San Francisco Bay Bridge Closure—President’s Day Weekend

*****NOTE:  The bridge will REOPEN early.  The Bridge will reopen on Sunday night, February 19th starting at

8 pm.  This is well ahead of the original Tuesday morning reopening.*****

If you have been asleep—

The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge will be shut down over the President’s Day weekend.

It is a long holiday weekend so plan ahead if you are going in to visit the City by the Bay or if you live in San Francisco and are planning on being out of town over the holiday.

From Friday, February 17th at 8 pm to Tuesday, February 21 at 5am the Westbound lines (heading into San Francisco from Interstate 80) will be closed to traffic.

The Eastbound lanes will be open.

The Golden Gate Bridge will be open.

The Ferries, BART, donkeys and helicopters will all be in service.

If you plan right you will e ok but you may experience delays.  Especially getting into the City.

My advice?  Go early (like Friday morning) and stay longer (like Wednesday) and have more fun with less stress!

Family Day & Kite Day in San Francisco, September 18th 2011

The Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco, CA a...

Image via Wikipedia

In 1978 Mayor George Moscone proclaimed a Family Day & Kite Day in San Francisco, California.  Kite Day is sanctioned by the American Kite Fliers Association (AKFA).

In 2010 the festival featured kite-flying, kite-boarding, kite-boating and other examples of wind power as beautiful, educational, and healthy entertainment for families of all ages.

The 2011 Family Day & Kite Day will be held on Sunday September 18th on San Francisco’s marina Green.  The Marina Green is a beautiful green area in San Francisco just east of the Golden Gate Bridge.  It is a panoramic waterfront park.

There is always a bit of wind on the Marina Green and it is a perfect open expanse for kite flying and a family picnic.  The Family Day & Picnic Day will run from 11 am to 6 pm.

You will find a list of performers and some fantastic kite photos here.

There will be contests, kite making as well as kite flying demonstrations.

If you are interested, you can apply to be a volunteer at Kite Day at this link.

This little video is a class project.

Note:  There are a lot of links here for hotels, restaurants and places to go so make sure you take your time and check them out.

How do I get there?

The Marina Green extends 0.4 miles east to west, between Scott and Webster Streets, along Marina Boulevard, San Francisco’s picturesque northern shoreline.”

If you come from the North, you will drive on Highway 101 and cross the Golden Gate bridge and travel east on Doyle Drive to Marina Boulevard and a few more blocks and you are there.

If you enter San Francisco down Interstate 80, you will cross the San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge and follow the signs thru the Embarcadero past the Fisherman’s Wharf and continue past Fort Mason and there is Marina Green.

You can take the MUNI bus straight to the Marina Green from almost anywhere and you can take the Hyde Street cable car down to Beach street and walk a couple of blocks to the Marina Green.  San Francisco has excellent public transportation and it can be the best bet for out-of-town visitors.

A map of the Marina Green and surrounding area is here.

How about parking?

More than 600 free parking spaces are immediately next to the Marina Green.

Another 500 spaces are available at Crissy Field, 0.5 miles west of the Marina Green.

Who do I contact if I have more questions or need information??

For questions or more information, please contact:

Barbara (415) 383-0500    or
Alexis (415) 420-2827

I want to stay in San Francisco, what is a good hotel/motel in the Marina District?

The Hotel Del Sol is an affordable family-friendly 1980s motor lodge that has been transformed into a boutique hotel in the area.

The Marina Inn is a budget bed and breakfast hotel in the district.  Marina Inn provides easy access to the city’s cable car and bus lines.

Near to the district are hotels including the Travelodge Golden Gate, Ramada Limited, Days Inn on Lombard Street and other affordable hotels/motels.

Things to do in the Marina District:

San Francisco is full of fun things to do and always has special events going nearly every weekend.  Some things to do in and around the Marina Green include:

  • walk or ride a bike across the Golden Gate Bridge  It’s a beautiful spot to see the City, across the Marin County, the Pacific Ocean and the San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz Island and so much more.  Then check out the Golden Gate Park.  Nice place for a picnic.
  • Across the Golden Gate Bridge you can travel to the Marin Headlands and the Point Bonita Lighthouse.  Beautiful area.
  • go down to Fisherman’s Wharf.  Yes it is touristy, but it is legitimate and worth a look and wander around.a wander around.
  • take the Cable Car or bus anywhere in San Francisco, just enjoy the sights, smells and sounds of all of the unique San Francisco neighborhoods:  North Beach, Chinatown, the Marina, the Fillmore, the Mission and all of the other districts in the City.

Where do I eat?

San Francisco has tons and tons of excellent restaurants including some very expensive ones.  But you can find some good, affordable places to eat.  Rather than list them all here, you can go to the SDan site and walk thru their retaurant list.  This link will take you to a list of Marina eateries.

Places to stay outside the Marina District.

The nearby Fisherman’s Wharf area has some very good mid and upper class hotels, including a Sheraton, a Marriot and some boutique hotels.

Nob Hill is home to the famous Huntington Hotel and other top notch spots to stay.  The Huntington has been on top of the highest hill in San Francisco for many years and remains in the same family that has owned the hotel for most of that time.  Modern conveniences in a very classy older hotel.

The Fairmont is the other large, older & classy hotel on Nob Hill.  There are other hotels on the Hill and you can’t go wrong picking one.

San Francisco has many great hotels like this.

Such as The St. Francis.   The St. Francis is my favorite large older hotel in San Francisco.  You’ll find yourself just a breathtaking cable car’s ride from the Palace of Fine Arts, Nob Hill, the Filbert Steps, or the cliffs of Lincoln Park.  Beautiful, classy yet modernized.  Do you want to be pampered?  The St Francis or the Huntington are excellent choices.

Union Square is home to many smaller, hip boutique hotels as well.  Check them out at this link.  The Square is a  great spot to stay especially if you plan on shopping in the big department store or want to attend the theater.  A lot to see and do at Union Square.

The Mandarin Oriental Hotel is within San Francisco’s financial district.  The district gets pretty quiet at night once all the stock broker types go home.  The Oriental Hotel sits way up in the San Francisco sky on the top floors of one of the City’s towering skyscrapers.    You can walk to the Bay, Chinatown, Fisherman’s Wharf and the Ferry Building so the Oriental is a great, but somewhat expensive, District.  The hotel has to compete with other properties in areas of town that are just much more exciting.  The views from this hotel are simply stunning, especially the rooftop restaurant.

I cannot talk about even a small percentgage of the great San Francisco hotels.  There are so many it is hard to choose.  The best thing to do is select an area of the City and then research the hotels within that area based on the type of things you want to do depending on whether you are a couple of a family bringing young children.

What about staying outside of San Francisco?

Another option is staying across the Golden Gate Bridge in the many smaller communities in Marin County which is just North of San Francisco.

Sausalito is a great spot with nice hotels and B & B’s, such as the Casa Madronna Hotel and Spa.  This hotel was once owned by one of the famous San Francisco madams.  Yes, that kind of madam.  it’s a great spot if you get a room facing the harbor.  Sausalito is a quaint little artists colony and a lot of residents live on houseboats docked in the harbor on San Francisco Bay.  The Casa Madrona is a great place for couples on a get-away in any of the 63 guest rooms

For Sausdalito B&B, The Gables Inn is very nice.

Sausalito, and the surrounding area, has great dining and shopping spots.  Most are smaller more intimate places.  The Spinnaker restaurant has been there for over 50 years and has great harbor views in addition to quality meals.

Taste of the Himalayas is an interesting restaurant.  The food is very good and it’s always nice to try new cuisines, so if you have time make sure you try this one.

From here you can also visit Angel Island, Audubon Canyon, Mt. Tamalpais, Muir Woods Point Reyes  and Stinson Beach.  All are within a short drive.

From the Sausalito area you can also take a great, fast ferry ride into San Francisco.  You can leave your car at your hotel!

The great wine country of the Napa Valley is not far away and definitely worth a trip.  You will love the scenery, the food and the wineries.

Another good choice on the Bay and in Marin County is the quaint town of Tiburon.  Tiburon is just across Richardson’s Bay from Sausalito, an easy drive along the water.  From Tiburon you can see Angel Island, Sausalito, and the San Francisco skyline.

The name Tiburon means ‘shark’ in Spanish.  There are (were) leopard sharks in the bay but they really are not dangerous, but the water is quite cold so peeps don’t go swimming there anyway.  The Audubon Society operaters the Richardson Bay Sanctuary where you can observe a lot of wildlife.  There are early rock carvings by the Native Americans in the area on Ring MountainMill Valley is a great place to visit if you stay (or visit) Tiburon or even Sausalito.

You can take the Blue and Gold Fleet ferry to San Francisco.

Tiburon is served by two ferry companies:

  • Blue and Gold Fleet, +1 415 705-5555  [2]. Offers ferry service between Tiburon and San Francisco. Most ferries go to Pier 41 in Fisherman’s Wharf, but a few will go to the Ferry Building in the Financial District. Adults $9.50 one-way, children $5 one-way.
  • Angel Island – Tiburon Ferry, +1 415 435-2131  [3]. Offers service to/from Angel Island State Park. Adults $13.50 round-trip, seniors $13.50 round-trip, children $11.50 round-trip, small children (ages 3 – 5) $3.50 round-trip.

So if I am in Tiburon where to stay/eat??

Guayama’s, great water views and excellent food.  Can’t be beat.

Guaymas Restaurant
5 Main Street
Tiburon, CA 94920

Phone: (415) 435-6300
Fax: (415) 435-6802

Tiburon has hotels and nice B&Bs.

The Water’s Edge is another small hotel in Tiburon , perched on a historic dock.  Continental breakfast, fireplace in your room, seagulls (!!), free wine & cheese in the afternoon.

No matter where you stay or eat, you will enjoy San Francisco and the Bay area.  go fly a kite!!!



Owls in Golden Gate Park, photography & blog

When I was growing up we had aunts and uncles living in San Francisco and spent a lot of time in the park as our favorite aunt lived on 19th Avenue, nearby the southern side of Golden Gate, in the Sunset area (a beautiful part of town).

I was NEVER lucky enough to get to see a family of owls there.

This link  blesses us with a ton of photos of the family of owls, plus some related photos of squirrels etc.  But the story & the blog writings are just as good as the pictures.

Here is the link to Kitundu’s homepage as the site is continually updated.  I try to visit often.  I recommend subscribing to this blog and receiving the email updates when there is a new post.  The photos are stunning and the writing is superb.

His photos of the African animals on his trip back to Tanzania are just incredible.  Zebras, big cats, hippos, giraffes and Maasai….beautiful!

Thank you Walter Kitundu and your Bird Light Wind blog & photography.  Most excellent!!

California Dreamin’: Places to Visit in California

Most of you live in places I’ll never get to experience.  That’s a shame because I enjoy visiting new places,  new people, food, sites, sounds and…..

In Cali we are fortunate to be blessed with such diversity of people and places that it is almost hard to describe, If you have not yet been to California, if you are planning to come or even if you just dream of coming to see us, here are some places in California that you just cannot afford to miss.

San Francisco, North Beach, Chinatown, The Golden Gate Bridge and others

You can walk or bike across the bridge it gives you an incredible activity and amazing sites.

Golden Gate Bridge

Isn’t she beautiful?

I have a post about the great San Francisco cable cars here.  Check it out!

Monterey, Pebble Beach, Monterey Bay Aquarium, 17 Mile Drive  and others

I miss the Monterey area.  One of the spiritual sites in California

The Aquarium is amazing but the bay is even more so…..

Kelp Exhibit, Monterey Bay Aquarium Photos

See my post specific to Monterey, the bay & peninsula and the aquarium here.

The Devils Postpile National Monument

Make sure you check my post on this wonderous site.  The Postpile is hard to describe in a few sentences.  Stunning.  Shocking.  Curious.  A beautiful area in the high Sierras.  Don’t miss it.

Lake Tahoe

it is quite a site to come over the mountain and see this sparkling jewel in the valley below.