Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Land's End Photos

I've written in the past about how much I like Land's End in San Francisco.  This is a patch of rough coast between Sea Cliff and Ocean Beach below the Legion of Honor and Fort Miley.  Monday was a spectacular day in San Francisco so I headed out to Land's End with my camera.  I started at the Legion of Honor and walked east on El Camino del Mar.  Just before the road enters Sea Cliff I started walking west on the Coastal Trail.  Near the end of the Coastal Trail I walked up the steps to the USS San Francisco Memorial.  Then I walked back to the Legion of Honor via the old part of El Camino del Mar that is now a trail.  The round-trip  took about one hour.  I posted some photos from the trip on the Blue Heron Facebook page, which you can access by clicking on the title above.  Here are some additional photos:

Golden Gate Bridge from El Camino del Mar

Downtown from Legion of Honor

Marin Headlands from El Camino del Mar

Point Bonita from the Coastal Trail

I hope you enjoy seeing some of the spectacular views from Land's End.  Try to stop by on your next journey to San Francisco.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

"Mrs. Doubtfire's" House

My tours of San Francisco usually include a drive through Pacific Heights,  I usually start at Broadway and Steiner and finish where Broadway ends at Lyon Street.  On the SE corner of Broadway and Steiner, you can see "Mrs. Doubtfire's" house, the home where Robin Williams and Sally Field lived in the 1993 film, "Mrs. Doubtfire."  An unusual aspect of the film is that the actual address of the house, 2640 Steiner Street, is mentioned.  My understanding is that this home was selected because Robin Williams lived a couple of houses away on Broadway and didn't want a long commute to work.  He knew the owners, who agreed to move out during filming.  Of course, they were financially rewarded for their inconvenience.

Further west on Broadway, you can see some of the largest homes in San Francisco, including a 7 bedroom home with a private tennis court that is currently being offered for $45,000,000.

If you would like to take a private tour of San Francisco that includes a stop at "Mrs. Doubtfire's" house, contact Blue Heron Custom Tours and Travel by phoning (866) 326-4237 (toll free) or e-mailing

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

San Francisco and Shanghai - Sister Cities

Shanghai and San Francisco became sister cities in 1980.  To celebrate the 30th anniversary of this partnership as well as Shanghai's hosting of Expo 2010, San Francisco is hosting a number of events this year.  The main feature is the Asian Art Museum's "Shanghai," an exhibition running through September 5.  I must admit that I was underwhelmed by the exhibit, which features an overview of art produced in Shanghai over the past 170 years.  I found the exhibit too scattered with little holding it together.  Nevertheless, if you are in town, stop by the Asian Art Museum.  Even if you don't enjoy "Shanghai," the permanent collection provides a pretty good overview of Asian Art, especially from South Asia, China, and Japan.  Admission to the permanent collection and "Shanghai" costs $17 unless you go between 5:00 and 9:00 p.m. on Thursday when the price is $10.  Discounts are available for seniors, youth, and college students.

I also stopped by the Presidio Officers Club to see "The Jews in Modern China," an exhibition of photographs and memorabilia showcasing the Jewish communities in Shanghai and other Chinese cities during the period from 1840 to1949.  There's a lot of text to read but, if you are unfamiliar with this Chapter in Chinese or Jewish history, take a look when are in the Presidio.  The exhibit is open Wednesday to Sunday from 11:00 to 5:00 and admission is free.

If you would like to take a private tour of San Francisco that includes a stop to see "The Jews in Modern China," contact Blue Heron Custom Tours and Travel at (866) 326-4237 (toll free) or

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Beautiful Wildflowers at Chimney Rock

We've had a fair amount of rain this winter, which means wildflowers should be abundant this spring.  For the past month or so wine country has been full of bright yellow mustard flowers.

My favorite spot to view wildflowers is Chimney Rock in Point Reyes National Seashore, about 2 hours north of San Francisco.  Here you can see California Poppies, Indian Paintbrush, Douglas' Iris, California Buttercup, Sky Lupine, and dozens of other flowers.

(Photo courtesy of the National Park Service)

In addition to seeing multicolored fields of flowers, a walk along the bluffs near Chimney Rock will reward you with views of the Pacific as well as Drakes Bay.  You might also see hundreds of elephant seals on the beaches below the cliffs.

Chimney Rock lies on the south end of Point Reyes.  On the north end you can visit the Point Reyes Lighthouse, which is open daily except on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  Be prepared to walk down, and then up, 308 stairs to reach the lighthouse.  This is a good spot to look for migrating gray whales.

The best months for viewing wildflowers are usually April and May.  Elephant seals breed from December through March.  Gray whales pass by on their migration between Alaska and Baja California from January through April.

The only way to get to Chimney Rock and Point Reyes Lighthouse is by car.  On weekends through mid-April, you'll need to park at the Drakes Beach parking lot and then take a shuttle bus to Chimney Rock and/or the Point Reyes Lighthouse.  Don't want to drive.  Let Blue Heron Custom Tours and Traveltake you on a private tour of Point Reyes and West Marin County.  For more information, please phone me at (866) 326-4237 (toll free) or e-mail me at