Bay Area Whirlwind

Our best bud Will has been long distance for a while now… I guess medical school is a good excuse to move away for a few years. He has spent the last two years at Tuoro University working towards becoming a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine! Since Will is about to head out for rotations next year we wanted to head south to see him and explore the Bay Area. We took a long weekend over his spring break and had quite the adventure.

To make the most of a short trip we left home at 2am, and got to take in the fantastic sunrise as we entered California.

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Sunrise headed south into California

The first day we had the driving tour of Mare Island before embarking on the first set of adventures. We went to Oakland’s Redwood Regional Park and took a hike up the hillside to enjoy the natural side of the Bay Area. During our adventure on the way to the park I realized we were near an observatory, who doesn’t love going to observatories? So we discovered the Chabot Space & Science Center. This is a worthy stop for anyone in the area, especially on clear Friday or Saturday evenings as you can do some star gazing through a sweet group of telescopes. We were there to early to view the stars but luckily the moon was over the horizon and we took a look through “Leah”. Leah is a historic 8″ Alvan Clark refractor telescope, and is the original telescope from 1883 donated by Anthony Chabot!

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“Leah” Historic 8″ Alvan Clark refractor telescope donated in 1883

Once we had had our fill of science for the day we crossed the new Bay Bridge into SF to enjoy a cocktail at Bourbon and Branch. I highly recommend a stop there to anyone in the city, but beware it is a secret bar and you have to have reservations or know the password to the library. They also dislike photographs so we have none to share, but all the cocktails were top notch and the bartenders were fantastic.

On day two we traveled to SF by way of the Golden Gate Bridge. We stopped to walk along the waterfront at the St. Francis Yacht Club and the SF Wave Organ, catching some fantastic Golden Gate Views. While in the area we walked over to see the Palace of the Fine Arts Theatre before heading out to explore Chinatown!

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Golden Gate as seen from the St. Francis Yacht Club

The first stop was lunch, and of course you have to get Dimsum. We went to Hang AH Dimsum Tea House which was opened in 1920 and ate our fill before walking through countless shops and searching for a tea house. I am a HUGE fan of Chinese teas, in particular Oolong an Puerh and wanted to leave the city with some delicious teas to sip on. I did not know what I was in for when I stepped into a Vital Tea Leaf. The small shop was lined with options and the tea bar was an adventure, we tried so many teas and in the end the owner opened up a 1990s Puerh for me to taste. I could not leave without it! The shop was an awesome find and I will be back there next time we are in SF without a doubt. The stop reinvigorated my love for teas and traditional brewing techniques.

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So EXCITED for my new teas, two Puerh cakes I picked up. the one on the right was picked in 1990!

To top off the Chinatown adventure we all got reflexology foot massages before dinner, and we visited the Top of the Mark for a spectacular view. Finally we walked a bit of the waterfront to check out the Bay Bridge lights and headed off to bed.

Our last Day was spent in Napa Valley. We had an amazing lunch at Oxbow Public Market, and picked up some spices and GLUTEN FREE SOURDOUGH! It was so yummy. Naz finally got to join us and we headed out through the pouring rain to Castello di Amorosa for a tour of the Castle and wine tasting. The network of underground storage was fascinating and beautiful.

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Naz, Will, Brent, & I in the tasting room at Castello di Amorosa

Since we were so close we also had to head over to Russian River Brewing so Brent and Will could have a flight of top notch beers and a little Pliny.

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Russian River Brewing from our spot at the bar

The next morning we were headed north again and Will and Naz were headed off to lecture. While it was short we packed as much fun as we could into the weekend.

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