Entries in ‘San Francisco’ Journal

Ride The Ducks San Francisco: San Francisco Duck Tours

Wednesday September 3, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 0 Comments

The bus/boat of the San Francisco Ridte the Ducks tour.

The bus/boat of San Francisco Ride the Ducks tour.

If you live in the city of San Francisco or Boston or Philadelphia or Seattle, you’ve probably noticed them. It’s hard not to. Amphibious vehicles tooling around the neighborhoods with the music cranked up and the passengers blasting kazoos shaped like duck bills.

My family and I took the San Francisco ‘Splashtastic Sunset’ Ride the Ducks land and water tour on a recent Friday night. When we boarded, we were each handed  a “quacker” (the duck-shaped kazoo). I tucked mine away, sure that I wouldn’t be joining that party. But it wasn’t long before Captain Jeff rallied the half-full bus of revelers (including myself) into humming along with Sinatra, the Village People and Tony Bennett as we traversed Fisherman’s Wharf and the neighborhoods of North Beach and Chinatown.

Quacking up on the San Francisco Ride the Duck Tour

Quacking up on the San Francisco Ride the Duck Tour

Corny, scripted jokes aside, Jeff was an entertaining and informative host, bus driver and boat captain. We cruised through Union Square, the Fi Di and SOMA and entered the water just south of AT&T Park. By then it was dark, and the bay cruise was definitely “splashtastic” as we watched the light show on the Bay Bridge twinkle, creating psychedelic patterns.

We dipped into McCovey Cove, next to the Giants ballpark and the Captain turned over the reigns to anyone who wanted to drive the boat. My kids (and I) jumped at the opportunity.

We emerged from the water via the same boat ramp and returned to Jefferson and Taylor Sts. in Fisherman’s Wharf via the Embarcadero where we quacked and waved at pedestrians along the way.


The nightly  light show on the Bay Bridge.

Nightly light show on San Francisco Bay Bridge

Ride the Ducks San Francisco
450 Bay St, San Francisco, California 94133
(415) 922-2425

This post was contributed by Lisa Crovo Dion of Friscomama.com. Photos by Dan Dion. We were guests of the Ride the Ducks tour.

Cruising San Francisco Bay Aboard Bay Voyager

Wednesday May 21, 2014 at 11:11 AM | 4 Comments

The dismantling of the old span of the Bay Bridge, Oakland, CA.

The dismantling of the old span of the Bay Bridge, Oakland, CA.

I have logged many hours cruising around the San Francisco Bay. Two of my good friends live on a houseboat at Pier 39 and take us out on their wooden sailboat “Lola” and I worked for years as a bartender on a beautiful charter yacht called “Compass Rose” out of Alameda. I also have a good friend who is a ferry captain on the Blue & Gold fleet.

But, never have I experienced the Bay the way I did aboard the Bay Voyager!

Parker and Captain Charles Jennings of the Bay Voyager.

Parker and Captain Charles Jennings of the Bay Voyager.

Captain Charles Jennings is extremely affable and knowledgeable about the Bay, and his banana yellow rigid inflatable boat is, how shall I say, super fast!

I was invited recently to go out to test the waters with my nine-year-old daughter, Parker. It was one of those picture-perfect San Francisco days, made all the better by riding the waves on this amazing 300hp, 12-passenger vessel.

Capt’n Charles is meticulous about safety and even though it was balmy on the dock, he had all of us suit up in full waterproof jackets, pants and safety gear.

Since it was a light crew, we skipped circling Alcatraz (been there, done that) and headed out of the Golden Gate where the currents are strong and the view is unparalleled. Parker and I couldn’t wipe the perma-smiles of our faces!

We circled back, ducked under the first stretch of the Bay Bridge and took a look at the construction in progress on the second span. Here we could see the piece of the old bridge that is being taken down in pieces. An amazing sight.

Next we dipped into McCovey Cove just before game day at the San Francisco Giants’ stadium. We crossed the paths with some party boats — one already in full swing with bikini-clad ladies chugging champagne from the bottles. Good times.

During the cruise, Capt’n Charles peppered us with interesting facts about the cities (San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley) and articulately answered all of my pesky questions.photo copy 3

This is, by far, one of the best ways to experience the San Francisco Bay.

If You Go:

Bay Voyager
Captain Charles Jennings
Bay Voyager
Pier 39 Gate “C”
San Francisco, California 94133
(510) 542-4200

Post and photos contributed by Lisa Crovo Dion of Friscomama.com. I was a guest of the Bay Voyager.

San Francisco Golf: TPC Harding Park

Friday May 16, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 0 Comments

The fairway bunkers at TPC Harding Park golf course, San Francisco

The fairway bunkers at TPC Harding golf course, San Francisco

I live in the east bay, near Walnut Creek, 20 miles east of San Francisco and have been playing a different local public golf course nearly every weekend for 15 years.  There are tremendous public golf opportunities within a 40 minute drive from Napa (north) to Brentwood (east) to Livermore/Sunol (south.)  There are literally dozens of golf course choices.  With that in mind, I rarely consider the City when it comes to golf. My son, Evan, and I and another father son twosome, Tim and Brian Repp, had the opportunity to play  TPC Harding Park golf course in San Francisco on the Saturday of the Masters weekend. We were fortunate to score a 9:30 a.m. Saturday tee time.  The advice ‘Go West young man’ is still very sound when it comes to golf.

Golf at TPC Harding Park

When playing a golf course for the first time, I have found it advantageous to ride in a cart rather than walk.  One can check out the blind shots in a cart and still keep pace. Many golf courses require carts and distances from greens the next tee box are often extended.  I prefer to walk a golf course whenever I have the opportunity. Fortunately for me, our group decided to walk TPC Harding Park. (it is cart path only at Harding for and you can get a pull cart both are included in the green fees).

"TPC Harding" golf

TPC Harding Park #9 Fairway

TPC Harding Park golf history

TPC Harding Park was built in 1925 before golf carts were a part of golf.  This golf course was meant to be walked and is a classic course; meticulously maintained with new greens and bunkers this year. It is a wonderful walk, spoiled only by the things that make golf fun and frustrating at the same time….one’s own golf game.  The first nine holes are in the center of the golf course with the back nine wrapping around the perimeter.  There are no condos, roads or bike paths on the golf course; perhaps a few San Franciscans wondering with small dogs on number 18 as you approach the club house, but otherwise the golf course is lined by cypress trees with amply wide fairways and beautiful hole after hole of challenging but straight forward golf.  It is a par 72, the white tees play at 6405 yards (71.1/122).  At one point our own shadows startled us while putting on the back nine, but the sun quickly retreated as it does in San Francisco.

"TPC Harding" golf

TPC Harding Park Cypress and Lake Merced

We played our round in four hours and ten minutes, a treat to never have to wait as this is not always the case on some public golf courses.  Chris in the pro shop gave us sound advice “the new greens run true.”  TPC Harding Park has a full driving range and range balls are included with the green fees. The dining facility at TPC Harding is very nice and they have a good selection of beers with outdoor tables overlooking the lake.  Across Lake Merced, which borders several holes on the back nine and over the hill, is the Olympic Club where the 2012 US Open was held.  Just across Lake Merced is the Pacific Rod and Gun Club. Established in 1934, it is the last facility of its kind in a major metropolitan area.  I mention this fact because you may experience the sound of shot guns as you play the back nine. The gun club opens at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday.  They close at 5:00 p.m. so you could fit in a round or two of skeet after golf with an early tee time.  ($40 a round of skeet including steel shot that you have to buy there.)

I played Lincoln Park Golf Course a long, long time ago and remember the views of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. The Presidio Golf Course is on my list to play and it is known for its tight fairways. I will come back to TPC Harding Park as it was a premier golf experience with excellent facilities, friendly staff and an outstanding golf course.

"Evan D. Brown" "TPC Harding"

Evan D. Brown drives it home from TPC Harding Park 18th tee

Insider Tip

Did you know that TPC Harding Park is an ADA accessible golf course? For ADA program access, the accessible route to teeing grounds, putting greens and other playing areas is via the accessible golf cart. The accessible cart at Harding Park Golf Course is available for use with 24 hour notice. For additional insider tips follow Luxury Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown on Twitter @nancydbrown and TPC Harding Park on Twitter for golf tips @TPCHarding.

If You Go:
TPC Harding Park Golf   (415) 664-4690

99 Harding Road
San Francisco, CA 94132

Related Post

Golfing at Half Moon Bay Golf Links

Article and photos by Cory Brown who was a guest of TPC Harding Park.