Dad Mark Four

Dad visited me recently – if I’m counting correctly, I think this is his fourth trip out here since I moved to California. We’ve done most of the major things to do around the bay area in his last few trips, but we didn’t have trouble finding more things to do this trip. It perhaps wasn’t as hectic as past trips have been – we had more downtime – but we still packed a lot in.

Dad flew in on Thursday the 15th and we had lunch and dinner, with a walk on the Stevens Creek Trail in between. Then Friday Debbi took the day off and joined us to go to the California Academy of Sciences in the morning. We managed to sneak in ahead of the crowds and stayed for about 4 hours. They have a nifty special exhibit called “Extreme Mammals”, which is about the ways mammals deviate from the baseline norm (if there is such a thing). This was our last visit at the Academy for the day, and if we hadn’t been quite so tired I’d have liked to spend more time there. We had lunch in the Moss Room, which seems a step up from the cafeteria, though if I’d known we could have made reservations ahead of time and not sat at the counter. Still and all, an excellent outing for the day.

Saturday the three of us headed to Livermore wine country, visiting some of our favorite wineries. And Sunday we had the champagne brunch at the Moss Beach Distillery, which Dad really enjoyed – of course, it’s tough to beat good food and the oceanside view, but he liked the classical music and sitting on the patio afterwards, too. We also went for a walk on the coastal trail.

Monday we had breakfast at the Original Pancake House (which I think Dad wanted to go to twice on his last visit), and then drove over the hills to Big Basin Redwoods State Park: It was chilly and foggy at the crest of the hills, but quite nice at the park headquarters, where we saw many great redwoods. I’m not sure it’s necessarily better than Muir Woods, but it’s different. We left heading south and went to Santa Cruz, where we got coffee downtown and then walked along the beach by the boardwalk, out the wharf and back, and then stopped at the lighthouse for the view.

Tuesday morning it rained pretty good, but stopped by the time we headed out, and ended up being a really nice day. We had breakfast at Stacks in Menlo Park, and then headed to the city to the De Young Museum, which was quite busy. I’m not really a fan of fine arts, and I think this met my need for exposure to fine art for the year. There were some nice pieces (the collection of historical American art – which we walked through backwards – is quite good), but it didn’t take long for me to see all the impressionist, modern and abstract art I needed to see. Afterwards we took a stroll through the botanical gardens, which I always enjoy, and we wrapped up with the obligatory visit to Ghirardelli Square for sundaes.

Along the way Dad and I got a number of long talks in, and we ate a lot of good meals that I haven’t even mentioned (we sure do have a lot of good places to eat around here). And Blackjack took to Dad quite well which was funny since Dad isn’t a pet person.

The rains finally came on Wednesday when I took Dad to the airport, but his trip home was apparently uneventful (other than a seating snafu). The week sure went by fast, which is a sign that we had a good time. Now I think it’s my turn to head back there next.