A Wet and Windy Day in San Francisco
When I travel I try to make the most of my time in a new place and cram my days with activities. My reasoning is that there are so many places in the world to see that I don’t have time to make a return visit. So, I try to see as much as I can in one go and move on to the next place. It may not be the best logic but it certainly allows me to see a lot of things. Although…there are some places that I can’t help but go back to. Take San Francisco, try as I might I just can’t get enough of the place. So when I was invited to head up north and preview the new Diane Arbus exhibit at SFMOMA I was all in. I booked a flight and headed there for a day of art, adventure and rain. Lots and lots of rain.
Prior to my visit I checked the weather report, saw rain in the forecast and told myself to grab my umbrella but when I was on the plane I realized I’d left it in the car. When I landed I caught the BART at the airport, headed into the city and found myself in a crazy rainstorm. There was wind and rain and more wind and more rain. I ended up buying an overpriced umbrella at the museum and decided not to let the weather ruin my day in one of my favorite cities. And I have to admit it’s a pretty cool umbrella.
Last year SFMOMA reopened after a multi-year renovation and I was eager to check it out. I had never actually visited prior to the changes but I love a good art museum. Especially when the featured exhibition is all about Diane Arbus. Arbus was a New York photographer active during the mid 20th Century. her deeply personal pieces often showcased people on the margins of society and offered sympathetic glimpses into their lives. I’ve long been a fan of her work and was eager to view Diane Arbus: In the Beginning.
Organized by the Metropolitan Museum of Art the exhibit covers Arbus’ first 7 years (1956-1962) as a photographer and features several images never before seen on the West Coast. Several of the pieces were completely new to me and I was impressed at the large variety of subject matter. I was mostly familiar with Arbus as a portrait photographer and was surprised to see several landscapes and still lifes among the pieces on display. There was even a photo of Disneyland castle which I would have never associated her with in the past.
The exhibit was a fascinating glimpse into the early career of this important artist. Viewing it only increased my love of Arbus and her beautiful pieces.
When booking my trip I was happy to discover the California Historical Society headquarters were located just across the street from SFMOMA and decided to head there after the preview. Housed in a historic building that once was a general store it offers a rotating selection of historically focused exhibits and on display during my visit was Vintage Wine, Beer and Spirits Labels.
I love historic graphics and the exhibit did not disappoint. Featuring an array of labels produced by the (now defunct) Lehmann Printing and Lithographing Company of San Francisco it offered a fascinating glimpse into a time when product labels were true works of art.
I was having such a wonderful time at the Historical Society when I received an email stating my return flight had been moved from SFO to Oakland and would depart the next morning. Wha?? Expecting to only be in town one day I hadn’t booked a hotel room. Was I going to need to rent a car and drive home? Book a hotel room? Before I hit full panic mode I stopped for lunch and decided to investigate. Lo and behold the email was sent in error. My flight was still diverted to Oakland but it was leaving at the scheduled time. Phew! Oakland I could handle. Plus, one of my favorite San Francisco spots was on the way there so I knew exactly where I was going next.
Offering free admission and with its own F-Line stop it’s hard not visit this teeny tiny spot. And for such a small museum it houses an abundance of historic items pertaining to the city’s transportation history.
I love it and was glad I had a chance to stop in.
Then I headed to the Ferry Building to indulge in some culinary delights for housed in the historic structure is a food hall offering a wide variety of handmade items. Since I’d already had lunch I decided to grab dessert and headed to Humphrey Slocombe. Since my last visit the famed ice cream spot had opened an outlet in the building and I was eager to give it a try. I decided to go all out and get the Bourbon Coke Float – consisting of their Secret Breakfast ice cream (whiskey and cornflakes), coke and bourbon caramel.
Now, I am not joking when I say it was one of the most delicious things I’ve ever tasted. Maybe it just hit the spot at the moment but it was SO good. The fizzy coke, the crunchy Bourbon caramel and the sweet ice cream made for an amazing combination. I’m salivating just thinking about it.
After I enjoyed my treat it was time to head to the airport and bid adieu to the City by the Bay. Despite the weather I had a fantastic time and already can’t wait until I return.