West Coast Adventures

With stories from hikes in Yosemite National Park, towering redwoods in the Santa Cruz Mountains, and bike rides along the San Francisco Bay, the only place I can start to describe the incredible experiences of this past month without getting overwhelmed is, well, the beginning.

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My first day in San Francisco awoke with clear skies and a crisp breeze from the Bay. The crisp breeze was normal, the clear sky, I would soon find, was not. If you’ve ever heard the Mark Twain quote, “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco” then you should know that he isn’t too far from the truth. Luckily, I must have brought the clear skies with me from the East Coast. On a typical morning, big poofs of fog roll in from the hills to hang above the city until it (sometimes) evaporates with the mid-afternoon sun.

My sister, her husband and I took off on bikes from their apartment in The Mission. Riding in the bike lane next to traffic cluttered streets, I tried to sneak glances at the city around me. Murals were canvased over brick walls on the facades of cafes and bookstores. Bending around into narrow streets the complex designs garnished with bright colors continued, making every alleyway an art gallery. The clicking notes from the spokes on my bicycle and my hair blowing in the wind were the only things trailing behind as I looked forward to the next skyscraper, the next park, the next eccentrically dressed local on the sidewalk (there were many).

Locally grown avocados.  You can't get these in New England!

Locally grown avocados. You can’t get these in New England!

Finally, we reached our first destination: The Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market. Located right on Embarcadero, the street was lined with palm trees and stretched out onto the sun-streaked Bay. The sidewalks were packed. Street performers, families with overflowing bags of vegetables, large stands for local farmers to showcase what’s in season. Looking around there were more varieties of vegetables and fruits than I even knew existed.

Buckets of dried lavender.

Buckets of dried lavender.

Farm fresh strawberries.

Farm fresh strawberries.

The Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market is widely known as one of the best farmers’ markets in the country. It’s typical to see San Francisco’s top farmers, artisans, and chefs behind one of the stands preparing or selling something delicious. Almost everything you’ll see is grown or made locally and certified organic.

Finding a seat on a bench right by the water, I got my first glimpse of the Bay Bridge while eating breakfast.

The Bay Bridge.

The Bay Bridge.

We continued to ride our bike down Embarcadero, passing by busy tourist locations like Pier 39 and sleek sailing boats for America’s Cup 2013 that would be taking place in San Francisco this year. The streets were lined with restaurants ranging from Ethiopian to Thai to anything else you can think of.

Finally, we hit the quintessential landmark of San Francisco: The Golden Gate Bridge. It stretched across the Bay, etching the blue sky with its deep red steel. We decided to cross it and get a closer look. Light wisps of fog hung between the suspension cables above and water trailed in from the Pacific glistening below.

This is just my first day with a few of the amazing things I’ve gotten to see and do, I will be posting more soon!

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