Saturday, August 6, 2011

Hitting It Just Right

Pier 39 Plaza

Do you ever have a day when everything seems close to perfect? When everything looks and is exceptionally beautiful. The blues are bluer the reds are deeper and everything seems right with the world? This is a day when everything just clicks and is filled with serendipity. We had one a few weeks back and I want to share some of it with you.

Usually when we go over to the City we have discussed in advance what we might like to do that day. Well this particular day this discussion was taking place as we were heading towards the bridge. Jim had packed our lunch as he always does for these outings (I do it on our work days) and we had jackets that is all we really needed for sure. Having fun over there pretty much takes care of itself. As we crested the hill coming out of the tunnel and could see the City in the distance, we felt that little rush of excitement that we always do. It is always an adventure regardless of the weather, but the sun opens up so many more possibilities.

I love having the iPhone with us as we can then Google different places, put an address right into the GPS and drive right to it. For most places in the City we don't need too, but it is nice when we do. There was one place we had always wanted to go but we had never been, The Painted Ladies! So we added that to the agenda. We decided to start out going to Pier 39 first thing. We hadn't been there in years and years and it is fun to see what the tourists do sometime.

It is funny how sometimes in the City you hit all different weather pockets within just a small geographic area. That is how it was this particular day. When we got over there it was over cast and windy. Windy is good as it will then blow things around and the fog burns off faster.

The boardwalk and shops at Pier 39.

The Carousel

We like to go early to get good parking. We just strolled around and checked it out. We tried to remember where a restaurant we loved years ago used to be. Time changes most things it seems. We never did figure it out. It is a great view in all directions and we enjoyed a brief visit. Most shops were open but we were just enjoying being outside.

Check out the bird in flight above the sign

We walked down to Fisherman's Wharf, probably my least favorite place in the City, but even it looked better on this particular day. The fog was burning off a little and it was mostly locals out and not crowded. Loved that part. The Secret Society of Retired Persons was highly represented.

Our next stop was the Ocean Beach.

This is the beach most people think of in San Francisco. And this is what it normally looks like. Just tone on tone light blues, whites and grays with tone on tone browns and sandy colors on the beach. It is not really much of a swimming beach because it is normally cold, has a strong under tow, etc. You typically see people walking or running their dogs, laying out hoping for a tan and flying kites on the warmer, sunnier days. On the colder days you see bonfires. This is a view from the south side of The Cliff House.

We had never been up to the The Cliff House to explore.

This is quite astonishing since we lived in the City for two years and have visited hundreds of times. We figured out that it was because when we lived here it was closed for renovation after a fire. So we just never came here. It is also one of the most famous restaurants in the City so we never would have been able to afford coming here in our early years anyway. The area always looked so neglected, abandoned and almost forlorn. Since then things have changed considerably. We checked out a menu while here and it is pricey but doable for a special occasion. Putting it on our bucket list now for sure. Although I doubt we'll ever hit a day with more beautiful views than that day.

It doesn't look that remarkable from the shore side but the back side is all glass and the views of the ocean are panoramic and amazing. So just to show you the difference a few hundred yards can make, check out the water below. Just on the other side of the restaurant from Ocean Beach we saw this! The above picture of Ocean Beach and these were taken only minutes apart.

We have never seen the ocean looking so beautiful. Honestly we were spellbound. The variety of colors took our breath away. Every shade of blue and green and sea foam and white caps. And the water was so clear. We didn't want to tear ourselves away to leave. So we stayed a long time just looking out to sea and marveling at the beauty of God's handiwork.

These photos were taken on my phone and have not been altered in any way. This was ever more gorgeous in person of course. The contrast between the south side of the building and the north side was shocking.

Finally we left and went to find The Painted Ladies. For years I had wanted to see them after taking a design class and discovering that there are people that have the job I would have loved! They are colorists. What they do is select the paint for old Victorian homes. They specialize in designing the color palette for the exteriors and blending and contrasting the paints for moldings and gingerbread as well as the base colors. It is truly a work of art. Here is one phone shot. We have better ones that are imprisoned in our camera right now that is having difficulty sending them to our computer. Help is on the way.

Here they are! You have to be on the hill of Alamo Square to get the best view. Driving past them as we have before does not reveal what they actually look like nor do you even know these are The Painted Ladies. You have to stand back to see them. Yet another lesson on how important perspective really is. They are six pretty Victorian houses in a row and world famous. I did not know that they where crowned with this incredible view of the skyscape looking north east. It was a thrilling discovery to find them and see them in person finally. So two brand new places that revealed some awesome aspects of our City.

Our lunch venue

All that took a while and it was way past lunch time. We decided to go to the Marina and look out over the water with our camping gear. This is my best idea of camping. Pop open your roof top carried, take out your table and chairs, sit wherever you want and just enjoy! It looks kind of hokey but we don't care. In the City you are free to be just who you want to be. No one even notices. I love that anonymity of being there. It was such a fun and relaxing day and cost us only the money to cross over the bridge. $6.00.

One of my points in sharing these day trips is to show that you can find fun and wonderful things to do with your spouse that don't cost a lot. And when that is the case, all you need is the desire and the time. Once you find something you love doing together or with a friend if you are single, it opens so many opportunities for strengthening your relationship and enhancing your life.

Retirement doesn't have to look like staying in your PJs all day and hanging out in the rocking chair near the big screen. The world is big and fascinating and getting better all the time when you find some wholesome, worthwhile and fun things to do. And when you couple that with serving others in a meaningful way~you are there! Every day is a gift from God and you get to write the script. Make it joyful!

If you ever want to see some of the photos we have taken of the City click here. This photo blog features San Francisco exclusively. No narrative, just photos and captions.


Sister Susie said...

You mentioned rain; I went to check my mail yesterday. There was not a cloud in sight, but there were raindrops coming down on my new hair-do! Thank goodness I had enough hairspray that the raindrops rolled off, lol! Coming back I saw a raincloud in the distance, but there had to have been a upper level wind to blow rain that far!?!

For real? I wonder if the "Bubba Gump Shrimp Co." has anything to do with the actors in the movie?

The ocean front beach reminds me of a cloudy day I was at Daytona Beach. I really like the cloudy, windy days! It's not so hot!

The houses are really cute, but I don't think I'd like to live that close to others! I think I'd stay on my three acres.

It looks really nice where you had your lunch. Was it cool there (Jim in his jacket) or was Jim just wanting to look cool, lol!

Love to you and yours,

Janet said...


What beautiful pictures. We have been to San Francisco once and it was quite a trip. We loved the Wharf and also stayed downtown.
I loved that you carry a little table and chairs with you and pack your lunch. Everything is so expensive and that is a great tip.

Have a great week!
Janet Cowan