Has It Really Been A Year?

It dawned on me recently that it’s been a year since I made my epic voyage to California last February. I seriously can’t believe how fast these 12 months have flown by. So many things change in a year, from a new job to new glasses, that it can be almost dumbfounding to look back on it all. For better or worse, it’s humanizing to realize that you’ve experienced so much life rather than simply existing as it happened around you.

But anyways, back to the theme at hand: my trip to California. It was nothing short of fantastic. The weather went rogue in San Francisco and gifted us with (mostly) 70 degree bliss. It did rain at least once, but that didn’t stop me from exploring the Ferry Building, Alcatraz and every other tourist attraction I could get my hands on.

It really was the best of both worlds, as I stayed with my friend Marybeth and her boyfriend Matt, both expats from New York. I got a taste of the “local” life, but with splashes of cable car, Golden Gate Park and Fisherman’s Wharf thrown in for good measure. My cousin Jesse, who lives in Sacramento, even came to the city with his lovely girlfriend Shannon for a day of lounging in the park. I hadn’t seen him in a few years, so that made the day all the more memorable.

In no particular order, here are a few of my favorite pictures from San Francisco, long overdue in making their first public appearance:

IMG_1494My hostess MB before a sublime Blue Bottle coffee break. 

IMG_1476The Pacific Ocean, in all her frigid glory.

IMG_1486
This picture doesn’t do it justice, but Sausalito is a DARLING little beach-front town. My only complaint, no cookies.

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The only clear shot of the Golden Gate Bridge that I have.

IMG_1471 Me and Jesse at The Grove.

IMG_1504 I will admit that I had the naive expectation of seeing a flower power presence on the Haight. Not really the case.
DSC02783Who knew Alcatraz was so beautiful. Pleasant surprise.

DSC02786Even though it’s touristy, the ferry from San Francisco to Alcatraz offers the most stunning views of the city/bay area.

IMG_1544Can we talk about food for a moment? Every single thing I had the pleasure of stuffing down my gullet in SF was delicious. This is another one from The Grove.

IMG_1464Golden Gate Park.

IMG_1459A trip to San Francisco is not complete without a picture of these lovely Painted Ladies.

DSC02726 A breathtaking city with no less than perfect panoramic vistas.

DSC02724 MB and me!

What made this trip even more special was that I spent 3 days with my uncle in Arcata, California before flying back to NY. The hippie college town he lives in is 5+ hours north of SF, and with flights at nearly $300, I opted for the bus. Let me tell you, nothing is shadier than taking a Greyhound bus at night. You definitely meet your fair share of interesting characters. The 11pm McDonald’s rest stop was just one of the classier parts of the trip.

IMG_1578

Redwood National Park, what a trip – figuratively and literally.

DSC02802Uncle Ed in the belly of the beast.

DSC02809Though the massive height of the trees blocks most of the sun, making the forest dark and dank, it’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. Bring a sweatshirt!

IMG_1576Don’t want to be in the way when these babies come falling down.

IMG_1575 When we drove up the coast towards the forest, we passed an elk herd. Most of them stayed chilling in their field, but this brave guy walked right up to our car.

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My dad’s little brother was nothing short of the best host. He basically knows everyone in the town, having lived there for over 20 years, so no matter where we went someone yelled, “Hey, Ed!” He lives in a cute apartment in an old Victorian house and introduced me to the awesomeness that is a one-cup coffee maker. I also have no doubt that he has the largest private collection of books, cassette tapes and drum pieces. In summation, he’s the best.

And that, my friends, was my trip to California!

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