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San Francisco Here We Come


 San Francisco is such a great city.  The water, the history, the hills, the charm.  I love going there and am very excited that many trips to this complex city are in our future since our son and daughter-in-law live there now.

We recently had a long weekend in S.F. to celebrate a special occasion–our son’s 35th birthday.  While this post is going to be a bit random, here are the highlights.

We spent a couple of nights at Cavallo Point Lodge, on the Sausalito side of the city.  The view of the Golden Gate bridge from this fairly  newly opened resort, is spectacular.  I love the “Golden Gate orange” of the bridge and how it looks against a blue sky.  Yes, we were lucky. Sunshine and blue sky for the slightly more than 48 hours we were there.

The lodge itself is interesting.  It started it’s life as an Army Post–Fort Baker.  Many of the buildings were constructed between 1902 and 1910 around a center parade ground. Barracks, a hospital, a gym, commanding officers housing and offices are all there. More were added later.

A couple of years ago, the whole shebang was converted to a resort with buildings turned into dining, meeting rooms, spa, shop and new places to stay.  It’s all very close to Sausalito so the resort runs shuttles into town and to and from the ferry.













Visiting Sausalito was a real treat–it’s a small resort like town lots of street life and cute shops.  In the short time were there we were entertained by a man with a parrot and on Sunday morning, a the compelling sound of bagpipes.  I’m a nut about bagpipes and men in Kilts so we followed them.  Turns out it is an annual event for the small Scottish Presbyterian church to commemorating the    KIRKIN’ O’ THE TARTAN


The Kirkin’ o’ the Tartan tradition is an old Highland one. After the defeat of the Scots by the English in 1746, the wearing of the tartan and the keeping of any Highland ways or culture was forbidden in hopes this would forever subdue the rebellious Scottish spirit. However, as the Scots were fervent Christians, and canny as well, they clung to their ancient traditions by putting them underground.

One Sunday a year, the populace went to church (Kirk) wearing a concealed piece of the tartan and, at a certain moment set aside in the service, the tartan was touched while the minister pronounced a blessing on all tartans and the Scots once more pledged their loyalty and respect for their old traditions.

This was all great fun and so unexpected.


A highlight of our sightseeing time was seeing the Bay Bridge all lit up.  The Bay Lights is the world’s largest LED light sculpture, 1.8 miles wide and 500 feet high. Inspired by the Bay Bridge’s 75th Anniversary, its 25,000 white LED lights are individually programmed by artist Leo Villareal to create a never-repeating, dazzling display across the Bay Bridge West Span through 2015. It is  eight times the scale of the Eiffel Tower’s 100th Anniversary lighting.

 Best of all, we got to see our son’s workshop for his fledging business J-Storm Urban Maps.  Yes, this is a shameless plug.  Here’s some photos of work in progress and a link to the web site so readers can learn more.  He’s really working hard and doing great things.

Post Author
Susan J. Smith
Susan's career includes writing for newspapers, lots of community work and a wonderful family life. Now she is enjoying traveling, photography and writing for DesignDestinations and Grand Rapids Magazine. She welcomes you on her journey and appreciates your comments.


  1. posted by
    May 6, 2013 Reply

    Thanks for the info on Bay Bridge lights. We just returned and made sure to make our way down to the bay after dinner one night to observe. Spectacular!

  2. posted by
    Cuteness of Carmel | DesignDestinations
    Apr 28, 2014 Reply

    […] then one of the highlights of our visit:  The Bagpiper.  Folks who know me, know I’m crazy about bagpipes.  Turns out that every day a bagpiper pipes […]

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