One of the highlights of my column is to share with you some ideas on where to go for a day with family. As a native I have visited many such sites and love to share them with you. I will leave out some of the less glorious ideas like being threatened by a nut ball who threatened to stab my tires while on a mushroom hunt. I will also leave out traversing a small drainage from Highway One down to the beach at Horseshoe Cove. Near the bottom the little stream crosses a run of solid blue shale, it grows a layer of moss there. I stepped on the moss part one time and awoke with a headache and a chipped tooth. Let’s hope you have more sense in your head than myself, since I have knocked out what little I had to start with. Most kids are done with school and looking for summer fun. As a boy I always looked forward to camping, usually a week or so during the summer. I still love to camp and stay in hotels, motels and condos. For a trip longer than a few days I prefer a condo, there I can prepare meals, usually better than the food in a restaurant. In a hotel it seems so much time is devoted to getting ready to go out, getting there, waiting to be seated, then ordering, then waiting for the food, then paying, then going back to the hotel room. I’m good for two or three days of that and ‘Get me out of here!’ Ideally to a nice condo on a beach or other spot, where the ocean is at my doorstep or the forest is the backyard.
Day trips for the family are a part of what life is all about, sharing quality time with your children. Now I take the grandkids or someone one close to me on day trips. One of my favorites for the little ones is riding the ferry from Larkspur to the Ferry Building in the city. China Town, Union Square or Fisherman’s Wharf are all close by. I try to avoid tourist traps like Pier 39 and some of the many “commercial” attractions near the waterfront. For my granddaughters a ferry ride, lunch and the ride back is worth the whole day. I get senior and kid rates so it is affordable. If you go be sure to go during the weekday and between the commute hours. You want to be back in Larkspur by three or wait until after six. The City if full of affordable and fun, family day trips. In Golden Gate Park the mall, The Music Concourse, with the DeYoung, the Hall of Science and the Japanese Tea Garden are all good bets. There is ample space for a picnic on the lawn all through the park or a short walk from most any spot there. Another good bet, although a bit more money, is the San Francisco Zoo. One spot I’m hot to explore is the new Presidio, it stretches from Fort Baker along the waterfront and under the bridge, you’ll find a gem there, Fort Point, at the base of the South Tower, a civil war age structure with giant cannon and a self-guided tour. The Presidio follows the waterfront to within a nine iron of Fisherman’s Wharf. Here is the good part, it’s free, parking is free, the double shuttle is free, one loop goes south, the other along the waterfront with frequent stops, you can get off and on at any time. This has been available for years, don’t know how I missed it. I’m always amazed at how many people have not walked across the Golden Gate Bridge. I took my kid, now forty-something and mother to my grandson, to the Monet exhibit at the Legion of Honor, another “cheap date” to visit. On the way home she told me she had never walked across like the other two million people a year. I wonder where I slipped up, again?
Here are a few sites for you to explore for details:
Presidio.gov and the Presidio Trust at http://www.presidio.gov/presidio-trust/
Click on Transportation and the PresidioG.o it makes this visit a real bargain, low stress and easy peasy.
Bill Hanson is a Sonoma County native and a lifelong sportsman. He is the former president of the Sonoma County Mycological Association. Look for his column in The Community Voice each week.