a week in Pacifica

Pacifica is a community of about 40,000 extending 6 miles of beaches and hills along the Pacific ocean south of San Francisco.  We are regular annual visitors since 2 sons and better halves and now a grand child live in the area.  And Pacifica is undergoing stress of change as new money moves into a once lower middle class area. Nudged by my sons we now use uber for airport trips and airbnb for lodging and this time we rented a delightful beach house just one block (say 80 yards) from Read more [...]

Australia and New Zealand

I just returned from a trip to Australia and New Zealand.  Perth to attend a nephew's wedding and New Zealand because a) the cheapest tickets were via Auckland; b) I have never been to NZ. I have visited Perth numerous times since the 90's and seen it grow on the mining roller coaster to a significant city.  Australia has also grown and was rated best country in 2014.  As it made more money from mining (iron ore, petroleum, etc.) sales to China  its labor costs increased and manufacturing Read more [...]

ah, Sebastopol!

With our first (and only) grandchild in San Francisco we visit San Francisco (actually the city of South San Francisco) more frequently and like to lodge in the town of Pacifica which has high cliffs overlooking the ocean. Our 2 must visits are Florey's 2nd hand book store and Mike Mooney's Memorial Gardens. We marvel that Florey's still survives with all paperbacks priced $1 and all hardcovers $2, and no customers present other than ourselves.  But each year it is there and we make Read more [...]

visit to the west coast

One of the big life events occurred for me in February - I became a grandfather (for the 1st time) and this occasioned a visit to San Francisco.  Actually South San Francisco which is a town south of San Francisco, fairly close to the airport and really close to Pacifica.  Pacifica is a small town on the Pacific with great walking/running trails and views of the ocean. There is one bookstore to which we make our annual pilgrimage.  This time for $1 I purchased "Guns, Germs and Steel" by Read more [...]

west coast trip – Bodega Bay area and Burbank

Most towns in Bodega Bay area are small and each has a general store with canned goods and occasional fresh vegetables. Gas stations are sparse and you have to travel several towns to find one. You can measure resident size by the number of gas stations - Bodega (where "Birds" by Hitchcock was filmed) has none, Bodega Bay one.  Sebastopol however, has 3 plus a Safeways a Whole Foods and two bookstores! I felt very at home in Sebastopol which reminds me of Asheville NC. A street is named Read more [...]

west coast trip – fulfillment outdoors (part 2)

Larry North of SanFran is Marin county and north of it is Sonoma county and Bodega Bay. The promontory called Bodega Head has craggy cliffs overlooking the ocean with crowds of cormorants and seagulls soaring and calling. On a rocky guano caked outpost flecked with salt foam, squadrons of Pelicans have gathered. And then they pitch forward and off and with powerful wings thrumming they beat above the foaming sea and ascend higher and higher in broad V wave formations until they disappear Read more [...]

west coast trip – fulfillment outdoors (part 1)

Mike We just visited 2 sons in the San Francisco area and as usual lodged at Pacifica.  On the BART train we passed the houses clustered on the hillsides of Daly City which inspired: Little boxes on the hillside, Little boxes made of ticky tacky, Little boxes on the hillside, Little boxes all the same. There are green ones and pink ones and yellow ones and blue ones and today they all cost a lot of money. Pacifica is a small town with undistinguished buildings overlooking the ocean Read more [...]

San Francisco – from food market to food truck

Saturday, August 20, was a good day to visit San Francisco foodwise – first a visit to the Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market and then the 3rd annual La Cocina Food Festival in the Mission District. The Ferry Plaza market is considered one of the top farmers’ markets in the country.   The market is organized by CUESA (the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) which envisions a food system that is environmentally sound; socially just; humane; and, economically viable. Large Read more [...]

Salinas, CA

On the way from Monterey to San Francisco we paused in the Salinas Valley. If anything can trump Carmel Valley it is this valley, known as “the salad bowl of the United States”. Salinas was the hometown of John Steinbeck and the national John Steinbeck museum brings to life his books on the region. I chuckled on his comments when he revisited Carmel later in life: “And Carmel, begun by starveling writers and unwanted painters, is now a community of the well-to-do and the retired. If Carmel’s Read more [...]

Monterey and Carmel, CA

It seems to me that the areas north and south of San Francisco are ideally located for organic growing – excellent growing conditions and the wealth of San Francisco provides great consumer demand for the more expensive organic produce.   My son lives and works in the San Francisco area and on previous trips we visited the redwood forests and organic growing areas of Marin county to the north of San Francisco.  This time we headed for Monterey with its striking, natural and unspoiled shoreline. The Read more [...]