It is possible, it turns out, to live in a place for a decade – to live in it long enough to feel that it’s time to move on – and still be madly in love with it. San Francisco and I are like high school sweethearts in the last weeks before college, ready to break up but still reveling in our time together. We’re rolling around on the beach, in the salt spray, in golden light. We’re holding hands and skipping down the street, laughing at our good fortune in having found each other. We’re gazing at the same moon, breathing in the same fog-dampened night air, sighing longingly into the same dark night.
With that extended metaphor in mind, know that Mike and I have been walking all over this damn city, discovering art installations, grabbing meals at new-to-us restaurants, stumbling upon breweries down industrial alleys (more on that in a future post), and getting to know all the jewel-like parks that dot these 49 square miles.
Grandview, a sliver of sand and cypress in the Sunset, is my new favorite park, bar none. A few weeks ago we chose this little green spot on the map largely at random, made our way there, and were promptly blown away. I’ve since brought my parents there, because I just needed to go back again. And maybe I’ll go again, with a bottle of bubbly? Probably.
Imagine this: first you take the N train out to the avenues, then wander up a street of perfect little Craftsman homes to the Hidden Garden Steps, intricately tiled mosaics of flora and fauna.
It’s a steep climb, but you’ll be so busy ogling the risers that you’ll barely notice. At the top you stroll through another neighborhood, the houses perched on the sides of the hill like teeth grinning (or bared) out at the ocean and fog. The next set of steps are inlaid with metallic mosaics that catch the sun: first the sea, then the moon and stars.
Finally you huff and puff up switchbacks of wooden stairs…
…And wee little Grandview Park itself rewards your heightened heart rates with the expanse of the city, falling away on all sides. She’s a stunner.
You can stay as long as you’d like, but at a certain point your eyeballs will complain: WE CAN’T HANDLE IT ANYMORE, WE’VE ABSORBED ALL WE CAN and your brain will say, Yeah, I’m with them, let’s go get a drink. And so you do; maybe a margarita at Underdogs or Nopalito, maybe a beer at Barrel Head or Social Kitchen, maybe a glass of wine on your couch. Whatever you decide, you’ll be floating a bit inside, because you’re in love, for at least a little while longer.