I was fortunate to get the opportunity to travel to San Francisco for work to attend VMworld. It was my first trip to the West coast and we had a great time. Jen has family living just north of San Francisco and visiting the area has been a trip we’ve been talking about since we got married. So, we decided to join the two events.
My conference ran from Monday, Aug 31 until Thursday, Sept 3. Jen, Peyton and I flew in a couple days early and we were able to meet a college friend, Tammy, and enjoy the San Francisco Zoo. We were also able to spend an afternoon playing in the park at Moscone Center and getting ourselves familiar with the section of the city we were staying in — Union Square area. I was impressed with the area.
Our hotel was on Powell Street, one of the cable car lines in the city — which runs all the way to Fisherman’s Wharf. On the same street as the cable car turn-around, we had the electric street cars and BART available for transit. I think we used all of the above at some point during our trip. We used the BART to get to our hotel from the SFO airport. It was no DC Metro, but it got the job done — cheaply.
Jen’s parents joined us for their first trip to the West coast in nearly 30 years. They flew in on Tuesday and stayed at a hotel in Fisherman’s Wharf. Jen and Peyton could take the street cars or cable cars there during the day and they had a lot of fun site seeing and touring the area. Jen’s aunt — Jim’s sister — Jeanette picked up her parents from the airport and took all of us on a tour of the city. The whole family, minus me, spent one day visiting UC Berkley and that area across the bay. Jim graduated from UC Berkley with an engineering degree, so it was good for him to see his alma mater and for Jen to get to visit it, too.
My conference wrapped on Thursday afternoon (coverage on the conference and my experiences are over on my tech blog). We took a tour of the city a bit, were able to take some photos and then we headed to family dinner in Tiburon — at Jeanette’s house.
We took a boat tour from Fisherman’s Wharf one evening. The trip took us from the wharf out the bay to the Golden Gate Bridge, under it briefly and then back to Alcatrez and back. The bridge and the ‘rock’ were very cool to see – up close and personal from the water.
We moved hotels from the city to Tiburon, too, that day. We stayed in the The Lodge at Tiburon, where Janet and Jim stayed after their wedding 34 years earlier. It is at the foot of the mountain where St. Hilary’s Church, where they were married, and Jeanette and Bill’s house is located next to the church on the hillside. The Inn was a nice place with a pool, fireplaces and a great restaurant.
Tiburon was fantastic. I think we all enjoyed our time there. It was relaxing and beautiful. We were lucky to be in town for the annual Labor Day parade and music in the park. We enjoyed a beautiful Saturday afternoon with music and the local parade.
We had a great dinner one evening at a restaurant on the bay with Jeanette, Bill and cousin Merrill. Merrill also treated us to a home-cooked dinner at her and Tinman’s beautiful townhouse.
As for sites, we visited Muir Woods one day. It is a redwood forest just north of San Francisco. It was really cool to see these huge towering trees. It was peaceful and serene. The trees were amazing.
Of course, we visited and took photos with the Golden Gate from the Marin Headlands and the visitor’s center just on the Sausalito side of the bay. I noticed on a couple trips back and forth across the bridge that they were painting the bridge. I’m told that once they finish, they have to start again painting the bridge – its a constant process.
We attended the Sausalito Art Festival on Monday with Merrill and got to see some of that area too. There were lots of great artists and the festival was great – more music and food. We also got a chance to see the San Francisco Bay model – a several acre model of the tidal basins and San Francisco bay. It was used by the US Army Corps of Engineers to simulate changes in the bay and ecological impact of changes to the bay.
Jen planned a special trip for me one day and we traveled south of San Francisco to Cupertino – home of Apple, Inc. We were able to visit the company store and drive around the campus and see the buildings where all these wonderful Apple products I enjoy were designed and created. We also drove through Mountain View – home of Google – on our way down. It was my first visit to Silicon Valley and was pretty cool to see headquarters for many of the major tech companies that we use at work and home.
All in all, it was a great trip. We enjoyed getting to see family, friends, the sites and enjoy life. It was an excellent break from things and maybe it was the thousands of miles in between, but we really got away from everything…