Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Cheryl greeted us with a delicious rhubarb custard pie.
(Oops, I just found a draft of this unfinished post.  maybe I'll finish it one of these days)April 2012- After talking about a bookstore tour of San Francisco for months, last weekend I boarded a plane, planning to rendezvous with my mom, who lives in Kentucky, at SFO.   By some miracle of airline kismet, both of our flights arrived early (!) and without incident. We met at the BART station and boarded a train for the East Bay, where Cheryl collected us in her car to complete a planes, trains, and automobiles journey.  In fact the trip began just north of Seattle with a bus and light rail to the airport, so I managed to travel all but the last mile without a car.

Cheryl browsing at Readers Bookstore
We enjoyed a leisurely morning of coffee and pie, then headed into the city.  Our only plan was to go to a bunch of bookstores, so we got off the train at Civic Center Station and aimed for Books, Inc. at 601 Van Ness.  A quick look at the map put the SF Public Library's main branch in our path, so of course someone said. "Let's just pop our heads in and check out the building."  To our delight, we found a little bookstore called Readers at the Main, run by volunteers of the Friends of the SFPL.  This lovely, well-lit little shop boasted a well-organized  inventory with plenty of bargains, and we were a little sorry we'd found the shop so early in the day, reluctant to buy too many books that we'd have to lug around the city.   We talked of coming back but knew we probably wouldn't make it.   I think this was the first time I said, "Next time we do this...."
City Hall
After making our purchases, we set off anew, strolling through the plaza in front of City Hall, where all sorts of delicious smells wafted from a raft of food trucks, and we watched a freshly-married couple having their pictures taken in front of the gilt-detailed dome.   In retrospect, this was a good start to our somewhat random walking tour; wide, clean sidewalks alongside museums and theaters made us feel less conspicuous when consulting the map and snapping pictures.
Large Four Piece Reclining Figure, Henry Moore 1973
Within a short walk we found Books, Inc. and Rich, a fellow bookseller I'd met at a conference in January.  He kindly pulled out a Streetwise San Francisco map and pointed us on a pedestrian-friendly route to our next destination, 826 Valencia, a writing center for kids that raises funds in part by operating San Francisco's only independent pirate supply store.  I have been a fan of Seattle's 826 branch, the Greenwood Space Travel Supply Store, since my first interstellar journey, so this was a must-see while in SF.   ARRRR!
En route to 826,  we stumbled upon Miette, a cute little confectioner that Cheryl and I recognized from their eponymous book.  Sadly, everything I wanted to buy in the shop would have been crushed or melted by the time our day ended.  Oh well. I'd just have to drown my sorrows in more pie later.  

We found Valencia Street and paused for a seat and a snack at Venga! Empanadas.  With so many great eateries to try, we agreed to snack our way around the city rather than have a full meal.  I had the spinach, Cheryl tried the sweet corn, and Mom ordered the mushroom, all freshly baked.  They were all baked to order and tasty, though mine would have been much better if it hadn't been cold in the middle.

No comments:

Post a Comment