The Great Fort Mason Adventure
We love the idea of taking a vacation in our own city. With no major spring break trip planned, we decided to have a vacation-like adventure in our own city.
Fort Mason Center and the scenic hill behind it are a San Francisco treasure. In spite of the warehouse-like feel of the buildings at Fort Mason there are a great many fun activities for both adults and children. The other day, we took the long staircase at the back of the Center to an expansive park that seems to float over the Marina district. The glorious spring day meant tremendous views of the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco Bay and Marin County. The kids had fun running around and exploring the meadows between the towering trees. Simple pleasures that make everyone smile.
Then came the piece de resistance of the whole expedition – The Fort Mason Community Garden which we discovered by chance. A magical place where we spent almost an hour exploring vegetables, fruits and beautiful flowers in all their spring splendor and playing tag among the beds. The children were enthralled and I could not figure out why it took us so long to find this inspiring and tranquil little slice of heaven. It is a great picnic spot, possibly a small celebration place (birthday for a couple of your closest friends) and venue of numerous future play dates. We will be back for sure now that we have discovered it.
The Gardens are located inside the gates of Fort Mason which is at the intersection of Bay and Franklin Streets in San Francisco’s Marina District. There are one hundred and twenty-five plots available in the Garden. Organic gardening is encouraged. The use of pesticides is forbidden anywhere in the garden. Plots are assigned by the membership chair as they become vacant and currently the wait is 7 years. It feels like forever but time does fly, so we may get on the list. I grew up in an urban environment and was not exposed at all to where food came from or any kind of gardening . Ria and I are both enjoying learning together how to grow our own food and what the plants that give us sustenance actually look like before they make it to the stores.
Unwillingly, we left the garden and continued our walk along the edge of the water and discovered a unused canon facing the bay (try explaining to little girls what that is for), saw aquatic park from above and discovered some amazing secret, hidden picnic spots for our next visit. I couldn’t help but think how fortunate our children are to live in the Bay Area.
All that scampering about made us hungry and we ambled over to Greens To Go. Mondays are the best day to enjoy the restaurant on the cheap with kids as the main restaurant is closed for lunch. You can buy your takeout lunch and sit anywhere in the restaurant and enjoy your healthy, vegetarian meal and the lovely view from the floor to ceiling windows. Ria ate her black bean chilli and brown rice with gusto and I loved my vegetable sandwich and white bean tomato soup. Yummy!
We ended our adventure at the Book Bay at Fort Mason, run by the Friends of the SF Public Library. They sell donated books for the benefit of the San Francisco Public Libraries. The children enjoyed some quiet reading time and I ended up buying 3 rather new looking used cookbooks. So much for curing my cookbook addiction.
Do go on this adventure – it will make a great date, play date or potentially something fun and different to do by yourself. Though going with the kids is the most fun!