San Francisco, California

Time with good friends is something that nurtures even the most stressed-out overachiever. Especially when that time is spent in the Bay Area on a sun-filled Sunday.

Recently, I met with two friends in San Francisco for work, and we extended our stay to take time off from the nonstop pace of our professional lives. Waking up to fog on a Sunday morning, we started out with museums in mind. As we started out, the sun pushed through the fog and led us on an entirely surprising, inspiring day.

Beginning near Lake Merced in San Francisco and winding our way down the Great Highway to the Palace of Legion of Honor, we were treated to views of the Golden Gate Bridge poking through the fog. For those who haven’t seen the bridge from the west side, the expanse of the San Francisco Bay beyond the Golden Gate affords a glimpse of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area extending to the Marin Headlands and the lighthouse at Point Bonita, the north entrance to the bay.

As we continued our drive, we entered the Lake District, an upscale neighborhood bound by the Presidio of San Francisco to the north, Presidio Heights to the east (Arguello Boulevard) and the Inner Richmond to the south. In the midst of such luxury, we chanced on a sign that said “Public Beach.”

Taking a sharp turn to the left, we “discovered” China Beach and members of the San Francisco Fire Department taking to the waves for some recreational boogie boarding in heavy surf — not something for tourists to try! Pelicans flying above, a school of dolphins within sight and a harbor seal added to the excitement.

Refreshed, we continued over the Golden Gate Bridge to Fort Baker, just below the northern end of the Bridge. At the newly opened Cavallo Point Lodge, we relaxed in rocking chairs on the porch, had a drink and reflected on the joys of this part of California before we reluctantly left for the airport.

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I'm going to have to get down there sometime soon. (I currently live in Santa Rosa, about an hour north).

You say the firemen surf on Sundays?


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