Friday, June 10, 2011

Our Own Backyard

OK, so technically, San Francisco is not in my backyard. However, I consider anything within a 2 hour drive to be in my backyard. Since we aren't planning a real vacation this year, we plan on doing day trips so we can show the boys all of the fun stuff that's close to home. It's easy to forget all of the cool stuff that's located in our home state.

The boys were out of school last week and my youngest son doesn't start summer school until next week; so, this week was entirely free. We decided to spend the day in San Francisco. Although I grew up in the Bay Area, I had never walked across the Golden Gate Bridge. I figured that now was as good a time as any and I could drag the kids along so they wouldn't have to wait until they were in their 40s to do this. As is typical for San Francisco, it was chilly and foggy, but what a rush it was to walk on that bridge! There were of course some somber reminders that some people come to this famous bridge in a pit of despair: there were phones with a direct line to suicide prevention counselors if anyone wanted to talk before making a final decision. Fortunately, and I don't want to sound insensitive, my oldest son did not notice these as he was too enthralled with the bridge.

We left the bridge and headed toward the famous tourist trap, the ever-kitschy Fisherman's Wharf. Lunch was at an Italian seafood restaurant called Cioppino's. My husband had the cioppino and I had what else, fish and chips. The kids had the usual pasta and grilled cheese from the kids' menu. After lunch, we headed to Ghirardelli Square for some chocolate. I'm partial to See's Candies, but Ghirardelli makes some pretty good chocolate bars. Afterwards, we went to the Hyde St. Pier, which is part of the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. There was a small fee to tour the ships, and as my husband went to pay he noticed a sign advertising the different passes to the national parks. One of them is the Access Pass, which we got last year at Yosemite for our youngest son. Having this pass allows the card holder and up to four adults to gain admission to any national park for free. The downside, is that you have to go to your nearest national park to get one. To me, it's worth it. If you have a special needs child and you want to enjoy visiting our fabulous national parks, I recommend that you pick one up. All in all, a great day in the city by the Bay.

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