The Trip of a Lifetime
This was a trip that will truly never be forgotten. Every single day regardless of the weather, was simply amazing because there was always something new to do. Dawn Sherman and Libba Moore the professors that came, had both been out to San Francisco before and were a definite compliment to the trip. With these professors having that experience and knowledge of the area it made the whole trip really come together, in such a way that would have never been possible without them.
My Favorite Events
- Walking the Golden Gate Bridge
- The tour of Alcatraz
- Muir Woods
The view of the city both during the day and night was something that really opened up my eyes, in regards to all this world really has to offer. Overall, this is a trip that I would definitely recommend to all that have the option to go and I do plan on taking another trip out to the San Francisco area in the near future.
Thank you Dawn and Libba for making this wonderful experience come true for all that attended.
Last week was a once in a lifetime event and it was FANTASTIC! We toured Alcatraz, Levi Strauss World Headquarters, Fisherman’s Wharf, Napa Valley Wine Country and the streets of San Francisco. Along the way we met many characters that made the trip what it was and it was one of the best experiences of my life. Here are some videos of what we were all able to experience on this trip.
Walking Across the Golden Gate Bridge:
San Francisco was truly a trip of a lifetime. We did so many amazing things that I thought I was never going to experience. Monday we arrived in San Francisco during the late afternoon. After we dropped off our suitcases in our rooms we had lunch at Boudin which is a restaurant best known for its sourdough bread! In the window there is a display of bread shaped shaped like animals. Very cool! Immediately after lunch we went sight seeing! We walked up the steep streets of San Francisco and definitely got a work-out! We went to Ghiradelli square where I had the best chocolate ice cream I have ever had! We also went to the famous Lombard St. For those who do not know, it is a very curvy street in San Francisco made with pavers and lined with shrubs and flowers. Our tour guide a few days later told us that years ago a stretch limousine went down the street and was so stuck that a crane had to come in to remove the limo! Throughout the day we were seeing side street entertainment. There was a man sitting near a trash can with large sticks with leaves scaring people as they walked by! So funny! There was also a man painted in silver paint standing on a milk crate pretending to be a statue. On Monday we also went to Pier 39. There are tons of shops and restaurants with a great view of Alcatraz Island if it is not too foggy.
On Tuesday the big event for the day was Alcatraz Island! We had to get up early to catch a ferry to the island. The island has a very eerie feeling to it. Everything is definitely run down a little bit, but still beautiful. Visitors have the opportunity to use an audio guided tour that tells you the history of the island as you walk around. When we returned from Alcatraz Island we went to pier 39 to look at the wild sea lions that are constantly on docks near the pier. They are very entertaining to watch! For dinner we met up with a Nichols Alum, Jeff Labonte. We went to Buena Vista which is a restaurant best known for their famous Irish coffee. The restaurant offers breakfast all day long. I got cinnamon French toast for dinner. So good!
On Wednesday morning we went to Levis Strauss. We arrived in our business suits to find that everyone that works there dresses in levis jeans everyday. The building itself was very beautiful. There were glass windows every where to let in the natural light. We learned a about the history of Levis Strauss and were given the opportunity to go in to the Levis store and check out all of the apparel. After looking in the store for a bit we were given a tour of the company. We talked to a man in the IT department who showed us all of their new and upcoming state of the art technology. We then walked to a conference room where we spoke to another man about the structure of the company. After he was done talking with us, a woman explained a job opportunity in the IT department. After touring Levis Strauss we went to lunch with another Nichols Alum at Pier 23. We ate lunch on a heated patio and ate some really great food! After lunch we went back to the hotel to change and get ready to walk the Golden Gate Bridge! The bridge is 1.7 miles long. We walked the 1.7 miles to the other side of the bridge and went to Golden Gate Park where we got some amazing photos of the city and scenery. After a little break we took the 1.7 mile walk back to the other side of the bridge. For dinner we made the trip to Chinatown to have authentic Chinese cuisine. I sat with six other people and we each ordered something different and shared meals. We ordered food that we would normally eat in Massachusetts and found that it was very different from what we were used to. Everyone realized that it was because it was authentic Chinese cuisine and not the Americanized cuisine that we are used to!
On Thursday we all woke up early to catch our bus to Muir Woods. We had the best tour guide! His name is Brandon. He is 25 and very knowledgeable. On our way to Muir Woods he was telling us the history of the city. I learned a lot! We went on a hike of Muir Woods. Muir Woods has the famous Red Wood trees of California. These trees are massive! They are the tallest trees while the Giant Sequois (located inland) are the widest trees. Redwoods can grow up to 379 feet and can have a diameter of 22 feet. These trees can only flourish in coastal Californias fog belt, where frequent summer fog supplies critical moisture in the dry season. I found it very interesting that fire benefits the long-term health of the forest. Fire clears the floor of duff so redwood seeds can reach mineral soil. After visiting Muir Woods we went to Muir Overlook. Here we saw some of the most beautiful views of the California Coast! It literally took my breath away! We then went to Muir Beach where we had the opportunity to touch the Pacific Ocean and watch some surfers up close! After the beach we all got back on the bus and took the hour long ride to Napa Valley. The first winery we went to was V. Sattui. We did not have a chance to tour the winery, but we did have lunch there and it was very yummy! After lunch we took the 20 minute ride to Castello Di Amorosa. This is the most beautiful winery I have ever seen! Dario Sattui began building the Castle in 1993. The castle is 121,000 square feet and includes, 107 rooms, 8,000 tons of hand-squared stones, 8 levels (4 below ground), 900 feet of caves, a completely hand-painted Great Hall, a drawbridge, moat, dungeon and torture chamber, a consecrated chapel, one of the most impressive wine barrel rooms in the United States constructed with ancient brick Roman cross-vaulted ceilings. We also learned that the castle only produces 15,0o0 cases of wine per year that are only sold at the winery itself. We were given a guided tour of the winery and then those of us who were over the age of 21 were able to do a wine tasting. Sadly, I was not included in the wine tasting so I spent some quality time with Gwenaviere, one of the castles three cats. For dinner we went to Horizons which is right on the water. I sat facing San Francisco. When the sun sets there is the most beautiful view of the city!
On Friday we were able to sleep in and have sort of a “free day” to do what we pleased. It was pouring rain outside and pretty chilly. Five of us went to The Aquarium of the Bay. I will admit that it was not the best aquarium I have ever been to, but we still had alot of fun! After the aquarium we went to Pier 39 and did a little bit of shopping. I went to this place called the Pearl Factory and bought some beautiful jewelry! After shopping we went back to our rooms and relaxed for a few hours and then took a bus to the De Young Museum. The museum was very nice. There was an event that night at the museum and there was a live band playing music. After the museum we all got back on the bus and were looking for a place for dinner. We were going to go to Cha Cha Cha, but by the time we got there it was really late and there was a long wait so we decided to eat else where. The restaraunt we chose had a mostly mexican menu. I had steak tacos that were fantastic!
On Saturday I was about ready to leave. The trip was so amazing and fun, but definitly exhausting! I must say that I am very happy that I took the opportunity to be a Nichols Honors Scholar Student! As a reward we were given this very generous, all expense paid trip to San Francisco by the College! I would like to take the time to thank Dawn Sherman and Libba Moore for planning this trip and spending their Spring Break with us! You are amazing and I can not thank you enough for the experience!