO

If you are looking for a quiet mountain summer getaway, Bucks Lake would be a good place to go! You might want to bring your own towels though (right guys? ; ) I find it semi-funny that having only one towel the whole week didn’t bother me but bothered the guys) our resort only gave us one set of towels for the week (no washer and dryer and no fresh sets) which might be a problem if you really dirty them up at the lake or something but we didn’t.   They have a marina where you can rent anything from a fishing boat or ski boat and a wakeboard/skis to kayaks and stand up paddle boards. they’ve also got a couple of bars in the area at the different lodges (one of which we frequented evenings for wi-fi), a couple of restaurants, a little store and it’s not too far of a drive to the nearby town of Quincy (super quaint)!

We actually drove into town one night for dinner where we ate at a place called Sweet Lorraine’s and it was super good! I ordered a steak salad and an apple pie a la mode! Definitely recommend the apple pie, SO good (I love LOVE Apple Pie)!  So (in continuation of my PCT shpeel from the last post) after hearing enough about the PCT, Sam and Chad hiked a leg of it with me! Funny enough, Chad who is around 13 years older than Sam and I beat us up and down the trail. We started down at Bucks Summit Trailhead and made our way up to Spanish Peak…10 miles round trip. I was really amazed at all of the older people we passed hiking down on the way, I only hope to be that mobile when I’m their age! We passed an old man who had to at least be in his late 70s and wherever he had come from at the point on the trail  was a long way. At least a 10 mile hike but maybe more!


  Look at my Sam isn’t he so studly?
The view from Spanish Peak was amazing!  But there was a storm moving in on us so we had about enough time at the top to snap some pictures, sign the log book, eat a granola bar while enjoying the view and head back down. And we literally made it just in time to sit down at the bar and watch it move in…and listen to the excitement of actually having weather in the area…you know, since they’ve been in drought and all. They haven’t even had snow the past two winters but you’ll still see snow mobiles sitting on the side of the road/in people’s driveways, maybe in anticipation of snow in the winters to come? These people signed just before we did.Basically the trip was beautiful. I’m in San Antonio this week for work sitting in conference rooms all day and I’m feeling semi nostalgic about Bucks Lake since I was just there and it was like being in a postcard!! I would definitely go back.

I’m actually super excited because mine and Sam’s 1 year marriage anniversary is coming up on June 27th and we are taking a trip back to Northern Cali to spend a long weekend in the San Francisco area!

Any recommendations on what we should see/do?? Let me know!!!

Sincerely, Amanda

BUCKS LAKE – PART ONE

Where to begin? I haven’t posted in awhile because we have been thoroughly enjoying ourselves on the top of a mountain with no service and little wifi this past week! I was able to share some snaps on Insta and if you saw them then you could probably understand my despondency at being home now! …I’m happy to be home (especially to see our furry babies), but man Bucks Lake was gorgeous and SO peaceful and I could definitely get used to THAT. Oh and before I share pictures, I was kinda bummed because the one place I would want to bring my Nikon, I totally forgot it!! So all my photos were shot on my iPhone though I still think they capture some of the beauty of the area!   So we stayed at Lakeshore ‘Resort’ on Bucks Lake in California about 30 minutes away from the town of Quincy. I put resort in quotations because it’s not what you think it would be when you hear that. When I hear resort I think all inclusive, 5 restuarants at least, a few pools and a beach. I knew that wasn’t what we’d be getting, just clarifying! I was actually really excited to live the simple life for a few days. Though to be honest it took about a day for me to adjust to zero cell service and to just RELAX without feeling like I needed to be doing something (though Sam might beg to differ 😉 I’m really good at sleeping and cat naps, I’ll give him that). But I got there, and it was the BEST. 

  Our cabin was super cozy, like really cozy. It had two bedrooms, a bathroom, a kitchenette and just enough of a hang out space inside to make you want to be outside all of the time, which worked out perfectly because we were! If we weren’t enjoying our balcony view, Sam and Chad were doing Mussel Surveys (they were nice and let me crash their work trip), I’d be checking out the area, reading, catching some sun, hiking or we’d be enjoying a nice campfire. It was so refreshing!

   
So have any of you seen the movie Wild? You know, the movie about Cheryl Strayed hiking the Pacific Crest Trail? The one with Reese Witherspoon? Yeah, that one. Well, first let me preface this by saying that I have always LOVED hiking and have always dreamed of going on a backpack thru hike somewhere, though I haven’t done it yet. Anyway, about a week before this trip I watched Wild and that got me super amped up and wanting to hike the PCT someday! I’ve been pretty annoying about it…like Sam doesn’t want to hear about it ever again….but come to find out and unbeknownst to me we were actually staying on part of the PCT in CA!!! Yeah, I freaked out a little bit. Sorry hubs! But just being able to be there for the week was also definitely exciting to me. I loved every bit of it!

 So for those who don’t know, the Pacific Crest Trail is 2,650 miles long spanning the entire west side of the U.S. from the border of Mexico all the way up to Canada, traversing desert, snowy mountains, beautiful forrest and volcanic peaks. It’s a daring feat and big adventure that many take on every year, and I find it super inspiring!! Talk about being brave and pesevering, right?

I was sitting at the bar one night when Uncle Buck  (that was his trail name) walked in straight off the PCT (with only that bag pictured above holding all of the things he needs for 6 months!!). He’d wanted to go on a big adventure before turning 50 and he’s doin it! He had been on the PCT for about 3 months already and said he was on schedule to be done with the whole thing in September! He shared pictures of friends made along the way and the most amazing views and stories. Such a sense of community and hospitality on the trail… I’d love to hike it someday…though not by myself! He also shared that just the day before he’d been on the trail alone and a black bear came running down the trail right at him! Just when he thought he was a goner the black bear saw him and b-lined for the forrest…I would have had a heart attack I think!

It took two days for me to mentally prepare for going on a five-mile hike by myself because I was sure I’d probably get eaten by a mountain lion or a bear… I mean can you blame me? Everything there was named grizzly bend or grizzly creek or grizzly this and that. There was also a sign in our cabin by the front door telling us not to put out trash past 6pm so that bears wouldn’t come rummage through it…

I definitely know this about myself: I scare easy, and my imagination runs wild. Like my spirit animal would be a black bear instead of a grizzly bear because I’m curious but my instinct is definitely flight not fight, which I’m not sure if either would help me in the face of a bear or lion. Once I heard that the last bear seen in the area was almost two years ago I felt a little bit better, but I still took a fog horn with me just in case I needed to scare something off! Haha! But for the record I didn’t have to.






I’ll share more of my trip in another post or two.

It was a beautiful trip and I’m excited to share it!

PS anyone want to halt life for 6 months and hike the PCT with me?! 😉

Sincerely, Amanda