A Bay Vacation: Trollies, fancy flip flops and seafood
A gay old time in San Francisco
July 5, 2012 | 1:00 pm
(Updated: July 5, 2012 | 12:33 pm)
By Amy Lynn O’Connell
I never even knew that they sold SPF 60 until I moved to Denver from the cloudy skies of Buffalo, NY.
In Buffalo, we’d flock to crampy tanning beds and bought goopy bronzing products to inspire a sun-kissed glow. When we had a nice clear summer day, we’d head to the shores of Lake Erie – or to one of the swankier resort lakes nearby – for a splash. The cold water never failed to steal the breath out of me and I’d emerge feeling refreshed.
When I first moved to Denver, I noticed the sun seems to invade my personal space like a gaggle of gay boys at X-Bar – I’m just trying to order water, people! A true Pisces, I need a wide-open oasis to quench my thirst, and I retreat to either coast frequently to fill up.
So here’s your ticket to San Francisco for a cool weekend getaway with your sweetie, main squeeze, spicy friend or simply solo!
Downtime and Coastline
Departing from string of commitments in the city, you could use a night on the coast, separated from congested streets and siren sounds. You decide to route your flight to San Jose (scoring a cheaper flight) and drive the 40 minutes to the quaint town of Half Moon Bay. It’s like you’re on the north shore of Boston and the smell of sea salt is accompanied by the sounds of seagulls. Pull up to the quaint Hotel Oceano and check into your room with a large bay window overlooking armies of sailboats. It’s off to dinner at Barbara’s Fishtrap, a family-owned seafood shack that is perched right on the coast. You scan the menu having that timeless debate: something healthy or decadent? You opt for the fish fry and let your sweetheart select the broiled codfish. The sun is setting. It’s time to skip down a few rocks, land barefoot in the soggy sand, and take a long walk down the beach. Before it turns into some scene on a hallmark card, you interrupt the seriousness by splashing the cool water on your unsuspecting companion and laugh deviously. “Up for a swim?”
After a meandering morning drive up highway one (punctuated with frequent stops for photos), you cruise into the city of San Fran and ditch your rental car with the valet. You have arrived at Hotel Palomar, a modest and comfortable abode complete with complimentary wine in the lobby each evening. Sold! You’re only blocks from the famous union square, adorn with fancy shops and fabulous light. You pause with your afternoon latte and snap a photo and then head into a several stores, only to emerge with a pair of slightly expensive jeans (meh, it’s vacay!). Scaling the hills of SF on foot, you admire the pastel condos and almost trip over the trolley tracks. After a couple hours of milling, you arrive back at your hotel late afternoon. You collapse into your crisp and cool sheets. Your feet throb in unison with your heart, staring at the ceiling; you pop off your shoes for a quick nap.
The concierge takes a map and circles sights on the waterfront, and you hop into a cab. First stop, Fog Harbor Fish House where you order a generous plate of fresh oysters and fillet of the day washed down with a local pinot. Let’s be honest, we don’t have seafood like this in Denver! Time to walk the along the waterfront, the nightlife is lighting up with the boats on the harbor. Bourdin bakery is famous for that sourdough bread that your trainer hates for you, but you can’t resist buying a loaf to bring home. Cutting up the hill, you land in Ghiradelli Square and the wrought iron and cascading fountains provide a little romantic moment for a kiss, complete with minty breath from the peppermint chocolate samples being handed out liberally.
What trip to SF would be complete without a pilgrimage to the Castro (You screened Milk with a few friends before the trip and quote Harvey with vigor!). Taxi! A tacky marquis lights up “Castro!” in neon and are disappointed that a choirs line and girlz in feathers aren’t there to greet you. It does make you wish Denver had a more unified gayborhood, as you walk past ample options for drinks and dancing. Adverse to making decisions, you decide it’s your duty as an tourist to pour hard earned money into each establishment and bar hop down the Castro until it’s time to find a cab at an ungodly hour.
One Last Stop
Before your Sunday flight out of SFO, you decide to trek across the famous SF Bay Bridge to end the day in the small town of Sausalito. You collected a flier about a wine tasting there, and arrive at one of the many small galleries set into the side of the rolling hills. Perched above the coastline, you can see the whole city, the bridge, endless water and the clouds rolling in for a soft summer rain. You close your eyes … relaxed and excited return to your sunny city life.