I’ll tell you what: If it was difficult planning a weekend when I was simply a fresh-out-of-college working girl, then the stakes have been raised exponentially since adding partner-in-crime and kids to the mix.
“Fun” has been calling for quite some time, but with work and kids and all the other things, summer went by with nary a vacation in sight. That’s why, in September, I suddenly booked in babysitters, cleared a weekend schedule and announced to my husband we were going to San Francisco. I had realized something: What was stopping us from getting away wasn’t the schedule or the kids, it was too narrow a view of what would constitute a “getaway.” I was thinking we had to go to a far away country, sip Mai Tai’s or take expensive flights, but that’s not the case at all.
Any place can be a getaway, if it’s out of the ordinary that you experience and you go with eyes of wonder.
Here’s a recap of our mini-getaway to San Francisco:
The road trip was in of itself a highlight; the drive from Los Angeles up to the north is that perfect length of 5-6 hours where you stop in the middle (obviously for In-N-Out), comment on the changing tundra and get lost deep in conversation. After a quick stop in Redwood City visiting family, we headed into the city late that night and checked into the Metropolitan Club.
Tip: If you go to this particular city, ask family or friends if they are members at any of the popular health and lifestyle clubs scattered across town; usually they have a few rooms at a lower rate available for their members. The Club was in a ideal central location, had beautiful, clean rooms and (always a favourite) signs to put on the bed should you choose to save water and defer daily sheet and towel changes.
Saturday was the day of exploration, and let me tell you: we ate our way around that city like professional bloggers. If you’re going to really “get away,” I think food has to be up there on your list of priorities. My rule of thumb is to only order things that I don’t have the time, experience or ingredients for. Then I’ll never be placed in that awkward, “I make this better” situation.
I certainly wasn’t going to have that problem at our first stop, Tartine, in the Mission District. We waited in line for about 30 minutes (and I spent most of that time watching the bakers from the window and inhaling the scent of pastry and cinnamon wafting out of the vents). Hilariously, though we thought we had gone too far with our three-item order of Morning Bun (Heaven. Seriously, heaven.), Frangipane Tart and Pain au Chocolat, once we began eying the other tables we considered ourselves judicious and prudent by comparison.
Everyone visiting this place had come with a buffet mentality and the tables around us seemed to groan in joy for all the treats thereupon. My only regret is that we didn’t simply stroll over to the newly opened Tartine Manufactory for Buttery Escapism Part Two.
New take on PB&J ice cream pie @tartinemanufactory . . black sesame ice cream, ?sorbet, passion fruit pate de fruit, ?cookie crust and ? meringue. Check out our Instagram story for more photos and read more about the PB&J ice cream pie in the link in profile! . . . #icecreampie #wheatfree #bestdessertoftheyear @bonappetitmag
In summation: we liked it very much.
The morning was still in appearance (although just so) when we scampered off to the SF MoMA, where we caught a moment in the final days of the Edward Munch exhibit. It has to be said that this particular museum and it’s refinishing have caught my heart. Even my husband — with his total lack of interest for art history — found both the established and special exhibitions interesting enough for almost two hours, and we sat by the clinking bowls of the 7th floor soundscape exhibit, watching the clouds outside go by, feeling very lucky indeed.
We walked a few blocks (stopping by a Papa George’s for a quick creme puff) in hopes to catch the original cable car only to see a “60 minute wait” sign…so we waited 30 minutes for the F cable car. Although it seemed a long time, the 40 minute trip that took us through town and along the piers on a sunny, fresh fall day was everything we wanted, despite the lack of tourist decorum in the more cramped moments of the route (note: please if you wear a backpack, take it off and set at your feet when on a cramped bus). We wandered down Fisherman’s Wharf, up Ghiradelli Square and eventually took a ride back to our room to change and take a rest.
For our last hours, we took a Lyft over to Haight Ashbury to ChaChaCha, only the most legit barfood Mexican fusion I’ve ever had. I knew it had to be good (or at the least, interesting) when I saw massive kitsch cherub sculptures hanging from the ceiling and a wall covered with old dance albums.
We skipped the 40 minute wait for a table by popping onto an open barstool hightop and proceeded to roll our eyes in glee all the way through a pork quesadilla that was worth the entire trip (we ate other things, too. Think liberally doused wings etc). An hour later we took pity on the hungry/ravenous onlookers waiting for tables and strolled down the street to be arrested by what, to me, seemed the most perfect bookstore since Three Lives & Company in New York (of which I often dream).
The selection impecable, the displays clean with helpful recommendations and Patrick Leigh Fermor on display, we had to buy a poster from The Booksmith in their final minutes before closing (and I jotted down their website for future adventures in nerd-dom).
We turned and in three blocks arrived at our final stop: The Ice Cream Bar where a 1930s soda shop decor and knowledge of specialized acids makes best friends with creamy ice cream and, for the age appropriate, craft beer and liquor.
So if you are longing for adventure, but can’t afford a 10 day affair, may I suggest a weekend getaway to a city nearby? You might not “leave your heart” there, but rather find some fresh life for it instead.
If you are headed out to San Francisco for a few days, I highly recommend purchasing a CityPass, which will give you access to sights, transportation and museums across town. Check out www.sftravel.com for more information, including event calendars and city insights!
Feature Image via Matty Barnes