Hello again! I hope you enjoyed reading about the first part of my trip to California, Exploring California: Daddy Daughter Adventure. Next my dad and I moved from Sequoia to San Fran, it was there we met up with my mom!
As we began the latter part of our trip we decided to spend our first day venturing around the city to various “hidden gems”.
Hidden Gem #1: The Cliff House & Sutro Baths
Our first stop of the day was The Cliff House. Now, I had never heard of this place prior to arriving and even while there I could not grasp an understanding of what I was looking at. Even so, it was still incredible to see this phenomenal piece of architecture build along the ragged cliffs of the Pacific.
Adjacent to the house was an area known as the Sutro Baths. While visiting this area, to me it appeared as only destroyed ruins filled from the tide. It was an intriguing area. It wasn’t until I researched these two structures, learning about their history, I could truly appreciate their existence.
A self made millionaire, Adolph Sutro claimed ownership to The Cliff House in the late 1800’s. He was the primary owner of the house til the early 1900’s when he passed and his daughter claimed residency, remodeling it into the restaurant it is today. The house has undergone 6 remodels, build only 200 feet above sea level. The most well known remodel was that of Sutro’s in 1896. Towering to eight stories, the structure was easily identifiable with its castle-like components. (Take a look at the image below, the architecture is incredible)
Sutro had a high interest in marine biology, inspiring his idea for the Sutro Baths. Sutro wanted to create an inexpensive swimming recreation area for the residents of San Francisco. He created a massive public bathhouse, containing 7 swimming pools which could serve more than10,000 people.
This is what the Sutro Baths were like in the 1900’s.
Today, one would not have a clue of what once stood there! This was our view over the baths with Cliff House off in the distance.
Okay I’ll quit boring you with history, but I guess my take away message is when I was visiting this area I thought it was no more than a house and few rocks filled with water. But, when I did a little research and learned their history, I was truly amazed by the stories behind these structures and I gained so much more appreciation.
So, the next time you visit some where that might seem insignificant, do a little research. I’m sure you will find it has one incredible story.
Hidden Gem #2: Land’s End & The Labyrinth
Next on our list was Land’s End. While, Land’s End is not necessarily a hidden gem it does have some unique findings within.
First off, the views from Land’s End out over the Pacific can be quite stunning, especially when the Golden Gate is visible. Unfortunately we had a very foggy and windy day (as you can see in the photo) so our views became slightly limited. Regardless of the weather it was still quite the sight to see!
My mom and I as we try not to blow away at the point of Land’s End! If you squint hard enough you can see the Golden Gate Bridge through the fog off in the distance!
Prior to our trip I had done a little research on places to go in San Francisco. It was upon one of my many findings I discovered the Labyrinth. It is hidden within Land’s End, and a little bit of a hike to get to, but once there it is an extraordinary sight.
A local artist created the Labyrinth as a place of peace which he intended to stay anonymous, but that did not last long. Now, the artist has created multiple labyrinths in various sections of San Francisco! The next time you visit this area I encourage you to find them all!
To conclude our first day traveling as a family we returned to the town of Petaluma, where our hotel was located! Here, we enjoyed a delicious dinner at the famous McNear’s. It is such a neat experience to dine at a venue which has a developed a strong history within a small town.
That was a wrap on our first day exploring fog city and thus far it truly has lived up to it’s nickname!
Again, a special thank you to the National Parks Service for preserving these grounds so we could visit and enjoy a piece of history!
Look out for my next post, as we continue our journey through San Francisco!