Photo Essay: The San Francisco Bay Area

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This week’s guest post and photo essay takes you to the San Francisco Bay area thanks to Cathy Sweeney of Traveling With Sweeney. You can also follow Cathy on Twitter and Facebook.

Enjoy the sights through Cathy’s eyes.

I often think about how lucky I am to be living in the San Francisco Bay Area where I expect I’ll never run out of nearby places to explore.

The following photos were taken in places around the Bay Area that I’ve visited recently.

Iconic symbols of San Francisco’s skyline: Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill and the Transamerica Pyramid seen from the bay near Pier 39.

"The San Francisco skyline"

The San Francisco skylin

Where’s the street? I never cease getting a thrill from driving on the steep hills of the city. The feeling that you’re about to drive off a cliff is always a big hit with out-of-town visitors.

"San Francisco steep street"

San Francisco steep street

Although I don’t have the patience to watch baseball games on television, I love going to the ballpark to cheer on the World Champion San Francisco Giants. From these seats you can watch the game while seeing the bay, sailboats and hills in the distance. What a view!

"ATT Park"

ATT Park

The gate to Chinatown at Bush Street and Grant Avenue is a widely-recognized San Francisco landmark.

"The Chinatown Gate"

The Chinatown Gate

Many people visiting Chinatown stick to the tourist shops and restaurants on Grant Avenue, but there is more beyond the famous gate on streets like Waverly Place, called “The Street of Painted Balconies” for its colorful and decorative buildings.

"Balconies at Waverly Place"

Balconies at Waverly Place

Further into Chinatown, there are hidden alleys rarely seen by tourists.

"Old Chinatown Lane"

Old Chinatown Lane

The panoramic views of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco from the Marin Highlands are hard to beat. It’s another one of those places we make a point to visit with guests.

"Panoramic view of the Golden Gate Bridge"

Panoramic view of the Golden Gate Bridge

The world-famous wine-producing areas of Napa and Sonoma counties are short drives from San Francisco and one of my favorite places on earth. This photo was taken at Ferrari-Carano Vineyards in the Dry Creek region near Healdsburg.

"The Ferrari Carano vineyard"

The Ferrari Carano vineyard

While in wine country, you can spend some time with Charlie Brown and friends at the Charles M Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa.

"Interior of the Schulz Museum"

Interior of the Schulz Museum

The think that the Bay Area’s activist culture is represented well with Big Piece IV (2008), a sculpture by Cuban-born artist Tony Labat. It brightens the view of the city of Oakland and hills from the tiered terrace of the Oakland Museum of California.

"OMCA Sculpture"

OMCA Sculpture

The serene vistas of the Livermore Valley in the East Bay are a striking contrast to the crowded highways, large cities and suburban population centers nearby.

"Livermore Valley vistas"

Livermore Valley vistas

Livermore’s historic downtown area has a diverse selection of shops and restaurants. This mural titled “City of Livermore, Wine Country Since 1849” depicts historical scenes. Wine lovers may be surprised to learn that the Petite Syrah varietal was first produced in the Livermore Valley fifty years ago.

"Livermore Mural"

Livermore Mural

Surfers love the challenges of the waves along the coast at Half Moon Bay, south of San Francisco on the peninsula.

"Surfer"

Surfer

Nearby Maverick’s Beach, in particular, is a haven for extreme surfers and is currently featured in the movie, Chasing Mavericks.

"Giant waves for the extreme surfers"

Giant waves for the extreme surfers

But it’s not all about the ocean in the Half Moon Bay area which has many farms that grow flowers, Christmas trees, fruits and vegetables.

"Pastorino Farms"

Pastorino Farms

This is just a taste of the San Francisco Bay Area. There’s so much more!

Have you been to San Francisco or some of the near by communities?

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