Travel writers would have you believe that downtown L.A. is having its moment. But when you’re there, staying at the new JW Marriott or the even newer Ritz-Carlton adjacent, you’ll soon realize that no one has yet told the denizens of downtown. Over a too-sweet guava collins enjoyed in the shared poolside lounge between the sister hotels, I told the bartender of my itinerary: two days of drinking and eating in the heart of the city. “I’m going to Church & State,” I announced. “And last night, we had some great drinks at The Varnish.” No flicker of recognition.
SF Traveler Personality Types: Insider Tips from a Foodie, an Adventurer, a Spirituality Seeker and a Road Tripper
Bay Area dwellers travel like they do everything else—passionately and competitively, with a willingness to go to the ends of the earth. Here are expert tips from four San Francisco traveler personality types.
Because my meager oar-rific experience consists of renting kayaks by the hour in Lake Tahoe and, um, being up sh*t creek without a paddle—an all-too-familiar occurence in my life—I'm thinking about checking out the Bay Area PaddleFest this weekend at the Quarry Lakes Regional Recreation Area in Fremont. Think of it as speed-dating for people interested in courting the kayak, the canoe or the paddleboard. The schedule is jam-packed with on-land and on-water clinics that range from the super basics (The Forward Stroke and Cartopping 101) to more advanced pursuits (Rolling Class and Kayak Fishing).
South Beach; Director of Innovation, Hinduja Group
Obsessed with: Yoga, surfing, meditation, Vedic astrology.
In the past five years: Been to India, Thailand, Hawaii, Costa Rica.
Best tip for surviving a retreat: Pack light, open your heart and go with the flow.
Obsessed with: It’s-Its, cheap rhinestone sunglasses, mechanical penny squishers.
In the last five years: Been to the World’s Biggest Box of Raisins in Kingsburg, California; Devil’s Backbone in Crater Lake, Oregon; Ostrichland in Buelton, California.
My boyfriend and I have definitely worn down many a tire tread driving to the perfect little redwood pocket known as Butano State Park, just off Highway 1 at Pescadero Beach. So, imagine our surprise when, after an hour-long drive from the city on Saturday, we roll up to the park entrance and instead of the usual newts and banana slugs and towering redwoods hailing our return, we find bright orange barricades and a sign that says, "Closed for the season." What happened next launched the flying pigs from their pen in a frozen circle of hell: I did not panic. I did not curse my luck. I simply—and calmly—stated the obvious, "It's time for Plan B."
A recent SFGate article announces that the efforts to preserve California's most beloved alpine lake will soon receive—barring any hicups as the bill passes through the senate—$415 million to, among other worthwhile pursuits, eliminate a dangerous infestation of Asian clams, quagga and zebra mussels and remove erosion-and-sediment-and-fire-causing deadwood from 33,000 acres of surrounding forests. As always, the snarky commentors on SFGate bring up good points, especially @shutterbuggery who says, "The problem is too much development, too many casinos, too much of just about everything human. You can't turn back the hands of time—especially with introduced species.
Market Street and I have something of a love/hate relationship. I love how the city’s main artery cuts straight through all the neighborhoods that matter, from the peaks of Portola to Castro to Duboce Triangle—skimming the sides of the Mission, Hayes Valley and SoMa—and continuing right on downtown to the Bay. I love that it gets my bike and I from home to work in just under seven minutes flat. And then there’s the hate part. Despite my ride being only seven minutes long, I seem to have at least one near-death experience every day. Clueless drivers, massive potholes, insane cabbies, wheel-swallowing train tracks—did I mention clueless drivers?
When I stepped off a ship last October after a month at sea and saw the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance, gleaming in the morning light, my heart fluttered. It was the same giddy feeling I’d had the first time I saw the bridge, 25 years ago, when I drove someone else’s Buick Riviera all the way from Denver to California and finally through the tunnel that frames the bridge’s magnificent towers, the bay and the city beyond: I’m home.