Most Americas know that San Francisco is beautiful, arguably America's most beautiful city. With its rolling vistas, beautiful architecture and charm, everyone should experience it at least once in their lifetime. For me, the Bay Area is my home. My home, home. The place I grew up and remember from a sensory perspective. The smell of the summer, the jasmine, the dirt and the crispness of the air, childhood memories flood me every time I visit. For the past few summers, I have been migrating West with my family whenever possible so that they can enjoy and understand the vastness of the beauty there.
The Golden Gate Bridge as seen from Land's End on a foggy morning (every morning in SF is foggy!)
This past week, all of my sons have left for outdoor adventure camp with Overland Adventures -- Zack to Alaska and Luke and Del to the Sierras. I am missing them terribly but thrilled for what they are seeing and doing. While they are having fun, I am catching up with friends and family, and working. This past Sunday, I took a hike with friends on one of the best hiking trails in SF, Land's End is a beautiful walk up and down dirt paths along the Pacific Coast with spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the city. They are almost too good to be real.
This particular hiking trail has a huge pay off at the end, the legendary Cliff House sits out on a rock right at the edge of the land and on a clear day has beautiful views of the Pacific ocean. There are several restaurants and a museum to explore. Over Bloody Mary's and brunch, we talk about the beauty of the setting which is a familiar theme in Northern California. Most anywhere you travel there, people will always talk about their appreciation for the setting, the land and its history. Cliff House is an indelible part of San Francisco's history.
An image of the second Cliff House in 1896
Originally built in the mid 1800s, incredibly there have been three actual Cliff Houses, the first two both destroyed by separate fires. Visited and enjoyed by the wealthy classes of the 1800s and early 1900s only to be neglected and run down, burned to ground and rise up again and again. From local to national politicians, there have U.S. presidents who visited the Cliff House and enjoyed its splendor. The current Cliff House has been rebuilt to it previous glory and is a crown jewel in the Golden Gate Park system. Now an urban park in addition to the actual Cliff House, it is one of the city's most popular and yet, not commonly known attractions. I highly recommend a hike and a visit, be sure and make your reservation for lunch of dinner. Live music is available on many nights and it is a draw for both locals and tourists.
To Visit -- Cliff House, 1090 Point Lobos Ave, San Francisco
(415) 386-3330-- www.cliffhouse.com
On the back of the menu for brunch, my friends read aloud this beautiful story and I just had to share it below. Have a great day.
A philosophy professor stood before his class with some items in front of him. When the class began, without a word, he picked up a very large empty jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks, each about two inches in diameter. He then asked the class if the jar was full. They all agreed that it was.
So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks.
He then asked the class again if the jar was full. They all agreed it was.
The professor picked up a bag of sand and poured it into the jar. The sand filled in between the pebbles. He then asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with an unanimous...yes.
The professor then produced a bottle of red wine from under the table and proceeded to pour the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand.
"Now," said the professor, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The rocks being the important things - your family, your health, and your children - things that if everything else were lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.
The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, your car. The sand is everything else...the small stuff.
'If you put the sand into the jar first there would be no room for the pebbles or the rocks. The same goes for your life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.'
One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the wine represented.
The professor smiled, "I'm glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a good bottle of wine.''