Thursday, March 28, 2013

Muir Woods Tourist Club

Last Sunday turned out to be a sunny and warm day in the Bay Area, and after a relaxing morning, we were anxious to get outside and take advantage of Spring.  
This hike in Muir Woods caught our eye, since near the end of the trail, you pass The Tourist Club, a place recommended to us when we first moved here. 

The 5.5mi hike begins at Mt. Home Inn, off Highway 1 in Muir Woods, curving mostly downhill through redwood forests.

The views were so green and lush from recent rain.

These bottle-brush saplings were so unique.

The trail leads through Muir Woods' Cathedral Grove, home of some of the largest redwood trees around.

If you manage to weave through all the tourists at the Muir Woods Visitor Center, you pick up the Dipsea Trail and begin the uphill climb.  The views are worth it...

...but so is the Tourist Club!

We couldn't believe how many people were already enjoying beers, board games, picnic lunches, and the music here (the photo above was taken as we left--after closing time--but imagine a person with a pint or pitcher covering every inch of this place!)  We stepped up to the bar for beers and then settled at a picnic table overlooking the "stage" area where one of the members was trying to organize a German dancing lesson....hilarious.

We made friends with some cool fellow hikers, played battleship and Trivial Pursuits, drank German beers and stayed til they kicked us out after closing time.

We decided a mid-hike break like this is about as great of a Sunday activity as you can experience.

Another mile and a half, including plenty of stairs, and we were back at the car.

The drive back home across the Golden Gate bridge wasn't too shabby, either.

We're loving the extra hour of sunlight in the evening!

Whoever happens to be our next city guests will definitely get a trip to the Tourist Club.  Sign up now :)

Monday, March 25, 2013

Weekend Recap

Happy Monday.  I hope you had a relaxing weekend...did anyone get Spring weather?  

Our weekend included lots of March Madness.  Every year I enjoy it more--so glad all the games are streaming online this year.  The upsets are so exciting.

Aside from basketball, there was lunch on our balcony:

Muir Woods Hike with a mid-hike beer break (!)

Sunset while driving back over the Golden Gate Bridge

Homecooked meals and Sunday family dinner
Spring Rolls
- Pumpkin Pancakes

Our first bite of Cacio e Pepe, Rome 2011

I'm excited Easter is on its way!

Thursday, March 21, 2013


It's starting to feel like Spring around here!  

More sunshine

Spring Flowers

And later sunsets

So happy to welcome Spring!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Golden Gate Park Run

I'm entered into a 10k race next month in Golden Gate Park, so this past weekend I wanted to run the course to see what to expect on race day.  

The course begins and ends at one of the two windmills that flank the Northern and Southern boarders of the park at the ocean.

Near the beginning, the road passes the Bison Paddock, which I think is one of the coolest sights in the park.  They were all relaxing this particular Saturday morning.

This is the pond in the park where people like to run their remote controlled boats.  But I was too early for that crowd.

I passed several expansive greens where people like to picnic.  I am sure this field filled up with St. Patrick's Day parties a few hours later.

Two waterfalls

The Rose Garden near the de Young Museum of Art

And finally, the beautiful Botanical Gardens

This is the turn-around spot for the out-and-back race.

Back to the windmill; the return path had a slight downhill slope, which I will surely welcome during the race.
I'm hoping for a bit more sun next month!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Crissy Field Picnic

Happy Monday!  I hope you had a nice weekend.  
We had beautiful weather in San Francisco, and in honor of St. Patrick's Day, my friend hosted a picnic in Crissy Field.  This was on my bucket list for 2013, and it was as fun and relaxing as I'd hoped.

We had a green-themed picnic, plus a grill full of food and coolers with drinks.

The bay was full of sailboats in the distance.

Sailboat race:

We relaxed on picnic blankets until the sun fell below the trees and we decided to pack up.

I'm not sure why it took a year and half to do this, but I hope to head back to Crissy Field soon!

Friday, March 15, 2013


Happy Friday!  TGIF, that's for sure.

My plans are currently completely up in the air...anyone with exciting plans this weekend?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


Scenes from around here lately:

From our hike in Mount Sutro the weekend before last

Cocktail from my Virtual Dinner Party last week 
Cheering on Juanita's lacrosse team this past weekend
San Francisco's Boudin Bakery gets ready for St. Patrick's Day

Sunday night dinner was a success
Signs of Spring around here...

Hope your week is off to a good start!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Marin Headlands: Tennessee Valley Trail

Before moving to the west coast, my former boss gave me a number of outdoor activities we had to try after we moved.  (He had lived in San Francisco for a number of years before.)
One of his recommendations was to hike the Tennessee Valley trail in the Marin Headlands.

We attempted to hike this route last April, but it turned out we pulled off the road too early and didn't end up hiking the correct trails.  Finally we returned to the Tennessee Valley (with friend "E" this time!), parking at the correct trailhead this trip.

The first quarter of the hike is an easy and down-sloping dirt trail to Tennessee Cove.

We ate sandwiches on the beach before beginning the strenuous uphill part of the hike:

The trail rose quickly in elevation.

And it was a clear enough day to see the Farallon Islands.

View North, towards Bolinas
Turkey Vultures
A peek back at the city
The hike turned out to be just a bit over 6 miles...easy at the beginning and pretty challenging for the loop in the middle!  (Our route, using this map, was Tennessee Valley Trail to Coastal Trail, to Coastal Fire Road, to Fox trail, and back to the trailhead via the Tennessee Valley Trail.)

Thanks, E, for joining us!