It was a warm sunny weekend when we went to San Francisco in the end of February and our plan was to relax at Fort Baker, grab lunch at Fort Mason, and stroll by the Ferry Building and the Bay Bridge.
With a cool breeze and the most beautiful blue skies with puffs of white clouds, the City by the Bay couldn’t have been any more perfect on this weekend.
Fort Baker and Fort Mason are beautiful old military bases here in San Francisco and Sausalito. Though the military bases closed decades ago they have now been transformed into a recreational area, a historic lodge, restaurant and conference pavilion. Both have specatcular views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, and the San Francisco Bay.
Fort Baker at the Golden Gate:
Fort Baker is a lovely recreational area that sits at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge on the Sausalito side of the Bay. At Fort Baker you can literally stand below the Golden Gate bridge and hike up to the bridge if you like.
Fort Baker houses the Bay Area Discovery Museum, the U.S. Coast Guard Station at the Golden Gate, Cavallo Point: The Lodge at Golden Gate, and Fort Baker Fishing Pier, which is a very popular spot for crab fishing.
At the fishing pier crab fisherman drop cages with bait and wait for the crabs to crawl into the cages. I remember coming to Fort Baker one time to see lots and lots of crab fishing going on and seeing some of the fishermen drop their crab catch back into the bay. We asked them why they did that, and we were informed that there are certain criteria for keeping the crab catches, that by law the crabs have to be a minimum of 4″ in size to keep their catch, if the crabs are not at least 4″ you have to toss them back into the bay. We also found out that each person has a limit on how many crabs they can take back, it’s no more than 4 crabs per fisherman. The guys we spoke to said they follow the rules even though no one is really watching because it gives everyone a chance to enjoy crab fishing in the long run.
While we were enjoying the view of the Bay and the city on this beautiful day a seal caught sight of us and swam by us multiple times, literally sticking his head out in our direction – guess what he expected? FOOD! We didn’t have any to give him, and it’s a good thing too because we want wild animls to forage for food themselves.
Fort Baker Pier is a lovely spot to see the city of San Francisco, Alcatraz Island, the Bay Bridge and of course the Golden Gate Bridge.
Cavallo Point. The Lodge at Golden Gate is a historic boutique hotel here at Fort Baker. What makes this a unique and very special hotel is how they have converted these old army baracks and the officers quarters into rooms and suites for guests, preserving all the original architectural elements of the buildings at this old military base.
One of the buildings here is dedicated to Straus, the Chief Engineer who designed the Golden Gate Bridge.
This is a lovely property with the most spectacular views of the city of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge.
What we love about this hotel is the family friendly nature of the facility. A large open green space that was once used as a parade ground is now a huge lawn where kids can play soccer and dogs can run free to their hearts content.
The restaurant at Cavallo Point is open to the public and guests alike. Many hikers and bicyclists stop by the restaurant on-site to grab brunch, lunch, or a quick drink at this cafe where one can sit outside with views of the bridge and the city while enjoying their scrumptious faire.
There is also a small tea bar at Cavallo Point where one can relax with a pot of hot tea sweetened with golden honey if you like.
We have come here at different times of the year, and the scenery, the serenity, the beauty of San Francisco Bay never gets old and is always awe-inspiring. You can’t go wrong stopping by Fort Baker and Cavallo Point at the Golden Gate. For more information and to read about the history of Fort Baker take a look at this web site Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Fort Baker
Fort Mason at the Golden Gate:
Across the Golden Gate Bridge back on the San Francisco side is Fort Mason.
Why go to Fort Mason? We go for the food and more gorgeous views of the Bay. At Greens Restaurant in Fort Mason one can partake of an amazing variety of all-vegetarian food. Greens has been at Fort Mason for over 35 years since 1979.
Greens converted an old wherehouse at Fort Mason and transormed it into a beautiful restaurant with unabstructed views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the docks on Marina Blvd.
We have been going to Greens for over 25 years now. When we first moved to the Bay Area despite how ahead California was in embracing vegetarianism, vegetarian cuisine had yet to become main stream here. For a life-long vegetarian like myself finding Greens Restaurant which was not “a hole in the wall” and served all- vegetarian food with an eclectic fusion of international flavors in a beautiful ambiance – this was a vegetarian’s restaurant dream come true.
And on top of this, to have one of the best views in the city? How can you go wrong with this combination? Greens is how we discovered Fort Mason.
Greens was established in 1979 by the San Francisco Zen Center. When Greens first opened most of the employees were students of the Zen Center giving students who practiced Buddhism an opportunity to be of service and provide attentiveness to the customers at the restaurant, as are the teachings of Buddhism. Today, the restaurant employs anyone who wants to work at this coveted vegetarian hot spot.
Annie Somerville is the Head Chef at Greens and has turned Greens into not only a Bay Area favorite but a world-renowned restaurant. Her objective was to create a fine dining experience for vegetarian cuisine on a level with other high-profile restaurants in the Bay Area and she has accomplished this in leaps and bounds over the years. Annie Somerville has even published award-winning cookbooks titled Everyday Greens and Field of Greens: New Vegetarian Recipes From Celebrated Restaurant Greens.
Another cool fact about Greens Restaurant is how all their fruits and vegetables are supplied by Green Gulch Farm. Green Gulch Farm is a large organic farm and garden owned and operated by the San Francisco Zen Center. The farm is located across the Bay on the other side of Golden Gate Bridge in Marin County and provides all of the restaurant’s seasonal organic produce all year round.
By providing delicious vegetarian food in a lovely surrounding, Greens Restaurant continues to amaze me with their extraordinary vegetarian cuisine. If you want to relax with a scrumptious vegetarian meal with a beautiful view of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay, Greens is the place to go. Greens Restaurant Green Gulch Farm About San Francisco Zen Center
Fort Mason where Greens is located is an old military base that sits on the banks of the Bay of San Francisco on Marina Blvd, right before you get onto Golden Gate Bridge. Unlike Fort Baker which is surrounded by greenery and hills, Fort Mason is more industrial looking in nature but beautiful nonetheless.
Just like Fort Baker, Fort Mason too has some gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean, Alcatraz Island and the Golden Gate Bridge.
Over time, the buildings and facilities at Fort Mason have gone through some re-development and this beautiful old army base now houses plenty of artsy boutiques, small businesses, art galleries, and cafes.
A conference pavilion at Fort Mason is the venue for many artisanal fairs and events.
Every Sunday you can grab fresh produce from the Farmer’s Market that set up shop in the parking lot at Fort Mason from 9-1pm.
A cool discovery that we stumbled upon at Fort Mason is a new cafe and bar called Interval that opened up right next to Greens Restaurant.
Interval had a very trendy and cool set up. With tons of artwork and a 2-story tall library as the backdrop, this is a place that we will be checking out the next time we go back to Fort Mason.
On any given day there is an artisanal fair of some sort or another going on at Fort Mason. Plant exhibitions, gallery openings, boutiques, restaurant, cafes, and venues to rent for events and parties, all with the beautiful San Francisco Bay as the backdrop. Fort Mason has something fun and eclectic for everyone.
To check out the calendar of events at Fort Mason take a look at this web site Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture. For a brief history of Fort Mason take a look at this link Golden Gate Recreation Area. Fort Mason.
The Ferry Building:
It’s hard to believe that this amazing building that was established in 1892 was dilapidated, neglected and taken over by pigeons and spiders until a little over a decade ago when someone got the novel idea to salvage this beautiful building and convert it into a home for local artisanal vendors from around the Bay Area.
The end-result of this transformation both inside and out is outstanding.
The Ferry Building is a wonderful place where one can stroll from stall to stall checking out purveyors of everything local. From coffee to mushrooms, pasta, cheese, chocolates, pastries, local honey, nuts, olive oil, ceramics, oyster bar, icecream, and on and on – all local.
One of my favorite stalls is The Gardener, a little shop that has beautiful items for the garden.
Here are a few more pictures of the stalls and vendors at the Ferry Building.
The Ferry Building also houses the Vietnamese Fusion restaurant Slanted Door. With gorgeous veiws of the Bay Bridge and Treasure Island and the most delicious Vietnamese food prepared in a modern California cool setting, this restaurant is a winner, and a very popular watering hole for cocktails and dinner.
From the Ferry Building commuters can also take ferries from San Francisco to Treasure Island, to Sausalito, and to Marin across the Bay.
The Ferry Building is a great place to walk, to grab a bite to eat, to catch glimpses of the Bay Bridge and the San Francisco Bay, and shop for artisanal faire.
For more information on all the purveyors at this historic building and for a look at the story behind this transformtion take a look at this web site The Ferry Building Marketplace
For Baker, Fort Mason, and the Ferry Building are great ways to explore the City by the Bay off the beaten path. For mor information an all these fun areas in San Francisco take a look at these links. The Ferry Building Marketplace Golden Gate Recreation Area. Fort Mason Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Fort Baker