Playing Tourist in My Own Backyard
Whou’da’ thunk it would be such a beautiful day in late November on the bay? Heck with black Friday. Black has never been my favorite color. I’d much rather go out in the sun and feel the wind on my face.
A BART ride to the historic Ferry Building. Once the second-busiest transit station in the world outside of Charing Cross Station in London, it now spends most of its time as a trendy shopping center, housing permanent upscale restaurants and shops, as well as a huge Saturday gourmet farmer’s market.
Arriving in Sausalito, my girls and I meet up with our boating friends. As we motor out onto the all but windless water, we enjoy brie, crackers and olives, along with some champagne. It’s been a while since we’ve seen each other. Conversation is punctuated by laughs as we glide along the channel, past sunning cormorants, pelicans and a few seals.
It’s a fine day for just being on the water. Not a hint of the normal San Francisco chill. My youngest is offered the helm, and, feeling a bit tentative at first, she quickly adapts to her new status. And then, a steady 4-knot breeze picks up, enough for her to learn how the wind vane and tell-tales work. As we saunter leisurely towards the city skyline, she maintains her heading, reading the wind to avoid luffing the jib.
No hurries, no worries out here on this sparkling blue lake of a bay. Knowing how rough it can be toward the Golden Gate with its treacherous “potato patch” makes us relish the extreme languor of the moment and the day.
Then, noting the sun heading behind the Marin Headlands, my benjamin daughter calls “Ready about?” and then, “Helms alee!” and we gracefully come about and make our way back to the marina.
We enjoy some delicious ice cream at Lappert’s in Sausalito before catching the last ferry back. Night has fallen, and it’s getting chilly. We are greeted by the Ferry Building’s glowing clock tower (the largest mechanical dial clock in the world), and the holiday-lit outlines of the Embarcadero Center high-rises.
BARTing it back to Union Square, we are almost crushed by the hordes returning from the tree-lighting ceremony. We hike up to meet my sister and her husband in Chinatown,
and then proceed a few more blocks to North Beach, where we have the best cioppino ever at the quirky Mona Lisa restaurant. A reproduction of Michelangelo’s “Creation of Adam” as well as a topless version of the Mona Lisa are prominent among the confusion of artworks and sculptures lining every inch of the restaurant’s interior.
What better way to spend the holiday than out enjoying some local color in my own backyard?