Tuesday, March 29, 2011

2 miles in Merced Manor

Google is wrong!  This is Merced Manor, not Parkside.  The latter is north of Stern Grove. 

I took this walk on Sunday.  In the rain.  The verdict is still out on whether that was a smart idea or not since the temperature was about 54 degrees and my pants were thoroughly soaked when I got home.  Regardless of potential pneumonia, it was a great walk because this neighborhood has serious curb appeal.

I dare you to find more perfect lawns anywhere else in town. 

It's real grass.  I touched it.

I love their use of flowers, too.  Really jazzes up a crosswalk.

Oh, and we can't forget the lawn ornamentation.  These are the crown jewels of the neighborhood.  I see these every time I drive to the Stonestown Mall.  I've probably photographed them four times now.  I can't help it; they're magnificent.

Of course, the neighborhood isn't 100% perfect...thanks to this house.  But I think a creepy little door rounds out any walk very nicely...even in an otherwise perfectly manicured neighborhood.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

2.3 miles in Fort Mason

Yay for daylight savings time! I took this walk after work last night...in sunlight!

I took the tried and true Union41 bus to Gough and zig-zagged my way over to Fort Mason through the Marina district.

I've always wondered what this building is on Laguna and Bay.  I looked it up:  it's the Heritage nursing home.  Nice digs!  I'd like to retire here.

Ta-dah! The main event.  Now I have to be honest, I knew this was a national park, but I knew nothing else about it before I showed up.

Thankfully, there are really nice maps and plaques stationed around the property to guide you from one point of interest to the next.

Here was a surprise to me:  people actually LIVE in Fort Mason.  Even children.

In really REALLY cute houses.

Interspersed between private residences are historical homes...

...as well as business offices.  This is the Park's headquarters.  This building had a long history of being other things for the military.  Go check out the plaque in the front lawn for the back story.

Just when I thought I was quite possibly walking through a private backyard, I discovered a really cool area with picnic tables and a cannon.

Good thing we have the cannon, because just offshore I spotted a pirate ship!

From this same picnic area, you can see much of the bay and the boats parked at the piers.  If you want to go down to check them out in person, there are stairways that lead from this picnic area all the way down to the shore, with access to the piers.

If you aren't into historical stuff or ocean views, Fort Mason offers other points of interest, including this community garden.  I've seen about a dozen community gardens around San Francisco and this one is, hands down, the best based on quality of care and sheer size.  The picture does it absolutely no justice.  It's beautiful!
There are also huge sweeping lawns in which to frolic.  (I'm big on frolicking.)

And in case you need them, there are public restrooms on the property.

In conclusion, I declare that this is a great walk to take your parents on the next time they visit.  The roads are flat, and the walk is short but packed full of really nifty history and nature.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

4.8 miles on the Barbary Coast Trail

We'll get to the walk in just a second.  First, I have an important announcement to make:
Yes, this walk marked my 500th documented mile of San Francisco streets.  I have about another 500 to go, so I'm nowhere close to done, but I thought the milestone was noteworthy enough to craft my own pink star award.  Yay, me!

So for this historic walk, I figured I would take a truly historic walk: the Barbary Coast Trail.

You know you are on the trail when you spot these direction medallions in the sidewalk.  Just follow the arrows to the next marker.

The trail starts at the old Mint Building on 5th and Mission.

Then it winds over to Union Square...

...and up Grant Street through Chinatown.

I happened to catch a live performance in Chinatown.  It was a nice excuse to sit for a minute.

East of Chinatown, the trail winds through the Jackson Square Historic District.  I happened to notice that Blackboard is tucked discretely down an alley in this neighborhood.  I took online classes in grad school and loved the Blackboard platform.  Yay for good technology!

Back to the walk: the trail meanders up Columbus Street past all of the sidewalk cafes in North Beach.

I was looking forward to seeing the St. Peter and Paul church, but it's currently getting some work done. :/

That's okay.  Instead I looked at other stuff in the park, like this monument.

Finally, the trail winds around Fisherman's Wharf through the sea of tourists and sidewalk performers and ends at Ghirardelli Square.

And that's that!  You can hop on a cable car back to wherever you started.  I opted to walk back down Columbus so I could grab a 500th mile celebration dinner.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

2.8 miles in Potrero

Why did I wait so long to walk the Potrero neighborhood?

This place is awesome!
Sure, it has an industrial grime, but what neighborhood doesn't?

(Okay, fine. Pacific Heights doesn't.)

But the grime is worth looking past because this neighborhood is home to some really fun bars...

...and music venues.

It is also home to the coolest pet store in San Francisco, Pawtrero.  Even if you don't own a dog, you should stop in and take a look around.  They have old-timey jars of pig tracheas and elk antlers!

Oh, and Potrero is also home to the Guardian newspaper...

...and the Technique Restaurant. This is a Le Cordon Bleu restaurant where the food preparation and service are conducted entirely by students under a teacher's direction.  The place looks pretty swanky, but the menu prices aren't too bad.  I'd like to hear from someone who has eaten here before.

Last, but certainly not least, this neighborhood is home to the most excellent place on earth: Whole Foods Market.  And I must declare that after shopping in every Whole Foods in San Francisco, hands down, this location has the most comprehensive gluten free offering.  I did some serious damage in there after my walk. 

Note to self: don't shop for food after walking three miles.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

FEBRUARY STATS: 14.4 miles

FEBRUARY: 14.4 miles
SINCE I STARTED: 492.6 miles

I'm loving how the northern quarter of the city is filling in!  I am so close to finishing the Marina, Cow Hollow and Russian Hill districts, I can taste it.  I guess that can be a goal in March: completely finishing them. Weather, you better cooperate!