Today my husband and I went to San Francisco for the day. We wandered around Fisherman's Wharf, Ghiradelli Square, The Cannery at Del Monte Square, Hyde Street Pier and all over the nearby area. Although we go to San Francisco quite a bit, we saw quite a few things that we had never discovered before. I think we walked all around the area for about 7 hours or so.
We had lunch at the Boudin Bakery in Fisherman's Wharf. They have been making the traditional French bread since 1949. Boudin is also San Francisco's oldest continuously running company. They say that a portion of the original mother dough still starts each and every sourdough loaf they make. So in addition to being famous for their bread San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf is also known for it's clam chowder. So of course we had to order the bread bowl that is filled with clam chowder so we could enjoy both of their specialties. Since the weather wasn't too cool we decided to pick a table outside and we enjoyed our lunch watching the people pass by and listening to some street musicians perform.
We then walked to The Cannery at Del Monte Square. This is where the Del Monte Corporation used to actually can their products. The cannery was built in 1907 and was once the largest peach cannery in the world. It has been closed for many years and is now a vibrant waterfront marketplace featuring one-of-a-kind shops, restaurants, offices, live entertainment, and a world-class jazz club. There is just about something to suit everyone's taste there.
Just a little bit farther is Ghiradelli Square. There are some really nice specialty shops, restaurants, wine bars and of course the famous Ghirardelli Chocolate Shop which the entire area is named for. They still make some of the chocolate there and you can watch the machinery process the chocolate while you sit there and indulge in either some of their decadent chocolates or what I prefer, a delicious ice cream sundae made to order with your favorite ingredients. I love their caramel sauce so I had a Hot Caramel Sundae and my husband had a Hot Fudge Banana Sundae. Yummy!
After leaving there we walked down just a little bit towards the water to where there is the cable car turnarounds. The lines were pretty long with people patiently waiting their turn to go for a ride on the cable cars. I love to look at them and listen to the sounds they make and their bells ringing. We decided not to ride them this time and just continued walking down towards the water back towards Fisherman's Wharf.
We got a pretty good view of the bay with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background. It was nice and clear today without the famous fog that San Francisco is know for so you could see the bridge pretty well today.
We then walked over to the Hyde Street Pier where the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park is located. I had never before ventured that way so I didn't know for sure what exactly there was. It is part of the California Parks Program and there are several different types of boats and houses on display there. I believe there was a total of 7 boats that you could tour and many more that were on display there.
They had some of the tall mast ships that they have totally restored. In addition to going on board and viewing them you can sign up for a real adventure. You can work on one of the boats for the day and also stay the night just like you would have back in that period of time if you were a sailor on a ship.
They had several house boat type dwellings that you could tour also. They were built around 1905 and were used for vacation homes on the bay for some of the wealthier San Franciscans. Some of theses were moored in Sausilito, which is right across the bay, in addition to some other nearby places. They typically had two bedrooms, a front living area, a dining room, a kitchen and a bathroom. I think they would be fun to spend the summer living on the water.
There was quite a few workshops on the pier also where they were restoring more of the boats. I think they said they had over 100 different types of boats that they own and rotate on display. They even have programs where you learn the craft and they teach you how to restore the boats or you can volunteer your time to be a docent if you are already knowledgeable about the subject.
At the end of the pier we had a really clear view of Alcatraz Island , or "The Rock" , which is where the famous prison was once located at. The prison closed in 1963 after 29 years of operation and in 1972 it became part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Visitors can take a ferry ride the 1.5 miles to the island for tours.
We had quite a nice trip today to the city by the bay. I'm so glad that we are within an hour or so drive to San Francisco. It makes it possible to visit quite often and I don't think I'll ever get tired of finding some of it's hidden gems like we did today.