San Francisco


Journal cover – please note that I DID NOT do this lovely cover, it’s a postcard by Doron Fishman. I love the loose watercolor style and thought it captured the spirit of the city.

I’m back from spring break in San Francisco and thought I’d share photos of some of my journal pages and a few snapshots of our cruise around town. We were only there for 5 days, so my journal pages are kind of slim. Traveling with my family doesn’t afford me a lot of time to journal, but it’s a fun way to record our time together. My kids love the urban environment. They love being out of the car and into the thick of it. We rode the cable cars from one end of town to the other, the little tram/train up and down Market Street and hoofed it up and down the hills the rest of the time. It was really fun family time for me, but if you ask my 15 year old it may have been a little too much family time. She texted a lot. Whatever.


I used a little Moleskine city notebook, specifically made for San Francisco. It’s full of maps and places to write favorite things in pre-made categories. It opens nicely, even though it’s not spiral bound – which is my preferred favorite (so far) journal format. I didn’t use any of the pre-made stuff in this journal and actually found it a bit annoying. I found the paper to be pretty thin and didn’t take glue very well, so I know it wouldn’t have taken water color very well. But I did like the convenience of the size and little signature strap to hold it all together. I’ve glued so much stuff in it, it’s nice to have the strap to close it up all neat and tidy.




One of the coolest parts of the week was the back alley tour we did in Chinatown. The tours are organized by Chinatown Alleyway Tours, given by teenagers from the neighborhood, kids that live there. The picture above is of our guides, Jason, Brian and Jen. They were wonderful and very enthusiastic about Chinatown and their volunteer work with the community. Funny and bright, they broadened our perspectives and showed us many cool and hidden areas. Things we probably wouldn’t have discovered on our own. 20,000 mostly Cantonese Chinese live in a 6 by 4 block part of this city. The predominant language is Cantonese and all 3 were bi-lingual, Jen also spoke 2 other languages. There is a small fortune cookie business down one of these alleys where they still make fortune cookies by hand. Cool, but so labor intensive and repetitive. I worried about their poor hands. Scroll down for a picture of that. After our tour they pointed us towards a really great locals Vietnamese place (Golden King) for lunch. YUM!






The view from our elevator! You can see Coit Tower in the background. Nice cityscape.


We had lunch at a really great neighborhood place on Union Street, Rose’s Cafe. Wonderfully innovative and fresh food, I even journaled about what I had! How dorky is that?


We rode the cable cars a lot at night to get back to our hotel. You can just see the Bay bridge in the background on this one. It’s such a cool way to travel – especially hanging off the post careening up and down the hills. Well, we weren’t careening exactly, but it was thrilling none-the-less.




After Rose’s Cafe for lunch we went to the Exploratorium for a couple of hours of hands on science. I made the kids do the photo booth with me. My daughter rolled her eyes, but got into it, once the camera was clicking.


This was a really cool hanging paper sculpture at the Exploratorium called, “The Thing About Accumulation.” Very cool. The reference is kind of obtuse, but I loved how it hovered in the air.


An aged angel in the Exploritorium, I’m sure from the original Palace of Fine Arts for the 1915 International Panama-Pacific Exhibition.


This piano was hanging from the ceiling of the Exploratorium. Art? Sculpture? Part of a science experiment? Not sure, but I thought it was a cool use of space.


These incredibly beautiful flowers grace the entrance of one of my favorite restaurants in the world, Greens. This little gem at Fort Mason, sitting right on the water, never disappoints. I’ve been coming here since 1986, when I was frequently in San Francisco for business, and I’ve always had really wonderful vegetarian food. Consistently fresh and delicious. It has a great vibe and you can’t beat the view of the Golden Gate Bridge.



Our feet were good and sore at the end of the week, but it was great. Where to next?

5 Responses to San Francisco

  1. Stephanie says:

    Fab tour of SF! I love this place! and think I’ve sat at that same table in Greens and looked upon that same view!

    The tour of Chinatown sounds wonderful…great idea and perfect way to get the inside scoop and out of the tourist stream.

    Exploritorium is such a blast too! and always changing.

    How about somewhere really warm next??

  2. Lisa Hoffman says:

    Love your wonderful Travel Journals. I like the small size. Your work allows them to LOOK big and juicy, but I get the cringe factor when the papers kinda flimsy.

    Excuse me…did you say view from the elevator?….I think that I’d have to have my nails pried out of the back wall, fake smile plastered on my face: “Wow, yeah…nice view…”

    I LOVE the idea of Teen Tours. Those kids look so bright and full of enthusiasm. “Take me to your Designer Vinyl…”

    Some day you and I will walk these streets. If I can get our other Frani to move to Sonoma, it’ll be sooner than later.

    Thanks for this DElightful post. Talk to you tomorrow.

  3. Fran Meneley says:

    Lisa – The elevator was really cool in a weird way. You get on the elevator inside the building like normal. Check. Then you are riding it along just fine and suddenly, pop! you are outside at about the 8th floor. The elevator was like a little beetle hanging on the side of the building, sliding up and down. Weird but cool. It was a little nail biting the first few times and then it was just glorious to be up above it all with the amazing views. We were on the 23rd floor, so we got pretty high. xo frannie

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