Comment

A Weekend in San Francisco, CA

The Painted Ladies.jpg

In August I had a video shoot for work pop up on my calendar in San Francisco. Jeff and I had never been to the city so we took the opportunity for a weekend away just the two of us to explore the city together. Here’s where we stayed, what we did and where we ate.

STAY

Because this was a work trip, which tend to pop up last minute, I delayed booking our hotel until a few weeks out. And at this point, all hotels within the city proper were either full or completely outside of our price range. As an alternative, I took to AirBnB and found the steal of a century: ROAM San Francisco (one of 4 global locations) had availability during our exact trip dates and I clicked ‘book’ as fast as I could. ROAM is a network of co-living and co-working spaces that provides ‘everything you need to feel at home.’ In other words, ROAM is buying up sweet old houses and building and repurposing them into bookable accommodations that challenges the traditional hotel market - this 100% intrigues me.

ROAM San Francisco was incredible. Not only was it clean, comfortable and provided increbile WiFi… but it was also the best location (right on Alamo Square - I’m not kidding, we could see the Painted Ladies from our bedroom window), had the nicest staff and some of the most incredible interior decor I’ve ever seen - and this coming from a gal who works for a furniture company. If you’re up for something new, pass on the hotel and book at ROAM for a great experience.

DO

We covered a TON of ground while in the city - I clocked an average of 25,000 steps each day we were there. It’s extremely hilly and we were extremely glad we took others advice in wearing comfortable shoes. Here are some of the things we did:

Hiked Muir Woods - This was so-so incredible. If you’re at all into hiking and/or nature, the Redwood Forest here is a must see. It takes a bit of planning to get there including booking tickets to the park and either reserving/paying for a parking space on site or booking tickets to a bus transport ahead of time - so be prepared. But the effort is completely worth it.

Cross the Golden Gate Bridge - Lots of folks choose to bike, but we just booked an Uber that took us to our pick up location for the bus to Muir Woods. But no matter how you get across, make the trip to the other side and visit Sausalito. PS - Spoiler alert, the bridge is not golden.

Visit Downtown Sausalito - San Francisco’s cute neighbor to the north is a short 5 min drive across the bridge. We took an Uber - our transportation of choice. There you will find cute shops and restaurants that will give you all the small town beach city vibes.

Ride the San Francisco Bay Ferry - On the way back to San Francisco we purchased tickets ($7.50/each) to one of the ferry transports landing at Pier 41. On the ride across you get fantastic views to Alcatraz Island (which might be your best bet in seeing the attraction if you didn’t purchase tickets to the island ahead of time) as well as a great view of the San Francisco skyline and Golden Gate Bridge. Fun fact - there is a bar on the ferry!

Visit Alcatraz Island - Holy moly was this neat. We love historical tours and this one was quite unique. We got very lucky in snagging two tickets to their evening tour on Thursday night and our only regret was not packing a thicker jacket - the wind is something fierce out there! They have an excellent audio tour that’s given by men who once occupied the prison walls as both guards and inmates - so cool.

Hike Lands End - Another great, but way easier hike to get to in San Fransisco is the Lands End trail. It has great views of the Sutro Bath ruins as well as Instagram worthy scenes of the Golden Gate Bridge. The trails have little spin offs that lead you to the edge of the cliffs where you can catch glimpses of seals sun bathing on rocks.

Bike the Golden Gate Park - GGP is huge! with lots of things to see and do. You can purchase tickets to the Botanical Gardens, Japanese Tea Gardens, the Conservatory of Flowers or the DeYoung Museum. Or just enjoy your ride through the park and be sure not to miss the roaming bison or the twin Dutch Windmills just before you hit the Bay. We did check out the Botanical Gardens which were nice, but in comparison to Fredrick Meijer Gardens back home in Grand Rapids, it was not worth the $17 per ticket. There were also plenty of Segways roaming around if you’re into that sort of thing!

Shop the Ferry Building Marketplace - A great time to tour the Ferry building is just before or after your ferry ride across the Bay. And if you happen to be there for the breakfast or lunch hour, perfect timing! It’s an indoor-open market of sorts and has plenty of options for quick bites, coffee and food shopping. You might even grab a snack/coffee for your ride across the Bay.

Watch the Giants Play at AT&T Park - Jeff is a huge baseball fan (while I’m a huge fan of hotdogs and popcorn) so checking out one of the best, if not thee best ballparks in the MLB was a no brainer. We got lucky and they had a home series the weekend we were in town so we snagged tickets for some cheap seats above home plate. The park is gorgeous with an sweet view of the McCovey Cove which is the part of the Bay off to right field famously named after former Giants first baseman Willie McCovey. We watched some baseball and ate some popcorn. It was a good way to spend a Friday night.

Walk Along Fisherman’s Wharf & Ghirardelli Square - We were warned by locals to ‘just stay away’ from these places because they are so touristy. However, we don’t live in San Francisco and by default, that makes us tourists. So, we embrace it! Here is where you can find souvenirs and over priced bike tours. I hunted super hard for some California Republic t-shirts for the kids and surprisingly, failed miserably. You can also find a loading point for the famous trolly rides if you wanted to make that part of your trip as well.

Visit the Museum of Ice Cream - I work in digital marketing and when there’s a social trend that’s covering my media channels I go nuts like a kid in a candy store - which is an extremely appropriate phrase here because that’s pretty much what the Museum of Ice Cream is… room after room of sugar inspired ‘experiential installations’ meant for (and this is my interpretation) taking pictures with. Yes, a place where you pay money for a ticket ($38 in fact), in order to take pictures of yourself, that are meant for posting to the internet. Go and experience it yourself!

FOOD & DRINK

Burma Superstar - By recommendation of our neighbors back in Grand Rapids, we made Burma Superstar our first stop after checking into our AirBnB. It was a bit out of the way so we took an Uber from our place on Alamo Square but it was a good lunch choice and something we can’t get at home. It’s very small with not a whole lot of seating so the wait times are extensive - up to 2 hours sometimes! We went around 2p so we didn’t have to wait - the time difference was in our favor.

Limon Rotisserie - Right in the heart of the Mission Square District, Limon Rotisserie was a little slice of Peruvian heaven! Their specialty is roasted chicken with your choice of all kinds of fantastic sides. I ordered garlic green beans and a side salad. I did, however, have food envy of our neighbors sweet potato fries! It’s a small atmosphere with an open kitchen concept that was great for our dinner date night out.

CREAM - After dinner we walked over to CREAM for specialty, made to order ice cream sandwiches. Who doesn’t love a solid cookie sandwich with gummy bears?! Heads up, it’s a chain and they have locations in 4 different states around the U.S.

Mr. Holmes Bake Shop - This little place has three locations (2 in L.A. and 1 in S.F.) and is a bit of a social sensation. People go 50% for the baked goods and 50% to take their Instagram picture in front of the ‘I Got Baked’ neon sign. We ordered a cookie dough donut, snapped my pic and were on our way all within a few minutes. We saved our treat till we reached Lombard Street and enjoyed the calories with a view of the winding cars.

Cliff House - This casual bistro house was the perfect place to rest our feet for a bit after the walk along Lands End trail. We ordered wine and some appetizers and oddly what I remember most are the French fries. They were thin, salty and very tasty! Cliff House has a great view of the Bay and was easy to get into. It’s a great place to stop for a drink, a snack and the view!

Copita - This is a great Mexican food place in downtown Sausalito. Upon returning from our hike through Muir Woods we were starving and thirsty! Nothing sounded better than chips n’ salsa and a cold Corona Light with a lime. Copita was packed with tourists and for good reason, the food was delish. We snagged a few seats at the bar (our M.O. on this trip! Helps when traveling as a duo) and got wonderful service.

Tartine - With locations in both San Francisco and L.A., you must add Tartine to your travel list! Their manufactory building was located two blocks from my video shoot that morning so I stopped in for coffee and a danish and was not disappointed. The coffee was fantastic and the danish was almost too beautiful to eat. I wish we would have visited sooner as we likely would have returned for dinner or lunch.

And for some quick tips on traveling here:

  • Dress in layers! Everyone warned us about this and we took the advice, but should have packed more. I wore the same jacket every day. It’s incredibly windy and even a raincoat to block the wind would have been helpful and super light to carry around.

  • There is TONS of diversity in San Francisco and we loved it! In most places we felt like the minority which is not the case back home. We were among folks speaking all sorts of languages.

  • Residents who live in Sausalito get incredibly offended when you group them into ‘San Francisco.’ I made that mistake at one of the bars we stopped in for a drink - it was like I kicked his dog!

  • There is a very large homeless population in San Francisco which leaves the streets very dirty and smelly in some spots.

  • It’s a pretty expensive city to live and visit. Hotel prices rivaled that of New York and Chicago and the price of a beer was usually $2 more expensive than what we’re used to.

Comment

Comment

Kladder Update: Where Did August Go?

Thomas Kladder Baby.jpg

Whew... who's ready for Fall?! Jeff and I returned from San Fransisco early last week and while we were surprised by the 65 degree temperatures there (and wished we had packed more long sleeve options), we left excited for apple cider and football. The good news is that we won't have to wait long - we snagged two tickets to the U of M vs. WMU game this coming weekend and are looking forward to a good ole' fashioned tailgate with friends. 

Last week Jeff and I spent a long weekend in San Fransisco just the two of us. I was in town for a work trip and we jumped at the opportunity to explore the city together. We had a great time. The city has lots to see and do and we made the most of our 3 days together. I took way too many photos and plan to share those on a travel post soon! 

Just before leaving for San Fransisco I golfed in our last tournament of the year with the ladies at Watermark. The theme was Murder Mystery and all of the gals got really into it. Our board raised the bar this month and even buried a dummy body in one of the sand traps.  A bit extreme? Totally. Our pro staff has their hands full with our non traditional golf events - I can only imagine Mick, our lead pro, handing the greenskeeper a severed head and asking them to take it out to hole 10 and bury it. Our team took first in our flight winning credit towards the pro shop and bragging rights to my husband back at home! 

We recently enjoyed the Grand Rapids Jazz Fest downtown with the Dennis Family. We'd never been before and wouldn't have known about it had they not invited us. I have no clue how long they've been around because their website doesn't say, but the event itself was pretty great. Rosa Parks Circle is the perfect venue for easy listening and dancing, and what is more was the great view we had from the GRAM outdoor VIP space. Our friend's business was a participating sponsor for the event and through him we all got the best seats in the house. I appreciated the shade while the kids enjoyed the free snacks. There were also food trucks, a few tents for shopping and free face painting.

Earlier in the month I set off with my gal pals and fellow Moms from Rosewood Ave for the annual ladies weekend away on Crystal Lake. The entire weekend was a blast - we ate snacks, drank wine, played music, talked - but our Saturday morning was truly something to retell: one of our neighbors is a yoga instructor and she asked if she could teach a sunrise class that morning to which we all replied, "Duh," and then sweetened the deal with making us all Açaí bowls for breakfast - I've got the best neighbors. Mid reverse triangle a bald eagle soars over top of us and the moment could not have been more perfect. I'm not a very sappy person but in that moment I had completely and utter gratitude. A big shout out to Kari for providing such a fantastic morning and to Carol for planning the whole sha-bang. Be sure to check out Kari Bordoli Yoga on Facebook

And before heading out to the lake for our usual Labor Day festivities with family this weekend we got to celebrate our dear friend Amber's big 4-0 on a trolley to the lakeshore! Amber is from Boston so we all channeled our inner sailor for a nautical themed birthday bash. We started with lunch at the new Linear restaurant just north of downtown on Monroe. The menu was eclectic and the dishes we ordered were tasty. She opened gifts and blew out candles before the trolley picked us up and set sail for Sandy Point Beach House. We bellied up to the outdoor shipping container bar and danced to the live Reggae Band. We ate burgers and fries and played Bocce Ball - but not before Jeff and our friend Mark raked out the water puddled that had formed earlier that day. Amber was surprised and a good time was had by all. 

Later that night we joined our kids back out at the lake where they were hanging with their Aunt Stephanie and the rest of the family to cap off the holiday weekend. We spent the day tubing and laying in the sun. And in the evening we took what was likely to be the last post dinner family pontoon cruise of the summer.

At the lake they have a great hot tub that's tucked back under the deck in a corner but still has a great view of the water. For some reason most of the family would rather play late night games in the dining room than take an evening soak and so it's not uncommon that I end up in the tub all by myself. And I don't mind. It's pretty relaxing to sit alone sipping a cocktail reflecting on the fun filled day. August has provided us many wonderful moments to be thankful for and last night sitting and watching the lightening off in the distance while listening to the sounds of the lake was one of them. Maybe I am sappy after all? 

This week Natalie starts preschool and we're on the countdown for our trip to Spain in 4 weeks. But we've got a lot of ground to cover before then so stay tuned and we'll see you on the other side of these final weeks of summer! 

Comment

Comment

Kladder Update: Enjoying Summer While It Lasts

Grandparents Day Meijer Gardens Thomas.jpg

Great News! The boot is officially off and just in time too! With a few more weeks of summer left to enjoy and a getaway to San Fransisco with Jeff next week, I'm glad to be moving at my normal-speedy pace again.

I wasted no time in literally getting back into the swing of things this week during Watermark's Womens League rejoining my partner Jamie on the golf course. She totally pulled her weight these last few weeks as I sat out on the sidelines keeping us in the running for first place in our division. But despite her best efforts in keeping us afloat in my absence, we finished the year in second place (due to some really terrible play last night) by a mere 2 points. Ego. Crushed!

On Monday we enjoyed Grandparents Day at Fredrick Meijer Gardens with Jeff's parents. The weather was perfect for being outdoors and for the popsicles they handed out to the kids (and the kids at heart) during the event. We walked through the Japanese Gardens - Jeff's Dad had never been before which is shocking - and we toured the farm house area in the back of the park which is something I had never seen - also shocking. They had live music and a mime and I think one of the most interesting parts for me was seeing all of the construction underway for the expansion. I cannot wait to see how it all turns out. 

Grandparents Day Meijer Gardens.jpg

All last week we spent time camping with my family in the Upper Peninsula just near Ontonagon. It's an 8 hour car ride - 9 if you count stops for the bathroom and gas. It was a good break from our normal routine and you can read more about our trip HERE

UP Camping Argo.jpg

Before camping up north we spent the weekend on the lake in Rockford soaking up the sun with the kids. These days Thomas is all over the place with absolutely no fear. Walk down the boat dock unassisted? Of course. Take a drink from that abandoned full glass of water? Yup. Push all the buttons on the TV remote control accidentally purchasing a movie again? Well sure! Now picture me running after this little dude while in my air-cast boot. It's been a sight. He's got lots of words these days including the usual Mama and Dada. He's really good at 'more' and this week he learned 'ut-oh' which seems appropriate.

Natalie is SO excited to start preschool in a few weeks. We got her welcome packet in the mail and I've filled out all the forms, got the doctors note, printed the requested family pic and tonight Natalie decorated her farm animal that she'll bring with her to orientation. It's a pig and it's covered in heart stickers and pink gems that I helped her glue on. I am going to crush this school mom thing. 

Lake Bella Vista Natalie.jpg

Two weekends ago we finally made it downtown to the Movies on Monroe community event put on by Downtown GR. Movies on Monroe replaced the former Movies in the Park that was once in Ah Nab Awen Park on the Grand River. It's now just north of the highway downtown in a vacant parking lot that they covered in painted fish which I'm assuming was inspiration from the fish ladder that sits in the river on the other side of the retaining wall. They had a double feature that evening starting with Shrek which Natalie LOVES followed by Hidden Figures. 

It's a free public event and Downtown GR invites you to bring chairs, blankets, food and BYOB (you just have to get a wristband at the ID tent indicating you're old enough to drink). And if you're not into hauling your own cooler of food along, there are food trucks set up along the back side of the parking lot ready to serve you. We had burrito bowls and they were fabulous. Later in the movie we also grabbed Italian ice - cabernet raspberry flavor. Tasty! 

This weekend Jeff will take the kids while I head out of town with the ladies of Rosewood for some girl time on Crystal Lake. All moms. All awesome. And all love wine. It's sure to be a good time.

Enjoy your weekend and all the fun that comes with it! 

POSTSCRIPT

  • Dr. Scholl's Shoe Inserts - You guys, why isn't everyone wearing these? Post boot these were recommended and I feel like I'm walking on little pillows. I will never go back. This is what 30 looks like. 
  • Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis - Yeah, I'm likely late to the game on this one but thanks to friend Amber Ginop who's my personal librarian with her many books and interest in reading, better late than never. It's entertaining and relevant. I wrote some notes and have some good take aways. It's motivating and reassuring. Think girl power but with some humor. 

Comment