When I visited New York in December, I took my book, The Travelers, along for some photo ops. We visited my old neighborhood on the Upper West Side and took pictures in front of the apartment building where I used to live, among other places. No, it’s not weird to say “we” in reference to myself and an inanimate object, in this case a book. And, no, the fact that people looked at me like a crazy person as I propped up The Travelers in windows, subway stations and restaurants didn’t discourage me from doing it again in a new location, this time San Francisco!

And to up the bookish quotient this time around, I’m also going to add a book suggestion that somehow relates to or represents the experience. Here we go!

Morning Glory

The day started out unusually sunny. From what my best friend tells me life in San Francisco these days has been pretty gloomy. But, yesterday we had the kind of sun that apparently inspires 11-year-old girls to perform pirouettes in verdant backyards. Verdant might be the word for the day. Thanks to all the rain, San Francisco is very green right now. That may have subconsciously influenced visits several green-related places.

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Book Inspiration: This is San Francisco by Miroslav Sasek

Scenic Serenity

After frolicking in the backyard sun, we set off for some sightseeing so we could capture this fleeting golden moment. First we trekked up the winding roads to Inspiration Point, which provides a panoramic view of the bay, including the rocky island of the infamous Alcatraz. Like the morning sun, the beauty of this vista also needed to be celebrated by jumping in the air, this time in a synchronized fashion.

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Since we’re talking about Alcatraz, here’s a fun fact: Alcatraz, which was a military fort before it was a prison, means “strange birds” or pelican and was named in 1775 by Spanish explorer Lt. Juan Manuel de Ayala. Native Americans, however, were not fond of the place, calling it “Evil Island” and believing it to be cursed. 

Book inspiration: Escape from Alcatraz: The True Crime Classic by J. Campbell Bruce

Golden Gate Goodness

Next we ‘traveled’ on over to the Golden Gate Bridge, where The Travelers made its first appearance of the day, admiring the rust-colored architectural giant that cuts through the muddy blue-gray miasma surrounding the bay. The sun had already started to disappear. But the view still stunned.

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The Travelers also took a moment to look out across the grass, thick with color, and into the landscape where the cool blue of the water washed over the skyline.

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Book inspiration: The Twice Lost (The Lost Voices Trilogy Book 3) by Sarah Porter

Eating Green

Next we went in search of a vegetarian restaurant with gluten-free options. Usually finding a restaurant like this taxes both my patience and the yelp search capabilities. But, not in San Francisco. It’s one of the few cities where if I go into any restaurant and ask what is gluten-free, they don’t either look at me like I have two heads or ask me if I can eat rice. We decided to go to a place called Greens Restaurant. Here’s where I start to wonder if there is something about today and the color green.

Light, now dulled by the settling clouds, seeped in through large windows that overlook a small marina. The restaurant had a unique aesthetic that channeled a little Andrew Lloyd Wright in it’s use of red wood, artfully molded into natural curves to create tables and chairs. The food did not disappoint, meeting the requirements of vegetarian, gluten free and tasty.

Book inspiration: The Greens Cookbook: Extraordinary Vegetarian Cuisine from the Celebrated Restaurant by Deborah Madison

Green Reading

We definitely saved the best for last and closed out the afternoon out by visiting my favorite place of all – a bookstore. Not just any bookstore, but Green Apple Books.(Yep, we’re back to green again. I said there would be a lot of it!)  It’s probably one of the best known bookstores in the country.

This is my face after taking 3 steps into the store. (In case it’s not clear, that’s an expression of joy, awe, excitement and feeling very overwhelmed by the fact that I just wanted to buy everything.)

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This place embodies what every bookstore should be. Books are shoved and stacked into every space possible. The floors creek, the aisle are narrow, the stairs are steep. The store curves and turns and splits in all directions, like a maze. And like a bookish mouse, I scurried through it, hitting dead ends and happily turning back to find a new path to another exciting area.

I’m sure I’ll post again on this bookstore as it’s just too good to limit to one part of one blog post. Until then, let’s just say I didn’t leave the store before making sure The Travelers had some company as we continued our exploration of San Francisco.

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Book Inspiration (this one gets 2 books because, well, it’s a bookstore and deserves two):  Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan & The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

Stay tuned for more adventures from traveling with The Travelers.

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