Sunday, August 18, 2013

Finding Peace in the City

We have been on a quest to find places that the whole family, dog included, can get away from the city feel and enjoy some of our favorite activities: hiking and wandering the beach.  For the past 3 weekends, we have taken day trips, all within an hour's drive or ferry ride, to explore new areas.

First up was Rodeo Beach, in the Marin Headlands, after I ran the USCG Station Golden Gate Heritage run.  Which was pretty difficult, by the way.  The whole first mile and middle mile of the 7.5-mile race were entirely uphill, to get from sea-level to Golden Gate Bridge level.  Whew.  But I did it, and didn't finish last, either.  Back to Rodeo Beach.  It was nice to bring the dog for his first California outing.  But the beach, on the Pacific just north of the Golden Gate Bridge, was rocky and windy.  We managed a quick hike, and Midas was happy to be allowed off his leash.

Last weekend, we made good on our promise to take the kids to the city once a month.  We took the ferry over on Saturday morning (which we easy!) and went to a Filipino parade and festival, Chinatown, North Beach, and Coit Tower. It's amazing how small San Francisco actually is.  It feels very much like Boston, only with more hills.  We rode the streetcar from Pier 39 to Market Street and walked the whole rest of the day, and we were done and heading home on the 3:15 ferry.  We didn't take the dog, because he is not allowed on the streetcars, but we plan to try to take him along sometime soon.  The kids had a blast.  They both tried dim sum in Chinatown (none of us were big fans), had pizza in North Beach, and counted all the steps down Telegraph Hill (343, give or take a few).

Today was, by far, my favorite day.  We drove to Half Moon Bay, with our new book about hiking with dogs in the Bay Area in hand.  We took the scenic route, over the Bay Bridge and along Hwy. 1.  We are having a bit of a heat wave, so the morning fog burned off early at the coast.  Our first stop was the Grey Whale Cove Trail, where we hiked about 2 miles along the bluffs.
View of Grey Whale Cove

Grey Whale Cove Trail
Being surrounded by open space and able to see out into the ocean does my soul good.  Thank goodness we have found this place!  We had a picnic lunch in Half Moon Bay at Blufftop Coastal Park and then ventured down to the beach.  The kids were so excited (and a little confused) to see soft, warm, white sand.  The dog was happy to get his feet wet (and so was his sister).  After we were sufficiently sandy, we tool a walk on Main Street in Half Moon Bay.  Our favorite stop was the Feed Store.  That's our kind of place!  Live chicks, pet supplies, and a bull moose mounted over the door inside.
Blufftop Coastal Park, Half Moon Bay
We only have one week left until the kids start school.  They were really busy last week.  Ava finished up her final week of sailing camp, where she sailed an Opti by herself, went on a field trip by boat to Ben & Jerry's in jack London Square, and finished the week by finally learning to swim unassisted (although we are are still working on her confidence level when doing so).  Emerson went to Kung Fu camp all week, where he was the youngest camper and got to go to a different playground in Alameda for lunch each day.  It did him good to get a break from his mom and sister after 3 months of togetherness.  This week, we have lots of fun in store.  We were able to get free tickets to Monday night's Red Sox/Giants game at AT&T Park, thanks to Operation Care and Comfort.  I'm planning a surprise trip to the Jelly Belly factory in Fairfield for the kids later in the week.  Next Sunday, we are headed to Sonoma for the GoPro Indy Grand Prix, which we also got free tickets to thanks to the Heroes in Our Community Program.  The kids don't know it, but the race is preceded by an air show with the Patriots Jets.  It's so nice to have community organizations include the Coast Guard in their special military events, as it doesn't always happen.

This area certainly has kept us busy so far!  We have to remind ourselves to stay home once in awhile, but that will happen more once the kids are back in school.  Second grade and kindergarten...eeek!

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