Before I continue, I thought that you might appreciate this map that my sister put together for us highlighting the places that we planned to visit. If you click on the icon on the map it will take you directly to their website and you can learn more about it.
What an amazing view it was as we entered SF! I had been to SF a few times but not by bus, and looking up at the skyscrapers, the mix of different architeture and all the people just constantly moving was exciting to watch. By this time, Doug was watching for our stop, the Moscone Center. For those not familiar with downtown SF, this is before you get to Market Street which will take you almost anywhere. The Moscone Center is what is sounds like, several buildings that are convention centers for meetings. There is a nice park just behind Moscone Center called Yerba Buena Park, with an artifical waterfall, and plenty of park benches to sit on. A very nice area just to relax.
Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself. We arrived at the Moscone Center South, actually right in front where there was a covering since the bus stop only has a bench, and it was raining when the bus stopped. We got off and stood under the covering, Doug pulled out his map and we started to get our bearings on which way to head to our hotel. As we were standing there, obviously looking like tourists, much less befuddled, a youngish gentleman with dark blonde hair approached us and asked if he could help us. Now, remember we are from Fresno and are used to people ignoring you and no offers of help, and this was a pleasant surprise! We told him that we wanted to get to the Palace Hotel on New Montgomery Street, and he showed us the way, just a couple of blocks down and then up a bit. Needless to say, his directions were right on target, and after a wet walk, we arrived at our destination, the Palace Hotel!
Just a bit of history about this hotel, it was rebuilt in 1908 after the fire in 1906, and is a landmark in itself. It’s a luxury hotel, and gorgeous inside with stain glass windows indoors. For more information on the Palace Hotel, here is a link: http://www.sfpalace.com/history. This will also show you more at their website, and you can do a virtual tour online.
Boy, what a beautiful entry into a grande hotel! There were Doorman outside in uniforms, who helped us inside, and bellhops. Just absolutely breathtaking. Especially for us who are used to a Motel 6! Deep cherry colored wood, very rich looking inside, and here we were with jackets, jeans and a big backpack! Talk about feeling under-dressed! We have never dealt with bellhops and doormen before, we felt so special!
Remember the theme about early? Check-in time was at 3:00. You can guess how early we were, about 2 hours early. We approached the well-dressed bellhops and asked if they would hold our luggage until check-in time, and they allowed us to do so. We couldn’t see the point of carrying that around with us while we did some sightseeing. First things first, we went out and looked for a place to eat as we hadn’t eaten since before leaving the house. Gee, I wonder how the kitties are doing with Kathy there. She is NOT their favorite keeper and is allergic to cats. Oh well, tried not to think too hard on it, and succeeded! We found a Dell Taco, and decided to eat there. It was right around the corner from the hotel, and inexpensive.
While sitting there, we decided what to do while waiting for the hotel room to become available. We decided to walk around for a bit and see the sites! We were on New Montgomery and close to Market Street, and walked around for a bit, taking in the views. We decided to look for a drugstore so I could buy a new hairbrush and some instamatic cameras for the trip. What to do and where to go? It seemed that we had a wealth of stores to visit, probably about 5 or 6 Walgreens just on Market Street alone! And across from them, were CVAs. Not just little stores, but huge superstores! Every last one of them! Take your pick, not too far from one. That is, as long as you stay on Market Street! Not going to find that in other parts of SF. And each store was busy and full of people! Amazing, how they could fit so many stores on one little street!
Well, after gawking and searching, we finally found what we wanted and did a little more walking. We then decided to go to the Hotel and see if our room was ready yet. We arrived at the hotel and they confirmed that our room was indeed ready, before check-in time. We started for the elevator and almost entered the wrong one. That was for staff only, and we were to use the next one over. Beautiful cherry wood interior that matched the interior of the hotel, not the plain stainless steel that you see nowadays. Very classy! We arrived at the 7th floor, and the floor was marble with a gorgeous carpet runner in reds and blues leading the way to our room. As we got off the elevator, in front of us was a beautiful staircase and a matching table in front with fresh flowers on it. We found our room, and I got my key out. Tried the key pad, and couldn’t get in. Doug took it and tried. Still couldn’t get in. What the heck? A housekeeper was in the hall and asked if we needed to get in, and of course, yes we did! She let us in, and showed us the trick to getting in, allow it to beep first. Another helpful hint!
This is the Garden Court of the Palace Hotel!
WOW! A beautiful room with a king-sized bed, a nice desk, a huge flat screen TV, and a bath where I could sit and soak my feet! There was a nice big comfortable chair, and next to it, a nice table. Wait! On the table, was a gorgeous, generous bouquet of assorted fresh flowers waiting for us! It was from my Dad, Candis, Tracy and JJ! How sweet and fragrant the room smelled from the carnations, roses, and other flowers! Very sweet of them to remember us on our anniversary!
We put a few things away and as I was refreshing myself, Doug was looking around. He found a little refrigerator with nothing in it, and we looked at the menu that they had available. Lots of good food at high prices! We also looked at the services they had available including the bottled water that they provided………….. at $7.00 a bottle each! WOW! Good thing we had brought some water of our own! LOL!
After settling in our room and a brief rest, we decided to venture out again as it was early afternoon and we wanted to see as much as possible in a few days. Our first stop was Geary Street, where the famous Britex is located, actually only a block or 2 away from the hotel!
Geary Street is a world unto itself, full of amazing little shops full of all types of goodies to choose from. For all of the Singer and other varieties of treadle machines, there was a store next door to Britex that had models of all types of treadles in the window! Some that I was not aware of, some rare. Doug asked about it, and a lot had been bough at yard sales. These were just displays and not for sale. Darn it! Then again, could you see us bringing one of those home on the train?
Britex is a wonderful place to shop! Imagine a small, tall building, 4 stories high, squeezed in between several other much taller buildings. Now, try and imagine a long but not very wide space filled to the ceiling, of each floor, with fabric of all types, weaves, textures, colors, patterns! If you wanted fabric from the top, you needed a ladder to reach it! Then, in between the walls, it was stuffed full of tables and tables, with shelves underneath, full of even more delicious fabrics! Doug asked if he should wait for me, and I said I would be out sometime next month!
I really wanted to take some pictures but they don’t allow pictures in the store. The first floor is dedicated to fabric intended for clothing, anything you can imagine. The second floor is full of silks, cottons, polyesters, blends, etc. The third floor is full of buttons, fasteners, notions, and tools. The fourth floor is all remanants. But beware, their remanants are pricey, not what you find at Joann’s or WalMart. They start with portions off the bolt by the yard and sold that way, no small pieces, and the prices ranged from $15 to $75, for the remanants!
I made my way through Britex, just taking in the smell of fresh fabric, and enjoying looking through all the notions and fabric, and about an hour later I was $80 lighter! But, what a way to spend! I had amazing service by a sweet lady, also a quilter, who helped me find what I wanted and offered to help work on my palette of colors, cut it and set aside as I continued to shop! Very good service and so much fun. It seems as though if I didn’t find what I wanted, she would find it in a secret hiding space and pull out just the right color! For me, this was my personal favorite part of the SF experience.
Well, I’m a little tired, so will post more tomorrow. Stay tuned!