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Friday, October 8, 2010

Places to See: Carmel, Coit Tower, and the Golden Gate Bridge

Living in the Bay Area I'm guilty of rarely/never taking the time to visit many of the most popular tourist attractions the Bay Area is famous for. Usually the only way to get me out to see these places is when  out of town company comes for a visit because, as hostess, it forces me to make the time to take them to some of our best tourist destinations. This past week hubby had some friends in town so we were out and about doing the "tourist" thing...
Click on any Image to Enlarge

Take Carmel for instance. I think the last time I had been on 17 Mile Drive, the driving tour that takes you through Pebble Beach Golf Course and along the Pacific Coast, was more thsn 12 years ago. I'm happy to report "The Lone Cypress," a 250 year old cypress tree, is still there and all alone.

This is one of the really gorgeous views on 17 Mile Drive. You can't see them in the photo but there were two small seals lounging on the rocks. We could see them, I just need a stronger zoom lens for you to see them. I was using my little point and shoot as hubby had commandeered the DSLR that day.

The weather wasn't completely agreeable, it even sprinkled on us just a bit but there is nothing that takes away from the beauty of the coast. Blue skies would have been nice but the gray clouds simply added drama to a fun afternoon of sight seeing.

Two days later we headed up to San Francisco to do two things I'd never done before. The first was to visit Coit Tower. Parking is free but it costs a bit to take the tour up to the top of the tower.

The sun made the tower look glowy and kind of magical...

I have driven past Coit Tower dozens of times but had never had the slightest desire to drive up and visit it. It stands on the hill overlooking my beloved Ferry Building.

This was a tricky shot looking upwards at the top of Coit Tower. To be able to get the entire circle in the picture frame I had to put my compact mirror on the ground using the reflection of the view finder to perfectly align the camera from about 10" off the ground while leaning back so my big head didn't get in the picture. Any higher and the circle wouldn't have been complete. It took about 7 tries to get this shot but I thought it was worth it. Of course I could have just laid on my back and shot upwards but that didn't seem too sanitary.

An eco-friendly cruise ship?

And this was way cool! The "Island Princess," a HUGE Princess Cruise ship, was docked below. I'd never seen such a large cruise ship before. I came home and went online and discovered that this was only the second day the ship had been docked at the Port of San Francisco. Why was the ship in the news? Because it was using a new electric power plug-in system that only 4 cities in the world have! You can read all about it by CLICKING HERE. In a nutshell the ship is able to use electricity from the city's power grid so that it doesn't have to run its engine, thereby reducing emissions and local pollution while docked.

And this was funny. Each window around the top of the tower is encased in a hinged, glass, window cover that is padlocked shut. So tourists slide coins through the crack between the window and frame putting coins on all of the outer ledges.

As we headed back to the car I took this photo of our next destination off in the distance: The Golden Gate Bridge.

We drove over the bridge and took the Alexander Exit to head up to the Marin Headlands. I'd seen this trek on Bay Area Backroads and countless other tv shows over the years. It's almost as famous as the bridge itself since it offers a great vantage point to view the bridge from the northern side. Stunning!

We parked at two different locations. This is the one with the lookout that you have to take a small hike to reach. It was a glorious day in the city! We lucked out that the skies were blue and the temperature warm but not too hot. I'm glad our house guests had a great time visiting all of the tourist stops. I know I did!

Future tourist traps I've yet to see in the Bay Area include visiting Alcatraz, The Winchester Mystery House and driving down Lombard Street. Maybe someday I'll get to them when another friend comes to visit :)

1 comment:

  1. Gorgeous pictures Stacie! I would have just laid on my back for the circle shot, ha ha. Great thinking to use your compact mirror!

    I haven't been to Carmel in a million years! The last time I was on the bridge was a few years ago when we all met up at the Cache Creek(?) Casino but that was a case of "hi bridge, bye bridge!"

    Glad you enjoyed your beautiful area of the country!


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