Monday, May 2, 2016

San Francisco November 2015

A couple of weeks after returning from Bar Harbor (see previous post), cousin Deanna and I took a little 3 day trip to San Francisco.  She was given a membership in World Ventures Travel Club and this was her reasonably priced Welcome Trip. We stayed right downtown at Union Square ...Parc 55...very nice hotel with an elaborate breakfast buffet....thankfully included in our package.  Breakfast was served in their Cable 55 restaurant and such a lovely place to begin the day with the sun beginning to shine and the City beginning to awaken.  (I always remind to click on the photos to enlarge)

We arrived on Friday early morning and made the decision to rent a car at the airport, keep it all day, then return it that evening 3 blocks from our hotel....cheaper than alternative ways to get downtown.  We used that day to drive to Sausalito for lunch, stopping at Fort Baker (part of the National Park Service) to take photos.



Going away from the City, make an immediate right at the end of the bridge and take the road down to Fort Baker 

Sausalito was just a hop-skip-and-a-jump from Fort Baker and we were delighted to find Scoma's...famous at Fisherman's water's edge. Food was great! Deanna had the halibut and I had the clam chowder.

After Sausalito and a revisit to Fort Baker, it was back to the find dinner: Trader Joe's for wine and olive bread...Costco for Triple Cream Brie.  I was driving and I can assure you finding both in DOWNTOWN San Fran was not easy.  Even though Google gave good directions, if we didn't SEE it, the streets dictated work-arounds.  We travel on a retiree budget, so no matter where we are, dinner is usually a good wine, a loaf of great bread and a buttery brie. 

With 'dinner' in hand, headed toward our hotel to drop off our purchases and then return the car with a short walk back to the hotel.

On Saturday, our package included a trip to Sonoma wine area...much less crowded than Napa.  We boarded a bus early to begin the ride.  At this point, I should say that bus tours are never my I've told my travelin' friends..."I don't want to see the world through the glass windows of a bus"..but sometime it's the way one has to do things.  The two photos below are my attempts to capture what we were passing at 45

Sausalito and North of there

There were two wineries.  I have no recollection of the name of the first, but the grounds were quite nice....................

 wine.....not so much :(   

Then we went to the village of Sonoma.  The wine tasting was in a store front, but it was given in a delightful and fun way...with pretty good wine. However, it was Sonoma and it's 1846 Plaza that captured my heart.

After a sandwich at the Sonoma Cheese Factory,
I wandered off alone to begin on one side and walk completely around the Plaza to take photos of the entire 4  blocks.

Too soon it was time to get back on the bus and head back to the City.  Deanna and I did one of my favorite things and took a walk to see the City at night,  with the lights sparkling, fewer people and some store still open.

Macy's theme this year was Peanuts, I guess, since we saw the same on our Thanksgiving trip to NYC

the photo on the left 
was just across the
street from our 

Been a long day and olve bread, brie and wine were awaiting us in our room.  :) :)

Sunday morning and our plans included the Embarcadero and Fisherman's Wharf.  However, MY plan was to have a whole Dungeness crab at a sidewalk table on Fisherman's Wharf...and to see something at the end of the day that neither of us had been to before ;-)

                                        The Embarcadero....

Next up Fisherman's Wharf!
....and I did find my whole Dungeness crab

We left in search of a bus and, after asking several folks, we determined the bus number for us to take  to the Museum of the Palace of Fine ground for both of us.   I now have an app called Moovit, which can give you bus information for any city.  also San Fran has a phone number you can call  415-673-6864  and if  you tell them where you intend to go, they will give you a plan with bus numbers.  The latter info came from a very nice bus driver.  :)

We were certainly glad we didn't give up on our quest....the photos below will show you why.  The night was closing in and we didn't have as much time as we wanted, but it was soooo worth the trip.

        If ever you are in San Francisco, don't miss this amazing site.

Caught the bus back to Union Square before it was dark....pleased with our day.  On the way into the hotel, we made arrangements for someone to pick us up at 4 a.m. with SFO as our destination.

When we got back to the room, I was hungry but Deanna was not.  Looked on my phone for something close and just across the street, in the Winfield, was an Italian place with great reviews so that sounded good for ending my day.

Cupola Pizzeria, 
4th Floor, Westfield San Francisco Centre


             Ordered the Carne....the fior de latte was   like Fresh Mozzarella.

Ordered a glass of
beni di batasiolo barbera d'alba, 
piedmont 2012.   In October 2014 we had stayed at a turisimo in Piedmont just outside of Alba where there were hills covered by vineyards as far as the eye could see.  That memory made the wine taste even better.

It paid off to get on the early plane out  First Class and had a terrific onboard breakfast of French toast with fruit compote..


Saturday, January 30, 2016

Bar Harbor, Maine in it's Fall Spendor - October 31-November 3, 2015

I missed doing any traveling while I was recovering from foot surgery April through June; then I began a new part-time job so by Fall I was ready to go.  

My cousin, Deanna, my BFF Judy and myself began discussing where we could go.....We had all been to Bar Harbor at various times and decided it would be a good trip together. Since I'm the main trip planner, I began with the 'leaf peeper' site for Maine.  We decided on a date when the entire State was at it's peak...except for the crescent-shaped coastline which encompassed Bar Harbor...with a projection date for it's peak. Love those leaf-peeper sites!

Our plan was to fly to Bangor, rent a car and drive to Bar Harbor. However, when we got to Dallas the flight to Philly was 2 hours late...prohibiting us from catching our plane to Bangor.  We are all tenacious women, so we looked at the 'boards' to see what flight we might get going North.....Deanna pointed out one to Boston and we were able to get on it.  Hooray! However, the car was in Bangor but since I work for a major car rental company, I explained our plight and we left with a car and headed up I-95.
So glad it worked out that way...beautiful scenery along the highway.  First stop was the  Welcome Center  in Seabrook, New Hampshire.  

It was dark by the time we reached Bar Harbor and were ready to get a good night’s rest and be ready for a full day ahead. In the morning we were please to find our view from the balcony.

This photo was snapped by Deanna
This was our lodging...........Atlantic Oceanside Hotel.... and we were grateful to be paying 'low season' pricing. They have 4 buildings and this was their ocean view building. We'd like to return in 'high season' but we laughingly said we'd have to bring 3 more friends to afford it. LOL LOL The rooms in that building were fabulous!

Then we drove out to Acadia National Park and, despite the light rain, we found it dressed in its finest color. You'll want to 'click-to-enlarge' on these :)

The Park was pretty empty so we could spend as much time as we wanted... taking pictures and videos and just walking around.  We met two girls who were Flight Attendants for Southwest and a couple our age from Fort Worth, TX....who had snagged a one day sale from AA for $80.00 RT tickets to Boston then drove up, as we had done.

My favorite lobster pound, Thurston's (at Southwest Harbor), was closed for the were all other 'pounds', but we were on a mission to eat lobster.  Asked someone coming out of a tavern where we could find a good lobster roll and he said they had really good ones in the the heck....we'd try it.  It was The Dog and Pony Tavern and Restaurant, where we enjoyed good lobster rolls with minimum mayonnaise and lots of lobster and watched almost all of the Cowboys 1st quarter.  This link and the one below has a nice photo gallery.

The next morning we spent our time in the center of the pretty village.  Again, many of the shops were closed for the season, but we still enjoyed visiting those open and once again had fabulous lobster rolls at Geddy's...this time the rolls were fill with warm lobster (much of it claw meat) and they were dressed with warm butter.  Yummo!!!  

        Bar Harbor       

Time was soon gone and we had to head to the airport in Bangor. 

Just one more thing on our list......Paul Bunyan ......while there are several in THE U.S.A., Bangor claims theirs to be the largest.....we decide.   LOL

Had a short but great trip!  If you've never visited Bar Harbor, I hope this encourages you to add on your list of places to go.      "TRAVEL ON............"