^^ The first night we stayed in the city near Fisherman's Wharf with my parents and sister (who all also came to town!). We stayed at Columbus Motor Inn, which sounds kind of shady, but we've been staying there every year (well, usually we stay with family the majority of the time, but also a night here and my parents/sister stay here the whole time) and you guys, it's amazing. It's nothing fancy, but it's in prime location (few blocks from Fisherman's Wharf), near tons of great restaurants and the trolly. This hotel also has FREE parking and the rooms are big. They included a pack and play in the room so we didn't have to lug that along, which was huge.
So, the first day we arrived, after a long and not so great flight, we hit the Wharf to chase birds, see the Golden Gate bridge and Alcatraz from afar and eat an early dinner. As we were walking along, we stopped to watch a fisherman cleaning off his boat and were delighted by the friendly guest in the water waiting for scraps. Liam was amazed by the Sea Lion that kept poking his head up to say hello. It was a great place to go to get out some energy and see something new. :)
^^ We spent an afternoon in Sausalito, just on the north side of the Golden Gate bridge and a fun drive over it! I loved this sweet town - completely charming. The town spills into the bay from an enormous hill, which houses stuck into the side similar to what I've seen photos of Greece looking like. We walked along the their main street, stopping for lunch at Scoma's, a book store for new San Francisco books for the kids and to get ice cream.
I had been to the Scoma's in Fisherman's Wharf many time before, including last year (a family favorite), but had never tried this location. It was fantastic. I could see it being a really romantic dinner for a couple, but they were super nice to us during lunch with two tired kids.
Along our walk in the town, we stopped to watch a man building rock statues with nothing but his hands. We would meticulously hold rocks on top of one another, gently rocking it around to find each rock's balance. He spent a few minutes on each rock until it was steady all alone. Then he'd slap it with some sort of thin stick about two inches wide to test it's balance. It was magical. These rocks were balanced upon each other, larger ones on top of small ones, rocks slanted in ways that nothing could possibly stay atop it, built 4-5 up. I had to be peeled away as he started a new one and my family was ready to move on...
We ended the trip with a big ol' family-reunion styled dinner at my great-grandma's retirement home. It was great, because the kids got to spend even more quality time with her (we visited with her every day we were there in between sight seeing and touristy adventures) and Nora got to meet the rest of her CA family. Plus, they had toys for Liam to play with and ample space to run around! It was a great end to a great trip.
We can't wait to go back next year! Miss you already, CA family! xo