A day away

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It’s been my mission this year to get us out and about regularly and on the cheap, of course. It’s so easy for us to get caught up working on the house, school, normal life crap … I have to consciously plan days away just for fun.

Jack’s been up in Alaska for the last couple of weeks. When he’s up there he works pretty much non-stop so I knew he was going to be tired when he got home. I also knew that he wanted to start working on the backyard as soon as possible, which knowing him the way I do was simply going to prolong the exhaustion. To eliminate temptation I decided to remove him from the premises entirely. I whisked us off to San Francisco to spend the day in Golden Gate Park visiting exhibitions. It was going to be a no stress, no work, lazy, lazy day. Plus, I knew it was going to be my last chance this summer to get us out doing something fun before he takes off for Alaska again.

Our first stop …

The Picasso exhibit at the De Young Museum. It was really wonderful.

When the Impressionists exhibit was here last year I didn’t go (ran out of time) and I kicked myself for it. It was supposedly an exceptional exhibit. I wasn’t going to let time fly by and miss Picasso, too. So, here we were opening week.

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Here’s my big tip. Spend the $7 for the audio tour, people. I felt really bad for the folks just idly wandering around glancing at paintings with ho-hum expressions on their face while those of us listening to the audio tour were enraptured and studying paintings with insight and new perspectives.

My second tip is to go earlier in the morning because the crowds are very light. We went at 10am. By the time we left three hours later it was packed and I was starting to get a headache from all the people. Go early!

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We took a moment to go up to the viewing tower which offers amazing 360 degree views of the city. That’s the California Academy of Sciences building that you see there in the background with big lumps on the roof.

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We found ourselves alone on the viewing tower elevator so we goofed around creating a little “art” of our own. I’m not showing the remaining sequence but let me sum it up with: silly and naughty. Heh.

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We roamed the permanent exhibits. Jack loves the landscapes; no shock there.

We also went through the Balenciaga special exhibit, which was all fashion. I asked Jack if he wanted to get the audio tour for Balenciaga as well and he emphatically replied, “No! Let’s speed through here!” European fashion was apparently not his thing. Again, no shock there.

All in all, the De Young Museum is always a lovely stop.

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By this time we were hungry so we headed on over to the Conservatory of Flowers which was going to be our “after lunch” excursion anyway. It’s about a 10-minute walk from the De Young to the Conservatory and is easily accessed by these little tunnels.

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We decided to go ahead and picnic on the grounds near the Conservatory.

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It’s a popular place to picnic, hangout, play volleyball, fly kites …

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… strum a guitar.

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This darling couple was about fifty feet away from us. They reminded me of Jack and me when we first started dating. We came to this same park, picnicked and fell in love. I wondered if that’s what they were doing, too.

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We busted out the chilled wine …

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… the picnic fare: pasta salad and fresh fruit.

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We’ve been reading Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City to each other so it gave us a chance to catch up.

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Apparently when I read aloud I do not have enough “inflection”. Jack promptly showed me how it was done.

Ah hah! Snicker. Little does he know that was my plan all along! Why read when I can lay back in the sun, close my eyes and listen to him instead?

Who’s the smarty pants now, huh?

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After lots of laziness we ambled on over to the Conservatory of Flowers.

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We were here to see the Wicked Plants: Botanical Rogues and Assassins exhibit. Pretty cool. Plants that kill. Excellent!

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Foxglove (so pretty and yet so deadly) and pitcher plants (carnivorous).

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The Wicked Plants exhibit was fascinating, but equally terrific is the rest of the conservatory. Wow. How had I not been to this place before? We got so many ideas for our own gardens, both indoor and out. There were also tons and tons of orchid varieties …

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Everything was so interesting and beautiful. If you’re into plants I highly recommend a jaunt through the Conservatory of Flowers.

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Finally, here are my $$ tips for a day in the park.

1. If you’re driving in (was actually cheaper for us) then go a little early for good FREE street parking near the museums. We found street parking right in front of the Conservatory of Flowers. There’s no time limit so you can relax the whole day. We arrived at 10am and things were filling up. No need to arrive at the crack of dawn, but shoot for earlier rather than later.
2. Museum/Exhibit tickets. Look online for promos and coupons. Sound silly? Hey, I was able to find 2 for 1 vouchers for both venues, plus an additional 20% off promo code for the De Young Museum, which ended up saving us 70%. Considering that Picasso alone was $31 per person (including audio tour), things could have racked up quite quickly. With just a little research we got all the joy at less than half the cost.
3. Picnic! Golden Gate is a wonderful place to picnic, so go for it. You’ll eat and drink better for way, way less. Who doesn’t want that?
4. Take your time. The park is a place to relax and enjoy. Rushing through things creates stress. So, go when you you’ve got the time and can relax.

Enjoy! We sure did.

The next day it was back to working on the backyard. 🙂

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3 responses »

  1. Love the post – beautiful pics and money saving tips (all for that). My spouse would never get me out of the Conservatory of Flowers – love taking flower pics. Sometimes it is nice to have a R&R day from work, home, life – just enjoy it, some R&R, do something fun or interesting – savor every minute of it because you know tomorrow it is back to reality!

  2. Tyler’s summer program is taking him (and a bunch of other kids) to the de Young. What a cool experience for them! I’m really curious what a almost 7 yr old boy will come home with, though.

  3. Glad you got Jack to relax for a day. He deserved it! Drinks with Jack when he was up was so much fun… and made me miss you tons.

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