A short stay in the Bay

On February 1st, after a long January and a particularly busy week making moving plans, I boarded a plane with my two friends Shylo and Jakki en route to San Francisco.
I was in serious need of a vacation.

The first three nights of our trip were spent at my friend's mother's home in San Jose. (Thank you Becky for hosting us! We love you!) It was a sunny 70 degrees which was more than my fragile Portland skin could handle, but you best believe I spent every moment I could soaking up that vitamin d. On our first day there, we hiked at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, enjoyed a spa soak in Santa Cruz, had beers at Humble Sea brewing, and were treated to the local theater for an evening. As far as vacations go, it felt like we fit an entire trip into one day.

We spent Saturday wandering downtown San Jose and trying new brews at Hermitage and Uproar Brewing (we're beer people so that's what we seek out). We met a number of friendly people, enjoyed a ton of murals and street art, and pet a lot of strangers dogs. Somehow I made it all day without a sunburn. 

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Sunday the 4th we woke up early to get into the city and make the free entry time at the San Francisco Botanical Gardens. If you like plants, parks, history, photographic-opportunity, people watching, walking, or any combination of those things, I HIGHLY recommend the gardens. We arrived around 8:30 am and it was absolutely serene. Easy like Sunday morning in every way. After touring the gardens, we headed over to the Conservatory of Flowers, which is also located in Golden Gate Park. It's a nine dollar entry fee and worth every penny. The building itself is a San Francisco landmark, and the beauties inside are just as breathtaking. Unfortunately, I didn't get any photos of the outside of the Conservatory because the building is white and the harsh mid-day sun deterred me from getting a blog-worthy shot. 

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And of course, what kind of trip to the Bay would be complete without a stop at the Golden Gate Bridge?! We spent Sunday's sunset at the Golden Gate, reveling in the lack of crowds (thanks Superbowl Sunday!) I've seen this big red bridge a handful of times but it really never gets old. Every time I set foot on that bridge, I feel like the tiniest person on Earth. In a good way. I think we all need that kind of reminder every once in a while. 

After what felt like a perfect summer evening, we headed back towards our hostel, but not before having a brew at Mikkeller Bar. There we got to have some crispy fries, tasty beers, and a sneak peak at the secret bar downstairs that was unfortunately closed. The next day we explored the SF MOMA, the Painted Ladies, and the Haight-Ashbury district, all things you would normally find on a "list of must-do's" in San Fran. And yes, I'd agree they're all must-do's. I'll end with some photos of the Golden Gate Bridge for now, though, because I spent all of Monday with only my film camera, and I haven't got my film back yet.  Enjoy!

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SPECIAL SHOUT OUT to my amazing friend Shylo York for planning this trip for us, her wonderful mother Becky & her partner for hosting us, feeding us and driving us around, and Jakki Carter for coming along on the adventure with us and always providing chapstick and tylenol. 

TravelCourtney Bellefeuille