San Francisco Neighborhoods – Divisadero Corridor

Friday December 10, 2010 at 12:12 AM | 8 Comments

Divisadero Art Walk, San Francisco, California, Nancy D. Brown, travel

Welcome to the Divisadero Corridor a San Francisco Neighborhood

Welcome to the Neighborhood: A Series About San Francisco Neighborhoods

To really get to know San Francisco and to feel like a traveler and not just a tourist, visitors to the city should venture beyond the famous landmarks and get out into the neighborhoods. San Francisco’s neighborhoods are as diverse and interesting as the people who live here – it is so much fun to find the neighborhood that has your name all over it so that you can return time and time again to experience the delights of the city as locals would.

Divisadero Corridor Neighborhood – DivCo for short
Some neighborhoods are a few short blocks (i.e. Dogpatch), while others are eight square blocks (i.e. Chinatown). The neighborhood on our radar at this very moment is somewhere in between. This neighborhood is newly-named “DivCo” short for Divisadero Corridor. DivCo is a “microhood” of a neighborhood called “NoPa”, which is short for North of Panhandle. The whole area, at one point, was simply called the Western Addition. Sounds complicated, I know, but just think of these new neighborhood names as a sign of gentrification, neighborhood pride, and viable businesses and homes clustered together forming a community.


Divisadero Farmers Market, San Francisco, California, Nancy D. Brown

Western Addition – Now Micro Neighborhoods
In the case of DivCo, the area we’ll concentrate on,  this sprouting community runs roughly six blocks of Divisadero, from McAllister to Page. It is worth noting that not everyone embraces the name DivCo – naturally many old-timers and even some newbies hate it, so maybe you shouldn’t bandy that term around while you’re exploring this neighborhood.

The OLD Divisadero Streets of San Francisco
For many years, Divisadero was one of those streets that you find in every city – not the most scenic route but usually expeditious for getting from one side of town to the other. No reason to stop along the way, just power through to get to the final destination. That was the old Divisadero street; the one that we see today is the result of the Divisadero Streetscape Improvement Project: landscaped mediums (109 new trees!), new olde-world style street lamps, improved sidewalks and pedestrian access, and even a parklet.

What makes a thriving San Francisco Neighborhood
With the improvements came the things one expects of a thriving neighborhood in San Francisco: excellent restaurants, interesting bars, unique local shops, art venues and a farmer’s market. The neighborhood is still finding its vibe, which is nice because it is accessible and cool, but not too hip. It’s not a scene, but a neighborhood that lacks pretense and will welcome you. Now’s the time to explore!
To explore all that DivCo has to offer, start at lunch time and end at dinner. In between meals you can shop, wander, have a beverage or two and people-watch. Here are our recommendations:


Mojo Bicycle Cafe, Divisadero, San Francisco, California, Nancy D. Brown

Eat Lunch at Mojo Bicycle Cafe. Enjoy a salad or sandwich and a glass of wine at this bicycle shop/cafe. Have dinner at Ragazza. San Francisco is in the midst of a full-scale pizza war, and the recently opened Ragazza has some heavy artillery. The salads and sides are standouts too – the roasted squash with ricotta, currants and almonds is one of our faves.

Shop The Perish Trust. Art, antiques and amusements is how the owners describe their inventory. We call it a selection of beautifully curated items that proprietors Rod Hipskind & Kelly Ishikawa have put in their shop to tempt you.
The Prairie Collective – four friends and three business share space in this shop, offering jewelry, flowers, art, and all sorts of “uncommon goods”.
The Other Shop – get your mid-century modern on at this collective of 18 knowledgable and selective dealers.
Drink at Mini Bar SF. The name says it all – it is mini. What it lacks in size it makes up for in style, nice people and always interesting art.
Madrone Art Bar has art, art and more art. Plus specialty cocktails, super nice bartenders, a good crowd and great music.

Painted Ladies, Alamo Square, San Francisco, Nancy D. Brown, Travel

Explore Alamo Square. Enter Alamo Square one block off  Divisadero Street on Fulton. The Painted Ladies with the backdrop of the downtown San Francisco skyline never gets old, and soon you’ll be able to see The Painted Gentlemen too.

Some of the city’s best Victorians are located in this neighborhood, so have a wander around.
Divisadero Art Walk – community galleries, bars and restaurants feature art. Locals and visitors become art walkers at around 5pm. The shows generally lasts until midnight. This monthly event is a great time to get a feel for the community.
Divisadero Farmers Market This Sunday Farmer’s market also offers a chance to check out the neighborhood. There’s often live music and there’s always delicious food. Coffee by Mojo Bicycle Cafe.

What is your favorite neighborhood in San Francisco? What are your favorite things to do in San Francisco?

Related Post:

Things to Do in San Francisco


Painted Ladies photo courtesy of  Sogospelman.

Travel Gift Guide – Gifts for Traveler

Friday December 3, 2010 at 12:12 AM | 7 Comments

Airship Ventures, Zeppelin, Golden Gate Bridge, Nancy D. Brown, travel

Travel Gift Guide for the Globetrotter in your life

Whether you prefer travel by land, sea or air, this travel holiday gift guide has a gift in mind for every traveler. From high ticket, luxury travel experiences to affordable stocking stuffers for the travel girl or guy in your life, this list has something to please everyone.

Up In the Air Travel

Love taking aerial photographs, but not wild about hanging out of a helicopter while being harnessed to the door frame? Take a ride in Airship Ventures Zeppelin. From Los Angeles to Monterey and San Francisco, this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is the ideal gift for the adventure seeking traveler. Visit the Airship Ventures website for special holiday pricing.

Hornblower Cruises or Hurtigruten – Sail the West Coast

Be it sailing California’s West Coast with Hornblower Cruises or plying Norway’s West Coast waters with Hurtigruten,  sea-worthy travelers will want to keep their eye on the horizon. For gift ideas such as a holiday wine tasting cruise on San Francisco Bay or a whale watching cruise in San Diego, Hornblower Cruises has got California’s west coast destinations covered.

For a sailing adventure further afield, look to Hurtigruten to offer seven day coastal voyages on Norway’s West Coast. There are plenty of things to see and do in Norway while sailing aboard one of 14 Hurtigruten ships.


California, Hornblower Cruises, Golden Gate Bridge, Nancy D. Brown, travel

Travel Gift of Goodwill – Donate to Passports with Purpose

Here’s a holiday gift idea that will make everyone feel good and doesn’t even require gift wrap. Passports with Purpose is helping to build a village in India.

For a $10 donation you will be able to select a prize that a travel blogger has donated in support of Passports with Purpose. My sponsors, HurtigrutenUSA and Briggs & Riley have each donated an item. HurtigrutenUSA has donated a seven-day Norwegian Coastal voyage for two, valued at $2,074. Briggs and Riley donated a 22” Upright carry-on, a $290 value.

Carried Away on the Streets of San Francisco

Leave your car keys and your cares behind for a day of fun on the streets of San Francisco. Carried Away is a new car tour company run by two fun, energetic and knowledgeable ladies from the San Francisco Bay Area. Foodies will love the Snacker’s Delight tour, while the Big Soak will give you a full day of things to do in San Francisco .

Hands Free Travel

Scottevest, travel apparel, Nancy D. Brown, travel

The Scottevest allows for hands free travel

We all know a gadget guy or girl. Someone who has state–of-the art ear phones plugged into their iPod in one hand, while an Otterbox smart phone case protects their precious iPhone in the other hand;  an iPad is tucked into their carry on bag, that hangs over the shoulder. Imagine if a stylish travel vest existed that allowed the gadget guy to carry all of his travel items in his vest, while leaving him hands free to breeze through airport security. Such a vest exists and its called the Scottevest.

As an equestrian, I wear the Scottevest, priced at $100, on my horseback rides. Of course, the vest also comes in handy while I’m traveling. Their latest product for the traveler is the SEv Carry-On Coat.

A major airline refused to run an advertisement for the SEv Carry-On Coat in their in-flight magazine. Why? Because the $225 coat contains 33 pockets – enough to eliminate the need to check baggage on a weekend trip.

Safe Travel

Are you a woman who travels often for business or pleasure? Are you a collage student or backpacker staying in inexpensive hotel rooms? Priced at $19.99 the Ila WEDGE portable door alarm makes a great stocking stuffer for the security minded traveler.   Turn the power switch on and slide the wedge under the door as an extra security measure. The locked door will be difficult to open and the ear-splitting alarm will ward off intruders.


Lightweight Travel

Sick and tired of paying checked luggage fees? Back hurt from lifting heavy luggage into the overhead airline storage bins? Check out Briggs and Riley’s BRX Explore 22″ Upright Carryon. At seven and a half pounds, this light weight carry-on luggage from Briggs & Riley will have travelers worldwide singing Joy to the World this holiday season.


Mosquito Free Travel

Insect Shield, Halo, ExOfficio, Nancy D. Brown, travel apparel

ExOfficio has joined with Insect Shield to create insect resistant clothing

The fisherman, equestrian or adventurous traveler on your list will thank you for their insect shield clothing from ExOfficio.

ExOfficio has joined forces with Insect Shield to create insect shield clothing, proven effective up to 70 washings. I have the Halo woman’s long-sleeve shirt, retailing for $60. Kids with limited budgets might consider giving the Insect Shield Vented Hiker Sock. Priced at $14.92 on the website, and made from 17% wool, these socks protect you from bugs and keep your toes warm.

Related Posts:

For the book lover on your list, Ten Perfect Gifts for Travelers Who Read.

Travel Clothes – Holiday Gift Guide

What are your holiday gift ideas for the traveler?

Airship Ventures photo by Nancy D. Brown, California Hornblower photo courtesy of Hornblower Cruises and Events.

Travel Tips on raveable

Best Things to See and Do on Hawaii’s Big Island

Friday November 26, 2010 at 12:12 AM | 3 Comments

King Kamehameha, Big Island, Hawaii, Nancy D. Brown, travel

Come to Hawaii’s Big Island, Get Your Picture Taken with King Kamehameha

My favorite tips and locations for the Big Island in Hawaii.

The first place I take a visitor from out of town is to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park! (HVNP)

When I crave Big Island cuisine, I turn to Hilo Farmers Market.

To escape work I go to  Kalapana. I like the Hawaiian Lava Daily blog for what’s currently happening with the lava flow. The official site is the County of Hawaii site.

For complete quiet, I can hide away at Waianuhea Inn in Honokaaa.

If you come to the Kohala Coast, get your picture taken by the plume coming from Halemaumau Crater, or the black sand beach at Kalapana or the King Kamehameha statue in Kapaau.

If you have to order one thing off the menu at Hilo Bay Cafe, get the Blue Bay Burger.

The Kohala Coast is my one stop shop for adventure. On my recent visit I swam with dolphins and sea turtles, went horseback riding, took a helicopter ride over lava flows and watched my friends go zip-lining!

Hawaii Paso Finos, horseback riding, Nancy D. Brown, travel, Hawaii, Big Island

Go on a horseback riding vacation on Hawaii’s Big Island

When I’m feeling cash-strapped, I go to Café 100.

For a huge splurge, I go to Monette’s at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel.

Photo ops on the Big Island include HVNP, sunsets on the Kohala Coast, boats and giant cleats on Kailua Pier, Ahuena Heiau, the Puna coastline, Hapuna Beach, Puukohola Heiau, the pastures and ranches of Waimea and sunsets at Mauna Kea summit.

The best vantage points are taken by walking to the top of Mauna Kea.

The most random thing about the Kohala Coast is the Kona Coffee & Cultural Festival – this is its 40th year.

On the Big Island, an active day outdoors involves walking or hiking the Kilauea Iki Trail, HVNP, horseback riding, swimming with dolphins and sea turtles or surfing.

My favorite walking route is the Ala Kahakai Trail along the Kohala Coast or Queen Liliuokalani Park in Hilo.

The Big Island’s best museums are Imiloa Astronomy Center and Lyman Museum.

Kona Village, luau, hula dancers, Hawaii, Big Island, Nancy D. Brown, travel

Kona Village for an authentic Hawaiian Luau

For a night of dancing, go to Lulu’s in Kona.

Ken’s House of Pancakes in Hilo is the spot for late night dining.

To find out what’s going on a night or on weekends, read the  Hawaii Tribune Herald –Saturday section has the Calendar of Events. West Hawaii Today and Big Island Weekly, as well.

You can tell a lot about Hawaii’s Big Island from visiting the Kohala Coast
and watching Outrigger canoe racing events.

In the spring you should attend Merrie Monarch Hula Festival, if you can get tickets!

In the summer you should attend Queen Liliuokalani Canoe Races in Kona and the Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament in Kona.

In the fall you should visit Kona coffee country.

In the winter you should go to Mauna Kea. The volcano could be covered in snow!

Mauna Lani Resort, Love Pond, Hawaii, Big Island, Nancy D. Brown, travel

Hidden gem on Hawaii’s Big Island is the Love Pond at Mauna Lani Resort

A hidden gem on the Kohala Coast is Love Pond at the Mauna Lani Resort.

For a great breakfast treat or espresso, go to the Island Lava Java on Alii Drive in Kona

In Hilo you can visit Rainbow Falls or Akaka Falls, just outside of Hilo. Have lunch at the Hilo Bay Café, or What’s Shakin’ in Pepeekeo.

The best way to see the Kohala Coast is by car and helicopter.  You are able to walk around in Hilo and Kona, but to get around the island, you gotta have a car.

If you have kids, you won’t want to miss: going to Hapuna Beach State Park or to Imiloa Astronomy Center.

What are your favorite things to do on Hawaii’s Big Island?

Lava flow, Hawaii's Big Island, Hawaii, Kohana Coast, Nancy D. Brown, travel

Take a helicopter ride over Hawaii’s Kohala Coast and flowing lava

Thanks to Big Island Visitors Bureau and Jessica Ferracane of Irondog Communications for assistance with this post. You may also follow the Hawaiian Island on Twitter or become a Facebook Fan of Hawaii. I was a guest of Big Island Visitors Bureau. Article, YouTube video and photos by Nancy D. Brown

Related Posts:

Best Things to See and Do in Honolulu, Hawaii

Horseback Riding Vacation on Kohala Coast, Hawaii