A few things I loved about this week: getting my nails done after way too long, pay day and reminiscing about the last day of my girlfriend getaway while writing this post. The past two Fridays, I shared Part One and Part Two of my trip to Napa. Today is all about the last day of our vacation.
We spent that Monday morning packing, cleaning up the house, and saying our goodbyes to the beautiful Vacaville scenery. Jessie was flying back to Jacksonville, Mississippi early afternoon, so we knew we needed to get on the road in order to get her to the San Francisco airport in time for her flight. As we dropped her off, reality began to loom—we don’t have many opportunities to all be together and the fact that our vacation time was dwindling made me sad.
And then there were three. Since Dani, Jenny and I all live in Chicago, we had made plans to fly back Tuesday morning. This gave us one last day of vacation to spend exploring San Francisco. Before we checked-in to our hotel, Le Méridien San Francisco, we made a very important stop for donuts. I’m a sucker for a good donut. There are a ton of really great donut places in Chicago. Also, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, amiright? I had been eyeing the donuts from Mr. Holmes Bakehouse on instagram for a while and I was really excited to finally try them for myself.
(This picture is courtesy Mr. Holmes’ instagram account—I ate mine before I could get a picture.)
Mr. Holmes is a small donut and pastry shop located in the Tenderloin neighborhood. By the time we arrived, late morning, there were only a few selections left. I’ve read that on the weekends, they sell out pretty quickly, so if you visit, the earlier the better. I went with chocolate—a light, puffy donut, filled with airy chocolate mousse and rolled in granulated sugar. They also sell danishes, muffins and croissants. And because Mr. Holmes must be a really smart guy, they also combined muffins and croissants into the cruffin, which they start selling daily at 9am. Full disclosure, the area around the bakeshop is a little seedy, so we decided to take our donuts to the nearby Alamo Square Park, for a view of the famous painted ladies—those recognizable, colorful, iconic row houses that San Fran is known for and are featured at the beginning of Full House (one of the greatest shows ever).Speaking of, we found the Full House house, and it’s not one of the painted ladies like we originally assumed. It’s located close to the park on Broderick Street and after a fresh coat of exterior paint, the house looks a little different than it did on T.V. in the 90s. (It’s the one in the middle in the picture above.)
After freshening up a little at the hotel, we decided to hit the streets and explore the city. We walked from the Financial District towards Fisherman’s Wharf. The views of the bay are beautiful. We really lucked out with the weather, the sky was clear and the sun was shining. There was only a light breeze as we walked along the water. We stopped for lunch at Chowders on Pier 39. This area was pretty touristy, but then again, we were tourists, so we probably fit right in. I ordered clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl and the girls ordered fish sandwiches. I wouldn’t say it was best clam chowder I’ve ever had, but I did love the bread bowl. In all honesty, what’s not to love about a bowl made of bread? Regardless, the atmosphere made for a nice lunch.
After lunch, the sightseeing continued. We saw the sea lions on Pier 39 and then walked to Ghirardelli Square. The lines for the sweet treats at Ghirardelli were pretty long so we decided to opt out—however, even the air smelled like delicious chocolate. In this area, there was an even longer line to get on the cable cars, so we kept walking hoping we would catch a ride further along the route.
San Francisco has some serious hills and we were definitely feeling the burn as we walked—it was pretty much a “buns of steel” workout. (Which was probably good since I ate all. the. carbs. that day.) We passed Lombard Street (the steep, recognizable street with 8 sharp turns), stopped for a few pictures and then, in perfect timing, a Powell-Hyde cable car came by and we hopped on. Since there were no available seats, we had to hold on practically hanging off the side. It was such a fun way to see the city. Honestly, I think I could have stayed on all day—seeing the sights and riding around the city. I felt like I was in a Rice-A-Roni commercial. We rode to the end of the line, which put us near Union Square.
We did a little shopping on our way back to the hotel. There are a ton of stores in the Union Square area. After a quick walk through Chinatown, we went back to our room to relax a little and make plans for that night.We made a dinner reservation at A16—an Italian eatery in the Marina neighborhood. There, we shared a bottle of wine, burrata appetizer, pasta and pizza. Unfortunately, I didn’t get great pictures of dinner, but I will say, the food was really authentic Italian—everything was fresh, the pasta was made in-house, and the pizza crust, my favorite part, was chewy and delicious. Overall, it was a really great experience.
Since it was our last night of vacation, we knew we wanted to go out with a bang. We did some searching on bars nearby, but felt like we wanted to do something a little different than typical bar hopping. And then it happened. We somehow stumbled upon YamaSho, a Japanese restaurant, in Lower Nob Hill, that offers private karaoke rooms. Sold! We figured we would start our night there—do a little drinking, a little singing and then see where the night would take us. We were escorted to our private room, complete with colored spotlights and a large screen where videos and the lyrics played. Using a keypad, we could easily select songs and add them to our queue. The room was equipped with a phone we used to order drinks. They also gave us two microphones and a tambourine…which we used…a lot. There’s no way I can accurately describe what went down in that room that night. It was kind of magic. We BELTED out the best of Britney, Whitney, Cher, Christina, Journey, Salt-N-Pepa and so many more.
Y’all, we left YamaSho, three hours later. No, you didn’t read that wrong, I said THREE hours later. At that point we had zero energy left for bar hopping and barely any voices left. We had so much fun dancing and singing our little hearts out and we just knew no matter how hard we tried, nothing would top that. So, instead we called it a night and headed back to the hotel.
The next morning, there was only time to return the rental car and then make our way to the airport. Sadly, vacation was over. The trip was really wonderful though—we made so many fun memories, it was low-key and stress-free, and everything went smoothly. It was exactly how I wanted to celebrate turning 30 and I know the girls would agree.
See you next Friday! xx, Devon