Angel Island Or The Amalfi Coast?
On a clear day, if you look carefully from our apartment (aka Oliver Charles HQ), you can see the tiniest sliver of an island right in the middle of the Bay.
I'm not talking about Alcatraz. No, I'm talking about Angel Island. It's the largest natural island in San Francisco Bay Area and has quite a history.
One could say that Angel Island is as versatile as our sweaters.
The island's history began as a seasonal hunting and gathering location for native tribes and a safe refuge for Spanish explorers.
Angel Island then did a hundred-year stint as a cattle ranch.
Finally, the island served as an immigration station similar to Ellis Island, a POW camp, and a missile base.
Then in 1954, Angel Island hung up its hat and retired to live the good life as a state park, serving as a refugee for city folk looking for a quick getaway.
It just so happens that I am one of those city folk!
So last weekend, with my girlfriend by my side and my new summer sweater on my back, I decided to explore this fabled island.
I've lived in San Francisco for the last 5 years and have never been to Angel Island, chalking it up to something tourists do.
Wow, do I regret that decision because the island was easily one of the most beautiful places I'd ever been. I can't believe it took me this long.
It's far too easy to get caught up in the routine of a city or a place and miss the most wonderful parts.
The first step was getting to Angel Island. While the island is only 6 miles from the shore, it takes about an hour to get there via the ferry.
It's a long but enjoyable ride. The cityscape views are pretty spectacular unless, of course, Karl The Fog is hanging around.
You can still see the tips of the iconic Transamerica Pyramid and the controversial Salesforce Tower.
We arrived at the island and docked in a bay riddled with small leisurely boats.
With jagged hills and lush green trees kissing the cool water's edge, you'd think you'd been transported to the Italian coast; if not for the iconic green water only San Fransisco Bay can offer.
After departing the boat, we made a beeline for the beach to stick our toes in the water.
We were quickly reminded that the average temperature of the Bay is 56 degrees.
Luckily the temperature that day was well into the 80s. We quickly forgot about the bone-chilling cold of the water and headed off to find a shady spot for lunch.
The perfect picnic table amongst the trees was up the hill, looking out over the bay of arrival.
After a quick lunch, we decided to head out and look for a sunnier table to play cards and enjoy a few beers.
With each twist and turn, another picturesque view took our breath away.
We couldn't believe that such a beautiful place was so close to San Francisco.
We forgot that we were anywhere near a city. Only to be reminded by the Golden Gate Bridge peaking head above Karl's soft white clouds.
Finally, we found the perfect spot. A secluded picnic table peached just on the edge of a cliff.
It couldn't get any better than this. We had our new summer sweaters, ice-cold beers, and sweet tunes.
Not even losing at a game of gin rummy could wipe the smile off Maggie's face.
Time truly does fly when you're having fun… and fly it did.
Before we knew it, we had to return to the bay to catch the day's last ferry.
So with unfinished beers in hand, we set off in a fast walk.
We made it to the boat just in time. We climbed aboard and started our journey back.
It was a perfect San Francisco day, complemented by my beautiful girlfriend and a few gorgeous summer sweaters.