From Las Vegas to San Francisco

 San Francisco is ranked as the 35th top tourist destination in the world, and the sixth most visited city in the United States. 

  The city is renowned for its cool summers, fog, steep rolling hills, and landmarks including the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars,  the former prison on Alcatraz Island, Chinatown and more. 

 The Golden Gate Bridge is “possibly the most beautiful, and certainly the most photographed bridge in the world. ”  It opened in 1937 and had until 1964 the longest suspension bridge main span in the world, at 4,200 feet (1,280 m).

 It has been prominently featured in dozens of major motion pictures.

 Playing host to every type of traveler, from foreign dignitaries to fashionistas, to New Age nomads, San Francisco offers hotels as diverse as those of any city in the world. 

Eating at Café de la Presse. Café de la Presse has been a gathering place for the age-old tradition of enjoying conversation, politics, style, and cuisine since 1992.

Eating at Café de la Presse. Café de la Presse has been a gathering place
for the age-old tradition of enjoying conversation, politics, style,
and cuisine since 1992.

Envious chefs from other cities have been known to dismiss San Francisco’s restaurant scene as just a bunch of cooks who know how to shop well. While San Francisco chefs do enjoy premium, year-round produce and fresh seafood, the caliber of culinary talent in San Francisco has made it one of the world’s premier food cities.

 San Francisco is one of those cities that need no introduction; like Hollywood and New York, this city already enjoys international renown for everything from sightseeing to shopping to entertainment. 

 The Transamerica Pyramid is the tallest skyscraper in the San Francisco skyline. The tower has no public access except for the first floor lobby. 

Walking on Pier 39. Fun day!

Walking on Pier 39. Fun day!

 Neighborhood by neighborhood, there are plenty of things to do in San Francisco when the sun goes down. 

 With a plentiful supply of food from the Bay and an environment protected from predators, the PIER 39 Marina proved to be an ideal living situation for sea lions. Within a few short months, the number of sea lions grew to more than 300 and hit an all-time record of 1,701 in November 2009.

 Experience San Francisco on land and water aboard San Francisco duck tours.

 PIER 39 is a 45-acre waterfront complex that is a gathering place for millions of San Francisco locals and visitors. In addition to its 14 full-service restaurants, 90+ shops and popular attractions, PIER 39 is home to a 5-acre waterfront park and a 300-berth marina. 

 The entrance to Chinatown at Grant Avenue and Bush Street is called the “Dragon’s Gate.” Inside are 24 blocks of hustle and bustle, most of it taking place along Grant, the oldest street in San Francisco.

  San Francisco’s Chinatown is the oldest in North America and houses the largest Chinese community outside Asia.  

 The ingredients for Chinese medicine or food can be purchased in Chinatown. Visitors can easily become immersed in a microcosmic Asian world, filled with herbal shops, temples, pagoda roofs and dragon parades.

 It is one of the top tourist attractions in San Francisco. 

 The San Francisco cable car system is the world’s last manually operated cable car system. An icon of San Francisco, the cable car system forms part of the intermodal urban transport network operated by the San Francisco Municipal Railway. 

 Certainly part of the whole San Fran experience, riding the cable cars is also a very practical way of getting from one side of the city to the other. 

Lombard Street is an east-west street in San Francisco, California. It is famous for having a steep, one-block section that consists of eight tight hairpin turns. 

 Some of San Francisco’s most expensive real estate sits on Lombard Street. This Russian Hill neighborhood possesses stately mansions even with the endless array of tourists pouring down the street every day. 

 The portion of Lombard Street that everyone knows from the postcards is a section that has been dubbed “the crookedest street in the world.” In the spring and through the entire summer, Lombard Street is alive with color, as the many beautiful flowers are in bloom.

 The Sausalito Houseboats

 Many members of the local community strongly prefer the term “Floating Homes” to Houseboats.  The community is situated near the northern end of the Golden Gate Bridge. The Sausalito houseboat community consists of more than 400 houseboats of various shapes, sizes, and values.

 Some of these homes were once boats of different kinds, and the architectural visions that translated them into floating houses can be fascinating.  As has been the tradition, many of the houseboat community members are professional artists. 

 Napa Valley is one of the premier travel destinations in the world. Breathtaking views abound at every turn – mustard in the late winter, picturesque rolling hills planted with vineyards year-round and wineries of every stature dot the landscape.

 The Hess Collection vineyards represent the diverse growing conditions seen in the Napa Valley.

 The Hess Collection was founded by Swiss entrepreneur Donald Hess, who first purchased vineyards on Mount Veeder in 1978.

  The wines cultivated at The Hess Collection demonstrate the  distinctive qualities of Napa  Valley, including the  unique qualities of high altitude and single vineyard wines.

Hess is a beautiful place! 

 This was the first winery I visited on my trip to Napa Valley. I’m not a wine connoisseur but the experience was great. This winery was very elegant and classy.

 Located in the historic stone winery originally constructed in 1903 by Colonel Theodore Gier, the winery first opened to the public in 1989.

  It since has earned international recognition for its wine, culinary and visitor programs, and provides free public access to Donald Hess’ extensive private contemporary Art Museum. 

The winery  and art museum are open daily for public visits, tours and tastings.

Groups up to 8 people are invited to taste four current release wines, many available only at the winery, for $15 per person.  

When the founders came to the Napa Valley from France and found the best vineyard land, they saw the unique climate and soil, and considered many grape varieties. Years after much experimentation, they reconfirmed the superiority of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier, the traditional varietals of French Champagne.

As the only fine dining restaurant within a winery in Napa Valley, étoile Restaurant at Domaine Chandon epitomizes the very best that wine country dining has to offer. Innovative cuisine paired with award-winning wines and sophisticated surroundings set the stage for the ultimate wine and food experience.

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