Baes in the Bay
I couldn't pass up *another* weekend in the Bay Area since my whole family was going to be there! After an extra long day at work, I took a later flight straight into SFO, managed to see an Al Roker doppelgänger, and find Gina and Mom (since she went to the right terminal to pick me up this time).
Back at Mom's apartment, I greeted Dad and we all settled in to the tiny living quarters. It was TIGHT and definitely not meant for four people, but we joked about how it would be if we lived in the city. Gina and my blow up air mattress took up the whole living room floor leaving only a little walkway to spare for access to the refrigerator and hallway to the bathroom. Not ideal. We spent the rest of the evening catching up and enjoying each other's presence because the four of us hadn't been together since Christmas time.
As with any Swiss Family Grainda trip, we rose early and mentally prepared for a jam packed day full of shenanigans. Our super exciting day started with us piling into an Uber and waiting in line at the rental car company.
We zoomed out of the parking deck in the rental car and navigated our way over to the Financial District to have brunch at Bluestone Lane. The Australian style cafe offered up the coffee and provisions, like avocado toast, we needed to start our day. Y'all, I'm telling you now, Australian cuisine and cafes are coming for America - watch out and be ready.
From there we ventured north and out of the city, crossing the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. You can never pass up a view like that, so we pulled off at the view point where we snagged a front parking spot and did a quick photo op. We managed to take a picture with every combination of the four us.
It was off to the Pacific Ocean now! Well, we made a quick detour at Marin Country Mart to grab extra snacks for the drive and oh my god they got me good. If you know me, this place is the epitome of me (VERY SALTWATER) with cutsie storefronts, white patio furniture, and bulb string lights between buildings. THEY GOT ME. If I lived in the area, I'd be there every single day.
Anyway, we eventually arrived at Point Reyes National Seashore. About a year ago, me being the responsible daughter I am, facetimed my family because I was out of the country on spring break. Gina also happened to be on spring break at the same time and she and Dad popped out to the Bay for a little vacation to spend time with Mom. This facetime is easily a top ten weird facetime for me; they were heading out to Point Reyes for the day, conversing with me over spotty reception, rain pouring, wind howling, and completely lost driving in the car. What a time. What an experience (for them). I thought they were just kind of losing it.
Fast forward to now, and the WHOLE day the three of them remarked how wonderful Point Reyes was because a) it was sunny and b) they could actually see the landscape. My family in a nutshell.
There were rolling green hills with cows grazing in the pastures and the Pacific Ocean sprawling out in the distance. We made a wrong turn, but ended up at South Beach and dipped our feet on the sandy shore.
The main landmark of Point Reyes is the lighthouse. To get there you can typically drive, but during the weekends you have to take a shuttle to impede an influx of visitors. Once the shuttle delivered us to the trail, we hustled past the slow walkers and had a hawk following us along the way.
Point Reyes is one of those places you see pictures of, but never know if you’ll make it to that majestical place. The lighthouse is nestled on a craggy coast, 308 steep steps down.
Once down there, we toured around the lighthouse and whale watched with Dad spotting a few in the distance.
It took forever to catch the shuttle back and we were severely hangry. To put our hunger at bay, popped by the visitors center for chips and refreshments then ate it on the nearby beach, soaking in the gorgeous view.
A little beach walk in search of invertebrates ended our day at Point Reyes before we traveled back to the city.
As we trekked back and inevitably hit SF traffic, we pondered how we could spend the last hour with our rental car before dropping it off. Naturally, we decided to jet across town to Twin Peaks and see the bustling city skyline.
Tired from the outing, we regrouped and got ready for our dinner reservation at flour + water.
OH. MY. GOD. WHAT A PLACE. If you're EVER in San Francisco GO. They have homemade Italian pasta, the vibe of the little neighborhood restaurant just around the corner, a fun, hip, homey atmosphere, and a music curator who writes out what albums will be played throughout the evening - because this place only plays albums start to finish. This place revitalized my love of Simple Minds. Even Dad referred to our waiter as a cool, smooth dude. Dad picked up on how rad this place was.
The food was incredible and just the right amount. Ya know when you go to those super-swanky, minimalist restaurants, the ones where they give you bite and you're left looking at it and saying "huh, that's it", well that sort of happened, and as we ate we realized everything was perfect and by the end of the meal we were stuffed.
The next day, we headed over to the edge of Potrero Hill to eat brunch at Plow, another rave worthy restaurant serving up homestyle, classic Californian cuisine.
With full bellies, we headed into the downtown area just in time for our reservation to the Color Factory. In the age of social media, quirky pop ups have been popping up left and right to allow goers to boost their Instagram game. The Color Factory is no exception, offering monochromatic color themed rooms to delight visitors.
We moved from space to space, throwing confetti and diving into ball pits.
Post rainbow overload, we wandered the city shopping and enjoying the great weather. As we walked, we made our way over to City Hall since Gina and Dad had never been inside.
Somehow, we came up with the idea to get to the top floor of the rotunda and conspired ways to get up to no avail. Our luck kept running out that afternoon as we made a trip across town for what Mom claimed to be the best ice cream in town, only to find out it was closed for the day. Classic.
Absolutely pooped from the treks across town, we chilled on the rooftop for the rest of the afternoon and headed over to the Ferry Building area for dinner, catching a killer sunset overlooking the Bay Bridge. After dinner, we finished the night with SVU marathon before hitting the hay.
The next day, I flew out at the ungodly hour of 6 am - from Oakland airport - meaning that I had to take an Uber across the water at 3:30 am whoop de doo. Groggy and dazed, this Uber driver was nice, but launched into questions about my future and career goals...at 4 am, not the time buddy. I clocked out on the plane and wheeled my carry on straight into work as usual.
'Twas a fun weekend laughing and exploring with my family. I love them! Swiss Family Grainda knows how to pack a weekend.