Golden Gate Park

Labor Day dawned beautiful and sunny, and after checking out of our hotel and having another excellent breakfast at Blue Bottle, we hopped on a bus in the direction of Golden Gate Park.

If you look at a map of San Francisco, Golden Gate Park (hereafter GGP, too long to type each time) is a giant thumb of green tucked in the middle of an urban sea. Nearly 25% larger than New York’s Central Park, GGP houses a number of museums, dedicated gardens, playgrounds, playing fields, paths, and a century-old lawn bowling club.

San Francisco Lawn Bowling Club

We had no set agenda for our explorations, and so felt free to linger by the lawn bowling field, where a helpful volunteer explained some of the nuances of the game. It is not the same as bocce or pétanque, and the balls are neither strictly round nor intended to be hurled in the air. Instead, ladies and gentlemen of all ages civilly roll the ovoids down the manicured green in an attempt to get closest to the “jack”. The gentleman pictured below has been a member of the club since 1964.

San Francisco Lawn Bowling Club

After a bit of wandering around, we made our way to Crepevine in Inner Sunset to meet Nate and Sharon for lunch. Crepevine reminded me a bit of Aroma or Kopi – neighborhood-y places to grab lunch and a cup of coffee with friends. We were hungry but not enough to commit to individual dishes, so we split a quality tuna sandwich and Caesar salad and drank a lot of water and lemonade to rehydrate before more park exploration. Nate and Sharon tried to show us the Japanese Tea Garden and the Fine Arts Museum, but it was too nice out to stand in lines and pay money to be inside. They did, however, convince us that we had to see the Golden Gate Bridge up close, for which we are thankful.

E & E
Look! I’m irrationally excited about a sign with my name on it!

Golden Gate Bridge
This looks too perfect, right? I mean, when is the sky EVER that blue? Especially in SF?

Nate & Sharon
Nate & Sharon

E & Shane
Cool bridge, u guys!

Despite having generously driven us around not once but twice, Nate and Sharon were up for a final adventure with us: ice cream at Bi-Rite Creamery, whose salted caramel is supposed to be out of this world. Unfortunately, so is the line, often stretching around the block, especially on a gorgeous day when everyone’s off work. The trick, apparently, is to go to Bi-Rite Market just down the street and buy a pint – but when we got there, the freezer cases were cordoned off, pints of salted caramel taunting us from behind glass panes and a big tape X. Fortunately there was one more option: a walk-up window for the bakery, where you can ALSO get ice cream. We zipped over there and picked up two pints – one for eating, the other as a thank you for Nate and Sharon – of frozen gold. I’m not sure how to describe the flavor of salted caramel if you’ve never had it – but the texture was like the finest soft serve you’ve ever put in your mouth – smooth and creamy, with a hint of salt. I’m glad we tried it, though the runaround necessary to obtain it stressed all of us out.

salted caramel, brown sugar ginger caramel swirl
Photo by roboppy

Many thanks to Nate and Sharon for a fun afternoon of adventure!


If you go:

Golden Gate Park
Bounded by Great Hwy (west), Fulton St (north), Stanyan St (east), and Lincoln Way (south)
San Francisco, CA

Plan to spend at least an afternoon, but more likely a whole day, depending on how much of the park you’d like to see – and if you make it to the Buffalo Paddock (or Bison Enclosure), send me photos.

Crepevine
624 Irving St (between 7th & 8th)
San Francisco, CA 94122
(415) 681-5858

I wouldn’t go out of your way to go here, but if you find yourself on this end of the park and are looking for a inexpensive yet filling and tasty lunch, Crepevine is right for you!

Golden Gate Bridge
US Highway 101
San Francisco, CA

Definitely worth seeing. There’s a visitor’s center on the SF side where I imagine you can buy all manner of Golden Gate Bridge ephemera.

Bi-Rite Creamery
3692 18th St (between Dolores & Oakwood)
San Francisco, CA 94110-1531
(415) 241-9760

The salted caramel was incredible. I can’t vouch for any other flavor, but I intend to try as many as I can when next we’re in SF.

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