Family Vacation Overhaul in San Francisco

My sister Beth took a job at Alcatraz back in April. It's a temporary gig, and she didn’t know how long she’d be out there for, so before she could even get her bearings, my sisters and I were like, we’re planning a visit and you’re the tour guide so you better know everything about San Francisco, great and thanks. 

Beth, of course, was cool w/ this plan. She’s the laid back one.

When we were telling our parents about our eventual sistas trip out west, they decided it sounded like too much fun and before we knew it, a huge McCarthy vacation was being planned, circa 1995 when we would load up the family station wagon and head to Philadelphia/Baltimore/Toronto for a week of family togetherness and general misery. 

This time we were all flying separately and booked an Air B&B so we had our own space and we’re all adults so we figured our parents couldn’t just drag us to the mint and embarrass us by packing lunches and having spontaneous park bench picnics when normal families paid the money to eat at the nearby restaurant. Funnily enough, we did end up packing lunches and eating on park benches b/c you can take the girl out of McCarthy (by marriage), but you can’t take the McCarthy out of the girl.

San Francisco is incredible. I can’t believe two weeks ago we were wandering Chinatown and eating fortune cookies fresh from the assembly line oven and zipping along on a cable car and now I’m back in Massachusetts w/ the humidity and the thunderstorms and wondering why the east coast has anyone living here at all when the west coast is clearly where it’s at.

As w/ all McCarthy trips, we did a TON of research ahead of time. We didn’t have every day itineraried out (is it just me or does itinerary really work as a verb?) but we had the spots we wanted to visit and a general outline for how the trip would go. There was the expected grumpiness and confusion of herding a group of eight adults around a city no one was really familiar with, but the trip was well worth all the stress and planning. It was the first (and maybe the last) time we’ve all been together like that as adults, visiting a new city and taking it in as tourists, and it was so great to experience it together.

Looking for recommendations? Let me know! I’m basically a local after all the research I did.

What I absolutely don’t recommend is taking the train from the airport to a station two miles from your lodging and walking said miles as your first memory of the city. Sure, it’s nice and flat and interesting at first, but a mile in you spy the infamous hills the city is so known for and realize it’s not so much an incline as a steep stairway to hell. Soon enough you’re lugging your suitcase behind you and arguing w/ your partner about whose brilliant idea this was and resigned to spending the rest of the trip icing your calves. 

Still, I’d take that gnarly walk, suitcase in hand, right now if it meant being back together w/ my family, slathering on sunscreen every hour on the hour and arguing over whose turn it is to carry the backpacks (ugh, NOT mine).


Yeewuz said…
Great photos btw. I'm gonna have to go through your phone.

Also, it wasn't just the climb itself that made the walk awful. It was learning on our return trip that a door-to-door Lyft ride was only $8 more than our BART ride + 2 mile walk. Le sigh.
Sarah said…
Great summary, except I don't recall you ever carrying the backpack... Maybe I just didn't notice because there was always sunscreen in my eyes, or I was too busy wondering where Jade met Mason and if we were on a street that Mason drove the Humvee down, or I was wondering when we would get ice cream.

My Lyft back to the airport was WAY more than what I hoped it would be, but maybe that is because I was coming from Sausalito (heavy emphasis on the first syllable is recommended).

You didn't mention all the great places we ate, maybe that is a separate post.
Spot on comment. I also don't remember Brigid carrying the backpack. Great pics. And you never did get to see where Jade met Mason.