Friday, November 22, 2013

Highway 49--Gold Rush Country: Mariposa

     Named for the butterflies that are seen in abundance here, Mariposa county comprised 1/5 of the state when California became a state in 1850. Today the county has only 18,000 residents and no traffic lights.  The compact town of Mariposa itself has a Historic Downtown District with a raised sidewalk and wall-to-wall vintage buildings holding a variety of unique shops and restaurants.  Described as “above the fog, below the snow,” the town gets approximately 300 days per year of sunshine and makes a good jumping-off spot for visiting Yosemite.  
     While here, stop in at the Mariposa County
Courthouse.  Operating within a Greek Revival-style  building, it is the oldest continually operated courthouse west of the Rockies--since 1854.  You are welcome to visit the working courtroom upstairs. 

More things to do in Mariposa. 

Things to do in Yosemite area.


More things to do in Gold Rush Country. 
 
Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular getaways.

images c2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

San Francisco: Market & Rye

Market & Rye  300 De Haro St./16th St., Potrero District, (415) 252-7455.  Br-L-early D  until 7 pm daily; $.  No reservations.  Though this spot can be very quiet at dinner, it rocks for brunch and lunch.  Decor includes aconference table previously owned by George Lucas that is repurposed as a communal table and a black-board wall filled with celebrity-chef autographs.  Board games, children’s toys, and a large TV provide entertainment.  The menu includes pre-packaged salads such as crunchy Brussels sprouts, pickled yellow beets, and roasted cauliflower, but sandwiches are the mainstay.  The most popular is probably the messy, crispy
Cornflake Crusted Fried Chicken, but currently a Mojo Pulled Pork and a spicy Sriracha Roasted Chicken Salad are holding their own.  They all go particularly well with an icy-cold beer—the coldest I’ve had since years ago in Puerto Vallarta, where it was really, really cold!  Brunch items include pumpkin pancakes, a fried egg sandwich, housemade churros, and a bottomless Mimosa.  A giant cinnamon bun is available until they run out and reflects the season (now it’s pumpkin).  Unfortunately, the legendary mac & cheese grilled cheese sandwich I’ve only heard about is currently off the menu.

Market and Rye on Urbanspoon

More things to do in San Francisco.

Way more things to do in San Francisco. 

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular getaways.

images c2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Monday, November 18, 2013

San Francisco: Exploratorium

update/p.27

As we walked here along the waterfront during our Staycation, we passed throngs of people strolling along the wide sidewalks.  Read this first.

Exploratorium  Pier 15, The Embarcadero.  Fee.  Now moved from the Palace of Fine Arts into its new $300 million reconstructed pier home over the bay, this famous museum has three times more space to present a combination of play and learning that is as much fun for adults as it is for kids.  It adds up to more than 150 new interactive exhibits among the total of more than 600.  I love that there are free exhibits outside the entrance, allowing you to get a taste for what is inside, because entry is an investment.  I was seduced outside by the rickety Rickshaw Obscura, which really reeled as I climbed in.  I have only found two other camera obscuras in California and do have an interest in “collecting” experiences with these old-time pinhole cameras that allow you to sit in the dark and view what is going on outside.  I was reeled in by teenage “Explainer” Rhonda Gaynor (they are found throughout, wearing easy-to-see orange vests and wandering the premises ready to assist).  Inside, the gigantic pier setting is broken into smaller sections and is abuzz with excitement. I thought the Sweepers Clock was very clever and fun to watch:



and I stuck around to watch a giant Mexican pendulum clock strike noon, but was hugely disappointed by just a few weak dongs:


when I was expecting this: 



I recommend walking down the museum’s center, then returning via the corridor down the south side.  A dissection demonstration is usually occuring at the bay end—perhaps a cow’s eye or,  if you’re lucky, a flower—and don’t miss the upstairs gallery at that end for a dead-on view of Treasure Island and the bay, not to mention another small camera obscura.  I appreciated the rocking chair gallery found at the beginning of my trek back. 
     The Tactile Dome is a geodesic dome with 13 chambers through which visitors walk, crawl, slide, climb, and tumble in complete darkness using only their sense of touch to guide them.  Participants must be age 7 or older, and reservations required ((415) 528-4444, select option 5).   The dome was designed and built in 1971 by August Coppola (father of actor Nicolas Cage and brother of film director Francis Ford Coppola).
     Seaglass restaurant consists of four cafeteria stations serving up sushi, pizza, tacos, and sandwiches plus wine, beer, and cocktails.

Nearby, you can dine at La Mar and at a plethora of options in the Ferry Building Marketplace.

More staycation. 

More things to do in San Francisco.

Way more things to do in San Francisco. 

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular getaways.

images and videos c2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Friday, November 15, 2013

San Francisco: Altered Barbie exhibit, at Shotwell 50 Gallery

updated blog post

Altered Barbie exhibit   At Shotwell 50 Gallery, 50 Shotwell St./14th St., Mission District, (415) 240-2202.  Free, but donations welcome, including donations of used and new Barbies and Kens and accessories.  Don’t miss this exhibition of clever Barbie art, contributed to by artists who like to have fun.  Displayed against black fabric walls in this converted garage space located on a mostly residential side street, the clever, campy art pops out.  Are you ready for Barbie as a tarantula, or a toasted Barbie lounging in a toaster?  The show does include some x-rated interpretations, so is not appropriate for children.  A few related crafty items are for sale, and special events include a make-your-own altered Barbie workshop. Runs through Sunday, November 17, 2013. 

More things to do in San Francisco

Way more things to do in San Francisco. 

More art galleries. 

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular getaways.

image and videos c2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers
spider Barbie by Lavonne Sallee

"Beheaded Because" and "Working Her Way Through College"by John Franko





Wednesday, November 13, 2013

San Francisco: Keane Eyes Gallery


updated December 31, 2014


Read this first.
Keane Eyes Gallery  3040 Larkin St./Beach St., (415) 922-9309; www.keane-eyes.com.  By appt.


Located across from Ghirardelli Square, this expansive gallery is devoted to the work of artist Margaret Keane.  Well-known for her paintings of children and animals with big round eyes, she can make even a bull dog look cute.  Prices range from $35 for a poster to $850 for a limited-edition print to original paintings beginning at $12,000 and rising to more than $185,000.  Back in the Beat era, her paintings hung at Enrico Banducci’s famous hungry I nightclub on Jackson Street and you could pick a painting up then for as little as $50.  "Big Eyes," directed by Tim Burton--who is a longtime collector of Keane paintings--and starring Amy Adams and Terence Stamp, tells more of the story. 


More staycation. 

More things to do in San Francisco

Way more things to do in San Francisco. 

More art galleries.

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular getaways.

image c2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Monday, November 11, 2013

San Francisco: Wipeout Bar & Grill

Read this first.

Wipeout Bar & Grill  On Per 39, lower level, (415) 986-5966.  B-L-D M-Sat.  No reservations.  Located near the pier entrance, this place gets busier as the day moves on.  It features a fire pit and large seating area outside, where you can watch the throngs go by while you chow down to surf music.  Choice items include garlic fries, onion rings, clam chowder, a bacon-guacamole California burger, and of course, tacos, burritos, and pizza.  All seafood on the menu is sustainable.  Many people stop to refresh on nachos and one of their signature 23-ounce cocktails.  We came for breakfast, when it is just beginning to warm up and so a lot quieter, and we sat inside amid the TV sports bar atmosphere.  My husband had the California Breakfast with eggs over easy, and though he prefers his potato wedges crisper, he cleaned his plate.  My chorizo-cheese scramble with sourdough toast was also tasty, and portions were substantial enough to see us through to dinner.

Wipeout Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

More staycation. 

More things to do in San Francisco

Way more things to do in San Francisco. 

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular getaways.

images c2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Friday, November 8, 2013

San Francisco: see the sea lions at Pier 39

update/p.40

Read this first.
I'm always amazed by the throngs of tourists flocking to Pier 39, and the only time I really "get it" is when I am actually there.  Everyone is having a good time, and the festive atmosphere is catching.  And then there are those spectacular sea lions basking, barking, and belching on the floating docks. If you get lonely for them when you return home, you can always watch them in the video below or watch what the sea lions are doing right NOW via webcam.

More staycation. 

More things to do in San Francisco

Way more things to do in San Francisco. 

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular getaways.

video c2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers





Wednesday, November 6, 2013

San Francisco: Fog Harbor Fish House


Read this first.
On the first night of our Staycation, we dined at Pier 39.  After, we strolled the pier and checked out the shops.  My favorite is still the magic shop. 

Fog Harbor Fish House  On Level Two, (415) 421-2442.  L-D M-Sat; $$.  You can rest easy and fully enjoy your meal here because all seafood on the menu is sustainable.  Located near the pier entrance, the expansive white-tablecloth dining room offers bay views from most seats, which come in the form of window-side tables and raised booths (both regular and half-moon).  We started with a cup of clam chowder (also available in a sourdough bread bowl) and an iceberg lettuce wedge topped with Pt. Reyes blue cheese dressing.  Addictive Boudin sourdough bread is freshly baked in-house.  EntrĂ©e choices include everything from wild salmon to whole Dungeness crab to fresh lobster, but my heart said fried shrimp with thin french fries and a tangy coleslaw with horseradish dressing.  My husband bibbed up and dove into a massive seafood cioppino.  Steaks and pastas are also options.  Our drinks of choice were a yummy Alcatraz Escape cocktail for me (coconut and dark rums mixed with orange and pineapple juices and some grenadine) and
a tasty Oregon Pinot Noir from RouteStock for my mate.  Desserts are housemade and samples are brought out on a tray to contemplate—hmmm, should we have a heavy one (bread pudding topped with ice cream) or a light one (raspberry sorbet)?  And all the while we enjoyed watching the changing light of the evening view.

Fog Harbor Fish House on Urbanspoon

More staycation. 

More things to do in San Francisco

Way more things to do in San Francisco. 

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular getaways.

images c2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Monday, November 4, 2013

San Francisco: Radisson Hotel Fisherman’s Wharf


update/p.55

With this blog posting, I'm going to begin a Staycation itinerary for you locals (those of you from out of the area can call it an old-fashioned vacation!).  My husband and I did this quick escape without a suitcase.  We packed the bare essentials in our day bags, and on the first day took BART and an F-car historical trolley to Fisherman's Wharf.  The next day, we walked along The Embarcadero, stopping here and there, and returned home on BART.  Today, I will describe the lodging, and in future posts I will describe some restaurants and activities.  Stay tuned.

Radisson Hotel Fisherman’s Wharf  250 Beach St./Powell St., (877) 497-1212, (415) 392-6700.  4 stories; 355 rooms; $$-$$$+.  Heated pool; fitness room.  Self-parking $44.  Covering an entire block, this lodging has some rooms with bay and city views.  The pool is located within an enclosed courtyard, and a Johnny Rockets opens adjacent.  Guest rooms are decorated attractively with full-wall murals depicting the Golden Gate Bridge, and the sleep number bed underneath the mural lets you determine whether you have a soft or firm mattress.  Among the several hotel entrances and exits is one that allows you to exit into the beating heart of Fisherman’s Wharf.

More staycation.

More things to do in San Francisco

Way more things to do in San Francisco. 

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular getaways.

image c2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers