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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

California Coast Road Trip - November 2012 - San Francisco

Heather and I recently completed a week-long road trip. While everyone else was out shopping on the Friday following Thanksgiving, we drove from San Diego to San Francisco, spent four nights there, and then took three full days to drive back down the California coast to San Diego. I'll put up pictures from the trip in multiple blog posts, with links at the bottom of each to the full galleries.

We arrived in downtown San Francisco just about an hour before the lighting of the big Macy 's Christmas Tree in Union Square. Apparently this is quite an event, drawing massive crowds, and causing the closure of several street in the immediate area - including the one right in front of our hotel. Of course, we didn't know any of that until we got to about two blocks from the hotel, and then spent the next 45 minutes just trying to get into a parking garage so that we could walk over to the hotel.

It was quite the festive atmosphere in Union Square, but since we were already running late for dinner at my cousin's house, we decided to wait until Saturday night to go check it out. There were a lot of people out on Saturday, all having a great time. 

We had three full days to wander around San Francisco, and three days of particularly nice weather too. Along the way we met up with some family, had some great meals, got in some long walks around town, and spent a fair amount of time exploring north of the City, going as far as Point Reyes.

In addition to all of the great window displays that you find, especially this time of year, we also found some interesting views just looking into restaurant windows, such as this water bottle I found in the window at Cafe de la Presse.

By the way, Cafe de la Presse has great almond and chocolate croissants, and very good coffee.

On Sunday we spent most of the day in Golden Gate Park. Our original plan was to visit both the DeYoung Museum and the Science Museum, but it was just too nice of a day to spend it indoors, so we opted for the Japanese Tea Garden and Botanical Garden instead. I'll put up a separate post with those pictures. In the late afternoon we drove over to the Legion of Honor, which is someplace that I had not been to before. The fog was rolling in pretty thick when we got there, which made for some interesting photos. Construction of the California Palace of the Legion of Honor was completed in 1924, as a museum dedicated to the memory of Californians who had lost their lives in France during World War I.

This statue of The Thinker gets a lot of attention, and people seem to like posing in front of it.

Heather waited patiently while I took a bunch of pictures.

We had dinner one evening at an old favorite, Scala's Bistro, located on Powell Street almost directly across the street from our hotel, the Chancellor. We've always eaten well at Scala's, and try to get there at least once on every trip to San Francisco. 

This mini Boston Cream dessert was quite good.

Scala's Bistro is part of the Sir Francis Drake Hotel, which, like just about everyplace else, was heavily decorated for the holidays.

For close to 15 years now our first choice of hotels in San Francisco has been the Chancellor Hotel. It's an older building, and from what I've been told it was one of the tallest in the City when it was constructed in 1914. The rooms are comfortable, always spotlessly clean, and the staff and management are great. This hotel has much more character than any of the newer, more modern properties, and we've always enjoyed our stays there. You can't beat the location too, plus there is a duck in every bathroom. (I've put up a separate blog post about the ducks.)

Click here for more images from around San Francisco taken during our November 2012 California Coast Road Trip.

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San Diego, California, United States
About me . . . When I'm not working I like to be out exploring and photographing. I do this blog just for fun, and to be able to share these images with friends. I hope you enjoy viewing these images as much as I enjoyed creating them.

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All of the content and images on this site (c) Frank B. Baiamonte. If you would like to use any of these images please contact me via email at to discuss terms of usage. Note that images from the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park are not available for commercial usage. You can also see more on my Instagram page @frankbaiamonte.

Header image: Cibola National Wildlife Refuge, Cibola, Arizona. End image: Downtown San Diego, California skyline from Coronado Island. Profile picture: Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho, by Heather Baiamonte.