We've been dreaming about making a San Francisco trip with Lindsay and Carson for some time and this year, we finally did it during our week off school for Spring break. We left Saturday night and drove Stacy and Jer's Chrysler 300 (THANKS GUYS!) all night, going to church in the garlic capital of the world (Gilroy, CA) and ending up in San Jose where we stayed at the lovely San Jose Airport Hotel. We visited Japan Town that day but weren't greatly impressed, then ate at a diner in downtown San Jose where we had excellent shakes!
We started our planned stops Monday morning with The Winchester Mystery Mansion. We weren't allowed to take photos during the tour (inside the mansion) but walked over a mile, visiting countless rooms accessed through a maze of hallways and stairways.
That day we drove to San Francisco and drove to Muir woods, a redwood forest north of San Francisco (we actually took a wrong turn and ended up stopping in at Muir Beach before arriving at the park).
Tuesday morning we went to Alactraz and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It is an incredible piece of US history, starting as a fort for the military, then becoming a prison, then host to a movement of Native Americans seeking greater equality before being siezed once more by the government and finally turned into a national monument. Below is a vision of San Francisco from the island as well as a picture of the actual prison house from the recreation yard. It turns out the island actually functioned as a small community of families including the guardsmen's families as well as a grocer, schoolhouse, etc.
Have you been to San Francisco? What was your favorite site? We would gladly recommend all the sites above except for Japan Town in San Jose. The San Jose Airport Garden Hotel was a great place to stay because they had rates which included a pair of tickets to go on a tour of the mystery house and subsequent tickets were purchased at a discounted price.