1 Night and 1 Day in Point Reyes

While everyone is enjoying the holiday week and weekend, I got exactly 1 day (the 4th of July) to take advantage of an abbreviated vacation. Dean and I took off after work on Wednesday and headed to scenic Point Reyes which is an hour away from San Francisco. Given the limited timeframe, I made sure to pack it in. Here is a visual summary of our 1 night, 1 day vacation.

We stayed at the Tomales Bay Resort in Inverness. Nothing says vacation more than being right on the water.

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We had dinner at the Michael Bauer (SF Food Critic)–approved Sir and Star in Olema. Service was horrendous, but the food was so incredible I didn’t mind. Everything is very locally-sourced within a few miles of the restaurant. Fuck real foie gras, their faux gras was a jar of fatty buttery goodness; it truly should be illegal.

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We had brunch outdoors at the Station House Cafe in Point Reyes Station.

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The Tomales Point Trail took us 4 hours to hike round-trip: coastal bluffs, tule elk reserve, wildflowers, sand dunes. One of the best hikes ever! The snake that slithered in front of me gave me a scare, but otherwise absolute bliss. We hiked to the very end of the trail, to the edge of the continent.

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Homeward bound!

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Money Monday: Missed Housing Opportunity

I have a set of housing criteria which filter out some real housing gems. One of these criteria is a parking spot which this condo in the Inner Richmond does not have. It’s already in contract and I swear if I had known about it, I would have pounced on it. It’s located just past Laurel Heights (one of my former beloved ‘hoods) near Arguello and Geary in San Francisco. It’s centrally located with a multitude of bus lines that will take you wherever you need to go in the city. And at discounted prices because it’s not in the hotbed of the Mission or SOMA or Potrero Hill. What a steal, especially since people are paying upwards of $700,000 for dorm-room lofts in those areas. Advice: broaden your range and criteria. There are deals to be had out there!

262 3rd Avenue – $429,000 – 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, 0 parking condominium

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Money Monday: Retiring in the San Francisco Bay Area

My friend Affinity chided me for looking outside of the Bay Area and away from family, when I can very well retire here at home. She was totally right. She wrote a guest blog post on retiring early here. It was one of my most highly-trafficked posts.

I spent some time on Zillow and found the following places. There are some serious deals to be had.

$250,000 – 3 bedroom, 2 bath home in Vallejo, CA – 30 minutes to wine country,  40 minutes to SF by car

It’s like a cheap version of Falcon Crest or Dallas, right? Clearly a little dated, but definitely has character. A retired couple like me and Dean have no need for 3 bedrooms, but just wanted to showcase the breadth of what’s available.

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$169,000 – 2 bedroom, 2 bath condo in Hayward, CA – 1 hour to wine country,  30 minutes to SF by car

This is perfect! 1 bathroom for me, 1 bathroom for Dean. 1 bedroom for me, 1 bedroom for Dean. Haha! This place is a score at the price. I might have to buy it now. Rent this place out and have it completely paid for by the time we retire. Who I am kidding? We can write a check for the list price, forego the mortgage, save 4% on interest, and rent to college students since Cal State Hayward is across the street! I’m seriously going to ponder this investment.

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$155,000 – 2 bedroom, 1.5 bath home in Concord, CA – 45 minutes to wine country,  35 minutes to SF by car

This price is a steal. I am tasting retirement! 55 here we come.

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Purisima Creek Redwoods

Purisima Creek Redwoods, an hour south of San Francisco, is the Mt. Tam of the Peninsula. The parking lot is full, the open space preserve is busy, but as soon as you put in some mileage and hike toward the summit, you only see ripped mountain bikers with true grit. Can’t say I’d go again, I was rather bored with the redwood scenery that never changed despite the several hour hike. But the centipede and banana slug were pretty awesome.

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Ring Mountain Hike

We went for a hike up Ring Mountain on Saturday. It’s so weird to live in a place for as long as I have and to discover completely new terrain. Ring Mountain sits atop the billion dollar homes in the Tiburon hills. There are like crazy mini White Houses behind gated fortresses in this neighborhood. Ritzy!

Ironically, across the hill on the other side of the bay is a place close to Johnny Cash‘s heart…San Quentin prison. Yeehah! See it up close and center in the 3rd picture below.

Two things that make this open space preserve special: 1) million dollar views of the Bay Area, including San Francisco, and 2) a unique geology of soil so toxic to most plants that the ones that do survive are extremely rare. At the very top of the mountain is Turtle Rock which rock climbers frequent.

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