San Francisco – EverydayInsider! (TM) Trip 13

Today I am continuing to describe several more stops on San Francisco’s celebrated 49 Mile Drive!

21. Fort Mason Center

Just further west from the commercial areas of Fisherman’s Wharf, you’ll find the 13 acre hub of one of the world’s largest urban parks — the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Fort Mason anchors a number of museums, theaters and galleries amidst great natural splendor, in 3 counties: San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin.

The Golden Gate National Parks were established in 1972, as part of efforts to make national parks more accessible to city dwellers and bring “parks to the people.” These parks’ 75,500 acres of land and water extend north from San Francisco, across the Golden Gate Bridge to Tomales Bay in Marin County and south of the City, into San Mateo County.

The parks contain many historical and cultural sites, for example: Alcatraz Prison, the California Redwood groves of Muir Woods National Monument and the historic, original Spanish military Presidio of San Francisco. Within 19 unique ecosystems and 7 distinct watersheds, there are 5 National Historic Landmarks and 61 archeological sites. The parks’ mandate is to preserve a wealth of natural and historic treasures.

___ At Fort Mason, there’s bike and hiking trails, meadows, a Benjamin Bufano scultpture (Benny was SF’s most beloved and a world-renowned sculptor) and more. Check Fort Mason’s roster at Fort Mason, San Francisco special events calendar. Fort Mason map

___ Periodically, free Fort Mason – historic walking tours are offered. Or, check (415) 557-4266.

___ And the celebrated vegetarian restaurant, Greens, San Francisco started by world renowned chef Debra Madison in 1979, is still at Fort Mason, with another chef, Annie Sommerville at the helm. Greens was the first major top-tier vegetarian restaurant that I know of. When it opened, people were shocked that anyone was trying to upscale vegetarian food! The restaurant has amazing Bay views.

Lunch: Tues – Sat 11:45 am – 2:30 pm
Brunch: Sunday 10:30 am – 2 pm
Cafe Dinner: Sun – Fri 5:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Prix Fixe Dinner: Saturday 5:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Greens to Go: Mon – Thurs 8 am – varies seasonally
Fri – Sat 8 am – varies seasonally
Sunday 9 am – 4 pm

The Saturday Prix-Fixe “set menu Dinner is $49 per person, without taxes or tips.

Since 1979, Greens has focused on organic, local, sustainable produce brought in from nearby small family farms and their own garden at Green Gulch in Marin County, across the Golden Gate Bridge.

___ At Fort Mason, there is also an organic farmer’s market held every Sunday through Fall. Fort Mason hosts a fantastic neighborhood farmers market just inside the parking gates and it runs from 9:30am until 1:30 pm on Sundays.

Residents and visitors can come on down to Greens for Brunch and then, on the way home, pick up farm fresh, sustainable produce for your Sunday supper! Remember to bring your own canvas shopping bag and please leave your pets with friends since they are not welcome at the market.

___ Among other interesting groups, one to think about at Fort Mason is Long Now, San Francisco where people are planning the next 10,000 years of human and societal evolution, and of course the near future is the one we need to worry about most. Learn more about this exciting, innovative project.

22. Marina Green, a picture-postcard, grassy waterfront recreational area, is partly bordered by small, classic 1920’s SF homes and partly by the SF Bay. Originally, it was used in the Panama-Pacific Exposition which San Francisco hosted in 1915, just 9 years after the devastating earthquake. This area is on ground “reclaimed” by dumping the earthquake debris, which happened when 2/3 of the city was destroyed and every nook and cranny was needed to get rid of it all.

The Green is a good place to watch yachting activities. It also includes Crissy Field, which was originally an airfield (it was the site of the first successful helicopter flight in the western US), now helps with environmental education and also offers bayside and tidal vantage points. It also is a level walk with a Marina Green walking route and map. If you go on the route, be sure to find and listen to the Wave Organ.

If you love to fly kites, as I do, this is one of my favorite places to do so in San Francisco.

23. Palace of Fine Arts was built for the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition, and it has been restored to its original glory. Now it contains the Exploratorium science museum and the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre. Read my original article about this area. The Exploratorium, San Francisco

More on the 49 Mile Drive tomorrow. Read more of the 49 Mile series at the link to Part 1.

Part 1: San Francisco Everyday Insider

San Francisco Archive

©2010 mystic at Travel Vacation Review

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