Sunday, March 17, 2013

Ma che bella!

MUNI is the city's bus system. The 30 Stockton bus may be caught right downtown off Market Street, not far from L'Hotel des Flingers, and will take you directly to Columbus Avenue, the front porch of North Beach's historically Italian neighborhood.

Right next door is the Chinatown neighborhood, the boundary of which you can identify by changes in storefront offerings.

Just off Columbus Ave, on Montgomery, is William Stout Books, a fantastic bookstore with lots of architecture, gardening, and landscape books.

It's worth a visit even if you don't have room in your luggage for all the books you're going to want.
OH WAIT! They ship domestically and internationally.

There are too many shops, restaurants and cafes in North Beach to recommend any one.
The best way to decide is to walk up and down Columbus Ave and any side streets that catch your interest to decide for yourself.

I will, however, say that on a sunny weekday a stop to buy some focaccia here:

Liguria Bakery 1700 Stockton

and take it across the street to be eaten here (the park, not the church)

Washington Square Park
would not be an unworthy use of one's time.

And what is a neighborhood without ice cream, or, more specifically gelato?
Helen can find some here:

at Gelateria Naia

or here:

at Gelato Classico.


Monday, March 11, 2013

Sneak Peak - The Nichols Garden

I recently went to visit another garden that will be on the Fling tour. I am super-excited about it and I thought I'd give you all quick preview.

Created by Ann Nichols, an avid plant lover with an exceptional eye, the garden is full of delightful surprises with treasures everywhere you look.

I know you guys are going to love it!

And don't forget (as of 3.11.13) there are only 15 spots left on the San Francisco Fling! If you haven't registered yet, make sure and get your spot before they are all gone!

You can register here.

Sunday, March 3, 2013


From your fling hotel, head down (AKA to the right) Market Street toward the bay, until you reach the Embarcadero. You may also take BART the few stops to Embarcadero station.

You will find yourself facing the Ferry Building Marketplace:

a building which has been converted into a food and shopping destination, while still providing embarkation and disembarkation for bay ferries and selling ferry tickets.

Ferries are used by commuters; you can take a ferry from here across the bay to Oakland's Jack London Square.
Other pleasure ferries take visitors to Alcatraz and Angel Islands, and Marin county locations.
You can also find information about ferry trips and purchase ferry tickets inside the Ferry Building Marketplace here.

Also inside the Ferry Building Marketplace you will find places to eat, have a coffee, and browse shops selling locally produced items including olive oil, cheeses, and ceramics. The olive oil is delicious, and the ceramics are iconic.

heath ceramics

ferry building now

ferry building then

Hmm. What have I neglected to mention?
Oh yes, that's right, you can also find ice cream, in the form of gelato, here, at Ciao Bella.
Helen, you're good for another day.

After your gelato, you can perambulate in either direction. South of the Ferry Building is Rincon Park, a public open space that revitalized a previously desolate section of waterfront.

Thank your local landscape architects for creating a successful destination.

The public piers also provide locations for views and general good feelings.

From these locations along the water you will also be in an excellent position to view the upcoming Bay Lights, an installation that, starting March 5, will be up for two years.

North along the Embarcadero are other local treasures, including the Exploratorium, the coolest interactive science museum/workshop/experimental space ever.

Its brand-new location will be open by the time flingers arrive!
And it includes exhibits on plants!

Continuing north will deliver one to more destinations, including ferries for Alcatraz Island, an aquarium, the tourist-choked Cannery and Fisherman's Wharf, and the promenade at Aquatic Park.

And what else is available northward, you ask? More ice cream. There are two locations, but in the spirit of fair play I will count them as one.