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Three days in San Francisco and two nights in Carmel
Cute little hotel with a great location and ok service. Great location on Union Square. Get a King Deluxe in the new part of the hotel with a balcony!!! From the balcony, even when you are "chilling" in your room, you can still view all the happenenings of San Francisco. Pool was closed for repair so I can't comment on that. Comfortable bed. Customer service could use some work...we actualy had to carry our luggage up 2 flights of stairs because there wasn't anyone available to carry them for us. After that the rest of the stay was ok...the concierege was great...helped us out on alot of the questions about transportation. Thanks John!! I was so busy running around the streets of SF that I actually forgot to take pictures of the inside of the room. The King Plus with a balcony was GREAT. The room was very clean and in great shape. The blankets on the bed were wonderful. My husband's only complaint was that the tub was too small and not jetted.
Guided tour bus picked us up at our hotel and drove us to Fisherman's wharf where we joined the rest of our group and headed out. Rich was our driver and he was a hoot. We drove through San Francisco as he pointed out the sights with history included. Our first stop was Muir Woods where we went in and had a bite to eat then slowly walked through the woods and took some great pictures. We only stayed for about an hour then everyone joined back up at the bus. we then headed back down hwy 1 and stopped in Sausalito for an hour. We walked around the cute little town and had a drink in the "no name bar". After this part of the tour we had the option to either take the bus back to SF or take a ferry across the bay. We chose to take the bus and walked around Fisherman's Wharf for the rest of the evening. We also included a Blue & Gold Fleet bay cruise....skip this especially if you have an alcatraz tour planned. It is a dumpy boat that is so loud that you can't hear the pre-recorded tour guide at all.
Sure the locals hate this spot but if you are a tourist...you have to stop by. We ate at a cute little eatery on the wharf named Chowder's. I had amazing crab cakes and fried mushrooms and my husband had the clam chowder in a bowl of bread. I ended up taking his away and sopping up the leftovers. The sea gulls were waiting for a handout but it was posted everywhere not to feed them so we just watched them really closely. Great little spot for a rest and to pick up some gifts for the family. Don't miss the sea lions. They were barking and fighting with each other. Cute pictures to bring home to the kids.
Went here on the suggestion of a "local expert" (thanks BetterthanBings). Great food, Great atmosphere, Great service, Great drinks....Great, Great, Great. This is real italian. Even the bartender (owner ???) looks like his name should be Vinni. (lol) This is definately a local spot because everyone seemed to know everyone else. The bartender (owner??) even sat down at one of the tables and had a drink with them!!
Don't try to walk up it unless you are in REALLY good shape. We took the PH (Powell/Hyde) cable car and it dropped us off at the very top of the site. We walked down, yes it was still raining but it din't take away from the beauty or the experience. After we walked down Lombard street (the curvy part), we continued down Lombard street for a few blocks, which was a very easy walk, and caught the #39 bus up Telegraph hill to Coit Tower.
This site shows San Franciscan's love for their city. You can see forever, even on a cloudy day like the one we visited on, the view is great. The murals are definately worth seeing and in case anyone is wondering...yes, there is an elevator. You only have to walk up 2 or 3 flights of stairs at the top. The other questions that I had before I went that may help out first timers is...yes, a city bus (I think number 39) goes all the way to the parking lot. After visiting, I wouldn't get there any other way. We were there in Feb, which isn't even the busy season, and the cars were lined up..actually waiting for one of the very few (maybe 20 or so) parking spots to open up. The bus just whisked passed them and dropped us off.
We happened to be in Chinatown on the first day of the Chinese New Year celebration. We never actually saw the famous arch gate because we kinda got lost in the celebration. Amazing. The culture is so strong. There are chinese markets everywhere...not just the tourist type. These are actually where they shop for their dinner. The shopping is AWESOME!! Cheap, Cheap, Cheap. Jade is everywhere (if you can understand what they are saying. I kept thinking he was saying "tae". I have never felt so engulfed in another culture. I could have been in China and it couldn't have felt more real!! LOVED it.
We took the night tour. Very professional boat tour, (unlike the one we took the day before with Blue & gold Fleet). If you like history, you have to go. It is about more than the prison. I had no idea about the treatment of the Indians on the island and in the San Francisco area. The audio tour is so great. Kinda like you are the only one there. Please, Please take this tour and "save the rock". Also the views of the city from Alcatraz at night...unbelievable. See my review for pictures.
My husband and I watched this happening place from our balcony for two nights and finally decided we had to go inside. So glad we did. This place is where you can be anyone you want to be and nobody cares or knows the difference. The bouncer outside the door is great. He "had our back" when a couple homeless people approached us. They weren't threatening or anything but nice to know we were safe if needed. The drinks are strong, the music was great and the dance floor was just the right size. I am still trying to remember the name of the band that played and if I do I will post it later. If you stay on union square this is a fun place to try for a night to remember in San Francisco.
Plan a very slow drive because you will want to stop many many times to take pictures. Just make sure you have binoculars. We saw sea lions sunning on the rocks, we saw whales (i think but they were in my memory for sure), sea gulls and amazing sights that we would have missed without binoculars. We drove out of San Francisco on Geary Stret headed west until we hit Hwy 1 at The Cliff House. We were going to eat lunch however it was very busy so we just stopped and walked on the beach. Next time...!! Then we drove, stopped, drove, stopped, drove....well you get the picture.Very beautiful drive, especially if you go all the way down to Big Sur like we did on the second day.
This was a very small cafe that we just happened on by accident. WOW!! It feels like you are sitting in someone's living room. The people are friendly and very welcoming. The coffee is very good, and when combined with the sound of the surf on the outside deck this place is definately worth the stop. I was hungry so ordered tie Mediterranian Pizzetta...YUMMY!!! The owner also has fresh deserts and cakes which are to die for. Just stop by for the rest stop on the drive...great!!
What a place. As we pulled under the awning to check in, a staff member met us at the car to ask if we would like a bottle of water ro a glass of wine. When you walk in to register, you actually sit down at a desk to recieve your room key. The room was fabulous!!! Beautiful bathroom, awesome bed, great balcony with teak furniture and since it was our anniversary, we were upgraded to a fireplace room!!! Amazing service, very helpful with reservations. The pool and hot tub were perfect temperature, size, location. The spa was great!! very professional!! I will definately return to this place. Check our my review for the great pictures!!
Local restaurant...reservations only. this was a very small quaint restaurant that was actually recommended by the masseur at Quail Lodge. He said "you will probably not be able to get reservations tonight or tomorrow but it is worth a try". The concierege from Quail Lodge got reservations within 15 minutes. Don't believe the menu when you go in because first they tell you what they have, then they tell you what they can do. Which is pretty much "whatever you want". Candlelight, friendly atmosphere, nice wine list. A bit on the fancy side with their dishes for a simple southern girl like myself. I found myself asking the waitress to repeat herself only to realize that I didn't know what she was saying because I had know idea what the dish was. I finally gave up and just told her that I would like to try dungeness crab and trusted her on the rest. The Clam chowder was wonderful and my husband had the cabbage and leek soup which he loved but the crab was just so....and way overpriced.
Amazing, Amazing, Amazing!! The view alone is enough to make you say ahhhh. Then comes the food. Don't expect a fast food price because this is NOT fast food quality. We spent $45 for lunch but I would it do it again and again if I lived in the area. the feeling of sitting outside on a balcony with a view of the pacific from 800ft above is almost a religous experience in itself. The food was very good. I had the smoked salmon with capers and my husband had a burger to top all burgers. The atmosphere was very calming and peaceful and we just happened to sit by two very wonderful people...wish I could remember their name but good luck and safe journeys on your mission! Now I can go visit thier website everyday and look at my seat...and remember the peaceful feeling that I had that day. Bravo nepenthe!!! Once again...see my review for pictures.
Just a short stroll to a great overlook point of Mc Way Falls. Well worth the drive. It is only about 7 miles south of Big Sur on hwy 1. Waterfall is beautiful as is the wild flowers on the walk. They have a few benches at the end of the walk to just sit and soak it all in. A must see.
We took this drive so we could catch a glimpse of the greens and resorts of Pebble Beach. Most of the golf views are hidden from view of the actual drive. There are beautiful mansions to be seen, great ocean views and a lot of curvy winding roadway. The toll is $8 per car but it was one of the highlights of our drive. We stopped off at Inn at Spanish Bay for drinks, walked down to the beach from their patio, then finished the drive as dark settled in. Very beautiful drive.
We didn't actually stay at this hotel. As I said earlier, we stopped in for drinks, mingled in with the guests, had a drink, sat by the numerous huge firepits, walked on the beach, relaxed and listened to the lone bagpiper play his sad song. Beautiful, touching moment.
As a whole our 6 days in San Francisco and Carmel was everything that we hoped it would be. We walked, danced, sang, ate, drove, hiked, swam, rode a cable car, climbed to the top of Coit tower, walked down Lombard St, experienced more culture that we have seen in our whole life and will never, never forget our 10th anniversary in California!!
If you would like to see some amazing pictures of our trip check out my aol pictures page above.