It’s a T-Sweets Day in San Carlos, Mexico!

Getting together with family is always a well anticipated and treasured experience. This year my husband and I were in charge of the party and we hosted it in one of our favorite destinations, San Carlos, Mexico.

San Carlos is about 6 hours down from the US border right on the ocean. I love it there because it is like Arizona with a beach.

I spent my time watching my SWEET grand children play in the water.

We enjoyed going out on the boat to see the mountains and the waves. We like to snorkel and scuba dive.

I took a lot of pictures. Here are three of my favorites.

It was a wonderful and much needed vacation. I feel refreshed and ready to start back with life again.

Thank you for stopping by today. I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day!!

Walking Tour of San Francisco

It is easy to find a lot to do in San Francisco, but it is crazy hard finding a free self guided walking tour.  But never fear, I have organized one for you that is totally fun, easy to follow, and is FREE! Yea:)!!

This tour is about 5 miles long with A LOT of steps.   You will want to start in the morning around 10:00 or 11:00am so you can see everything.  The tour includes the following:

  1. The Ferry Building
  2. Ride a Cable Car
  3. See China Town
  4. Eat a fresh fortune cookie
  5. Rest by St. Peter and Paul church
  6. Stairs to Coit Tower
  7. Coit Tower
  8. The Filbert Stairs
  9. Visit Pier 39

Doesn’t that sound fun?  So, if you are ready, put on a nice pair of walking shoes and let’s get started!  

1. The Ferry Building–

Let’s start at the Historic Ferry Building and Market.   The Ferry Building is at Pier 1 on the Embarcadero.   You can park nearby or take the BART and exit at the Embarcadero stop.

If you take the BART, come up to the street and look North.  You will see the Ferry Building.  Walk over to it and go inside.

The building was built in 1898.  It now has a market place inside with lots of vendors and good food. 

I recommend getting an ice cream cone at Humphrey Slocombe. It is ranked one of the top 5 ice creams in America! The “Secret Breakfast” is wonderful❤️. Yum!!

Shop around for a while and then head outside the front exit. Be sure to check out the views of the Bay Bridge while you are here.  If the walking Pier is open, that is right next to the Ferry Building, you might want to walk to the end and take a picture or two.

2.  Ride a Cable Car


Head back up Market Street to the Cable Car station pick up. It is located right next to the Hyatt Hotel.  

Hop on board and enjoy the ride.  The conductor will collect your fare.  It costs about $7.00 a person. You can sit or stand as you move along.

Get off at Grant Ave.   You will be in China Town.

3. China Town


China Town is so pretty with all of its red hanging lanterns. Walk down the street and check out some of the trinket shops.  Everything is so inexpensive here.   It is a good place to buy your souvenirs.

4. Golden Gate Cookie Factory

A trip to China Town would not be complete without a fresh Chinese fortune cookie.


Walk down Grant Ave and turn left on Washington Street.  There will be a small alley way on the right called Ross Alley.  Head down the alley and near the end, on your right, will be the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory.

Go inside and watch how they make fortune cookies.   You can buy a bag of cookies to share with your friends back home.  They also give free samples:)

When you are finished head out of the alley to Jackson Street and turn left.

5. Washington Square / Saint Peter and Paul Church–  

Walk down Jackson Street and turn right on Stockton Street.  Follow Stockton Street all the way to Washington Square.  You will pass by a lot of good Italian food restaurants.  You may want to grab a bite to eat here. 

Don’t get confused at the three way crossing at Columbus Ave. and Green Street.  Just keep going on Stockton Street.  You will run right into Washington Square.


Take a moment to rest and enjoy the view.  The church is so pretty.

6.  Stairs to Coit Tower-

Take a deep breath and get ready for a real workout.  Walk right, up Filbert Street, to the Stairs to the Tower.  

This is a steep climb with a lot of stairs. So take your time and take breaks when you need them. Enjoy the views of the Transamerica Pyramid as you go.

 

7. Coit Tower


When you finally reach Coit Tower, you will want to stop and take a breath or two.  The views here are spectacular. 

There is a free art gallery inside the tower filled with depression era art that celebrates the worker of American industry. 

You can pay to go to the top of the tower if you would like.  The tower closes at 6:00 p.m. So plan your walk accordingly.

8. The Filbert Stairs

Exit the tower and head back along the road using the walking path that is divided from the road by a rock wall.  Walk to the end of the rock wall toward the steps you came up earlier.  Turn left instead of right.  

You will see a blue fire hydrant next to a staircase walking path.   These are called the Filbert steps.   There are 400 steps here!

The residents have built beautiful homes and planted lovely gardens. It is hard to believe people actually live here and have to walk these stairs everyday!  

Turn around and take a look at what you just walked down!  Give yourself a pat on the back, you deserve it!  Keep walking for a short bit  then turn left at Sansome Street. 

9. Pier 39 –

Follow Sansome all the way to the Embarcadero.    Cross the street and turn left.  Walk to Pier 39.  


We are at our final stop, but what a place to stop!  There are so many things to see and do here that you can stay for quite a while.  There is a carousel in the back, vast amounts of shopping, and the food options are numerous.  From hot dogs to crab they are all here.  


Be sure to walk around the outside of the pier.  The views are beautiful, but the most unique part of the pier is the sea lions.  There are hundreds of them here that like to rest and bask in the sun!

When you are finished at the Pier,  catch the Embarcadero street car that is in the middle of the street.  It will take you back to your car or to the BART by the Ferry Building .


I hope you have enjoyed your walking tour.  San Francisco is such a fun place to visit.  If  you want more ideas of things to see and do, check out my list of 20 Things to Do in San Francisco.

I hope you have a GREAT trip and would love to hear about your walking tour:)!

What to do on a Caribbean Cruise

I  had the best week last week:). I was able to spend some time cruising with my son and daughter in law in celebration of their graduations.  Yea!

Our ship left from Galveston, TX.  I like road trips, so we left a couple days early and drove there.  We stopped at the Lyndon B. Johnson Ranch along the way.  It was majorly beautiful!

They even have the small jet they call Airforce Half that he used to travel in!  It’s not very big inside.

We wish we had more time to spend there.  If you ever get an opportunity to go here, definitely plan a full morning or afternoon.  

The actual cruise was so fun:). We went to Honduras, Belize, and Cozumel.   Each place was simply beautiful.   We went on the Royal Caribbean Liberty Ship.  

Here is what we did, just in case you ever decide to go and need some ideas of what there is to do:

  • Be sure to go to Diamonds International at all of the ports. There are one or two or three at each of them,   If you go up to any worker and say you would like a charm, they will give you one and a free bracelet!   Each store has a different charm.  It is a fun treasure hunt:)

Roatan, Honduras–   We went to West Bay and hired a boat to take us to see dolphins, starfish, and snorkeling on the coral reef,

  • Dolphins— definitely pass on this unless you pay to get in and actually swim with them.  Our boat just puttered around the outside.  –lame:(
  • Starfish— also a bomb.  Don’t waste your time here.  There is just a bunch of sea grass and sand.  No, no , no!
  • Coral Reef–Snorkeling.  Oh my, oh my, Yes! Yes!   I have been diving in many many places and the clarity of water, the formation of coral, the colors and closeness to the top of the water is spectacular. All you need here is just a snorkel and fins and the beautiful Roatan water.  This is GREAT!!:)

Belize— We prearranged a tour with Major Tom who was the originator of cave tubing and many other tourism sites in Belize. I highly recommend contacting him online and having him organize your shore excursions.   He makes things happen and is so nice!

We went cave tubing  and visited the Mayan ruins.

  • Cave Tubing–  I absolutely love, LOVE this excursion.  We hiked for about 25-30min through the beautiful jungle.  We bought a coconut to drink on the way, but we wish we would not have.  It was awkward to carry the coconut, the tube, and hike.  It was definitely not necessary.  —  The cave was AMAZING with brief moments of illuminating jungle views shining through the darkness. BEAUTIFUL!!  
    Here is a picture from Major Tom’s website
  • Altun-Ha Mayan Ruins—  The ruins are on the opposite side of the city from the caves. It is a long, windy, bumpy ride, but so so worth it.  Major Tom bought us a delicious lunch of chicken and rice to eat in the van along the way.  Yum!  Although, a white tee shirt, greasy chicken, and a bumpy road don’t make the best of combinations, lol:). — The first view of the ruins is somewhat spirtual.  They are large and grand. We had a wonderful time here. We were able to climb to the top of the largest ruin.  It was spectacular!

Cozumel, Mexico—  

  • There is a lot of very good shopping right off of the ship.  The prices were better here than out of the port area. 
  • The main thing to do here is dive and snorkel. I have been here numerous times and have yet to find that great dive spot.   I know they must be there because I have heard others talk about them.  I just haven’t found them.   Next time I go, I am going to rent a 4wheeler and go to the other side of the island and go to the Chakunaab area.  I hear there is great water over there…..if you go there, let me know.  Plus, the drive should be fun:)
  • We walked the Main Street and found a cozy little tide pool area to explore.   It was relaxing, beautiful, and free!  There is something to be said for that right?

Activities on the Ship– The Liberty of the Sea is not Royal Caribbean’s largest boat but it isn’t the smallest either.  It is like a floating city with over 4,000 people aboard!  I like the openness of the ship.   It doesn’t feel tight or claustrophobic.

There are so many things to do on this ship.

  • Rock climbing is always a fun thing to do on the ocean!
  • How about knee boarding on the waves?
  • And I had to use my cake decorating skills at the cupcake decorating class:)!
  • There is also golf, multiple huge slides, kids water park, ice skating, pools, entertainment, and lots and lots of food!  I must say though, I much prefer Carnival cruise line food.  The dinner food was excellent, but the lunch selection here is  all cafeteria style, and very much the same every day.  So if food is your thing, go Carnival.   But the Royal boat itself is much better:)
  • And of course, any road trip or cruise would not be complete without some crochet or hand work:)!   I brought along white yarn to crochet up a baby blessing afghan for my new grandson:)

I’m not using a pattern here. It is just alternating rows of 1 dc in each stitch – row 2 skip two sc, 3dc in next st.    Looking good!

We had a fantastic time.  I just love spending time with my dear, SWEET family.    Now I am home and starting that diet!!!


A Vacation for a Stamp?

We went on a vacation with my parents a few years back and stopped at the Hopewell Indian National Monument in Ohio.  While we were there, I noticed a fun little Passport Book that you can take with you around the country and stamp with the different park’s name and date.

I had no idea how much fun this was going to be.  My dad and I kind of compete to see who can get the most stamps:). For our Fathers Day gift to him, my husband and I took him and my mom on a trip to Flagstaff Arizona so we could get some stamps in our passports.  It was WONDERFUL!

I am so thankful to this little book.  I have lived in Arizona for over 50 years, and my dad has lived here almost 80 and we have never seen or even heard of these fantastic places.  We wanted to hit four parks, but because of time, we could only see three. That’s ok though, we will stop at Montezuma’s Castle another time. I just love road trips and go whenever I can:)

Our first stop was just outside of Cottonwood called Tuzigoot National Monument.  It wasn’t very big, the hike was short and the view was beautiful. image It was over 100* and there was no shade, so we made sure to have our water. The big house was made with rocks and more rocks. There were little rooms with windows and stairs.

It didn’t take long to walk around and explore these ruins.  We stopped at the little mining town of Jerome for a bbq lunch at the English Kitchen.  It was so good!

They made homemade corn bread with prickly pear butter and yummy pulled pork sandwiches and more.  If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend it:)

We drove through beautiful Sedona which could have been the destination in itself.  It is so green and beautiful there.  I loved how the weather cooled down as we got higher in elevation.

We were happy that the next two monuments were on the same road just north of Flagstaff.  Yea!  The first was Sunset Crater.  It is the site where a volcano erupted over 900 years ago.

 

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image It gave me  a  weird feeling to see all of the lava rock and black sand.  I can’t believe that this is just right off of the highway a few miles and I didn’t even know it!   I will be bringing my kids back here to see it for sure

The final stop was further down the road, Wupatki National Monument. image  This Indian ruin was impressive.  There were lots of sand stone rooms and it covered a lot of land.  We just stayed near the first large building.

 

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We had such a fun day and I got THREE more stamps in my passport! SWEET!!

–Tracy:)