Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I Left My Heart...in the Muir Woods

From the messy desk of Paul Levine...

Marcia and I are on a delayed honeymoon to San Francisco and Mendocino in northern California.  (Hey, it's July!  We live in South Florida.  Like Canadian geese, we migrate in search of better weather).

I've been coming to San Francisco since 1981.  Marcia had only been here once before, for an oral argument before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  (My trips were more fun...but this one...is the best).

All these year, and I'd never been to Muir Woods, the thousand-year old Redwoods forest donated to the federal government by philanthropist William Kent at the urging of conservationist John Muir in 1908.  (Kent paid $45,000 for the land in 1905.  In today's dollars, that's about a gazillion.  Whatever, the place is priceless).

Here we are: Tree Huggers!

Also, People Huggers:

Here's what I recommend if you want to really learn about the trees.  Hire Tom Martell, a personal guide who'll pick you up from your hotel, get you to the woods at opening time, 8 a.m., (before the crush), serve you a picnic lunch, and spend three hours, hiking and giving you the scoop on the place.  Finally, he'll drop you at the Ferry Station in Sausalito.  All for $75.  (Another ten bucks for the scenic ferry ride past Alcatraz and back to the city). 

Here's Tom's website.    The official Muir Woods website is here. 

Morning at Muir:
But so much for the woods.

Let's talk about food.

We've had clam chowder and oysters at Hog Oyster in the Ferry Building, Dungeness crab cakes and Petrale sole at the iconic Tadich Grill, crispy zucchini cakes with cucumber and mint yogurt dressing spinach pies, and watermelon salad with toasted pine nuts and basil at Kokkari.  Here's that watermelon salad, which I'm going to make at home.

The Tadich Grill opened in gold rush days (1849), and no Jim Born, I was not the first customer.
Tonight's it's Vietnamese food at the Slanted Door.  Looking forward to cellophane noodles with crab.

And of course, no trip to the city by the bay would be complete without a cable car ride...and a Giants game (Sunday) against the Dodgers.
With the permission of my fellow bloggers, I'd like to stay here until after hurricane season. 

Paul Levine


  1. Permission granted, Pauly, but only if you continue posting your travelogue pictures. I've never been to the Muir Woods. I should go before it's turned into a shopping mall. Love the Tadich Grill. So atmospheric.

  2. from Jacqueline: Can't believe you were in my back yard and didn't get in touch!! Mind you, goodness knows where I was on my tour when you hit Muir Woods. I love to hike there - though I don't start at the woods any more because there are so many tourists around - but you can hike for miles and it's wonderful. My mother called me to say she loved your post - brought back memories of the first time I took her and dad there, about 20-odd years ago - and she hugged almost every tree she came across!!! Great post - thank you!!

  3. Beautiful photos ~ did you check out the totally awesome bookstore at the Ferry Building? Now I want to visit Muir Woods. I visited the Woods many years ago when I was about 6 years old. Thank you for sharing.


  4. James O. Born7/22/2014 2:31 PM

    You have my permission to stay. Donna and I will live in Coconut Grove in your vacant house until your return.

    Looks like fun.


  5. Diana, yes, "book passage."

  6. I love Muir Woods, too. I have a dear friend who is a librarian for the U.S. courts in SF. Besides taking us to Muir Woods, she took us on a tour of the court house. If you haven't done that, I highly recommend it. The building was fairly new at the time of the 1906 earthquake, and withstood the quake with almost no damage. It served as a shelter for many people who lost their homes.

    1. I love touring courthouses, always hoping I won't end up as a defendant in one.