Archive for the ‘California Tours’ Category

Wine Tasting Tours By Carriage in California Wine Country

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

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California wine country: three beautiful words that roll off the tip of your tongue. Fittingly, this region of the country also provides beauty for all your other senses. The sights are stunning, the air smells and feels fresh and crisp, the atmosphere is breezy and calm and the wines are deliciously alluring.

Are you planning a visit anytime soon?

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Jetting Around with Reserve123

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

We viagra without prescription love collaborating with all you travel-minded adventures out there.

When you love seeing new places, experiencing new cultures, foods and ways of life and venturing to unknown lands, it’s special when you are able to connect with those who share that same passion.

Our team arranges reservations for almost anything your heart desires, and while we’re busy handling all your preparations, sometimes it’s difficult for us to get out and do some traveling for ourselves! This is where you wonderful travel bloggers come in. We get to live vicariously through your fabulous trips, and occasionally, we can help make them memorable (we’d love to turn that “occasionally” into “frequently,” since you’re always on the go!).

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Limo Rides Through Sonoma

Friday, October 26th, 2012
Antique Limousine Tour of Napa Wineries

Antique Limousine Tour of Napa Wineries

Limo tours of Sonoma can’t be beat, so it is no surprise that this is the most popular way to see California’s beautiful Wine Country.  You can start your tour from San Francisco or from the Napa/Sonoma area and choose from a vintage Packard limousine or a 6 or 8 passenger stretch limo or SUV.  Either way you will see the sights in style as you travel around this well-known region. 

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For a comprehensive tour of Napa and Sonoma, book a limousine for the day and design your own itinerary to fit your interests and budget.  There are hundreds of wineries in Sonoma and Napa, and you will get the chance to do tastings and tours at three of them.  This is a fantastic way to spend the day whether for a special occasion or a normal outing, since you can tour the countryside with your closest friends and loved ones in the privacy of a beautiful, fully-equipped limousine.

Whether you are going for a romantic feel or are simply looking for a unique way to see the sights with family and friends, limo tours are the way to go.  I recently rented one of the 6-passenger stretch limousines during a family reunion weekend in San Francisco so that those who were interested could take a tour of California Wine Country and do some wine tasting.  The trip was a total success and our out of town guests were thrilled to have had the experience with us.  We stopped at a couple of Estate cellars and also a smaller boutique winery and tasted some of the best ports and brandies available anywhere.  I think the family would agree that the memories we made on that day will last us all a lifetime! 

4 Reasons to Visit San Francisco, California

Friday, September 28th, 2012

Lauren and I recently took a trip to the Bay area, and while we wore ourselves out exploring every inch of the city we could, we had a fantastic time. We stomped around SoMa, sailed by the Golden Gate, strolled around Fisherman’s Wharf, ventured through Alcatraz and even wandered about in Chinatown. Like proper little travelers, we made the best of every waking moment. In our minds, sleep was for the weak, and we were anything but weak. Of course we passed out on the plane ride home, but that means each minute was well spent.

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There are countless sites out there with articles on why you should visit San Francisco, and many of them have similar reasons: the crooked street, the Painted Ladies, the cable cars and the list goes on. Honestly, these are all wonderful reasons, but on behalf of the Reserve123 team, I’d like to give you some solid motives to visit the Bay.

#4. The Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge

I know. You were expecting this one, right? Everybody talks about the Golden Gate Bridge and all it’s glory. It’s featured in virtually every movie that’s set in San Francisco, and it’s been photographed more than your favorite celebrity; it’s practically San Francisco’s mascot – with good reason. This bridge is not over-rated, and it’s even better in person. The orange hue is outrageously vibrant, and one roundtrip ride across will have you in admiring its artistic architecture. In short, it’s a beautiful structure, and it’s well worth all the attention it receives.

#3. The Weather

You may or may not have been expecting this one, but it certainly deserves to be on the list (those who crave the heat may disagree). The average high year-round is between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, or 16 and 21 degrees Celsius. In addition, cool currents from the Pacific Ocean generally make for a breezy day and nurture some pretty photo-worthy clouds of fog. Sure, the weather may be predictable, but at least you know what to expect and how to dress – layers!

Avacado Chicken Tacos

#2. The Food

We’ve mentioned the food before. House of Nanking in Chinatown and Boudin at the Wharf both made our hearts swoon, but there are many other hidden gems around the town. Chinatown also produces some sensational dim sum, and the Mission District boasts some terrific taquerías. You can taste of foods from all over the world in 49 square miles. Furthermore, San Franciscans really fancy local ingredients, so you’re sure to find some amazing markets, especially on the weekends. What more could you ask for?

#1. The People

American author James Michener once said, “If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.” He was right. Perhaps the most special aspect of any city is the people who’ve chosen to make a home there, and depending on how you approach the community, you may head home with ill feelings. This is never good. Thankfully for San Francisco, it’s citizens are friendly, welcoming, and fun to be around, and this is coming from someone who’s accustomed to Southern hospitality. Obviously I can’t speak for everyone in the city, but in general, these folks are class acts.

 

Good Eats in San Francisco: Boudin Bakery

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

Boudin Sourdough Bakery & Cafe

We’ve already raved about the amazingness that is House of Nanking in Chinatown, and frankly, Chinese food is amazing in general. BUT, for those who aren’t particularly fond fried rice and glazed meats, or if you prefer something a bit more gourmet, San Francisco has a treat for you as well: Boudin Bakery. It’s right along Fisherman’s Wharf, and the aroma seeping through the entrance literally attracts dozens of innocent, unsuspecting tourists throughout the day. From the time they open their doors, a set of friendly bakers start kneading dough behind a 30-foot observation window, all in the shape of turtles, alligators and bears (oh, my!).

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Sourdough Turtle (Almost Too Cute to Eat)

Better known by the locals as “Demonstration Bakery,” each baker is an artist, and they blend in with the other street performers along the embarcadero, popping out creations that transform into warm sourdough goodness. That, along with the smells of cinnamon, hazelnut and cocoa glazed spreads, is more than enough to lure you inside; once you’re in, you can’t help but appease your sweet tooth.

Cheesy Recipe Book

You might even pick up a few snacks and trinkets from the shop. All of the items are packaged so perfectly, begging to be bought and taken home to your kitchen. This particular recipe book is filled with grilled cheese sandwich ideas that will blow your mind, and they’re all simple and quick.

Medicino Mustard

Their kitchen has become famous around the city for the bread bowls, and the original version is pretty sizable - perfect for a voracious appetite. If you’re looking for smaller portions, try the Petit Bowl, complete with a side salad. It’s the perfect re-fueling lunch selection, and there are a variety of soups to choose from. It oozes from the bowl, begging to be feasted upon. If you like soup and sourdough, you’ll thoroughly enjoy every last bite of this masterpiece.

Avacado Chicken Tacos

In case you haven’t caught on, this place is especially for the bread-lovers of the world. Even their tacos start with a flat sourdough tortilla. Like everything else on the menu, the lettuce, cheese, avacado and chipotle sauce in the chicken tacos are fresh, crisp and delicious.

 

 

If you’re hungry for more info, check them out here. Just one peek at the menu will have you racing to their doorstep, which is at 160 Jefferson Street.

Bon appétit!

Transportation Station: Getting from Point A to B in San Francisco

Friday, August 31st, 2012

San Francisco is an intensely busy city. In case you didn’t know, it’s the second most densely populated city in the United States (New York City holds the top spot). That likely means there are more shops, restaurants, pedestrians, and vehicles per square mile than in your hometown. That also means it can be a tricky town to navigate. As a visitor, you may find yourself overwhelmed with all wonderful things to do. Don’t get defeated by the how-will-I-get-there woes. We’ve combined a handy little list of the best ways to reach your destination in San Francisco.

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For the Traditional Tourist: Taxi Cab

Classic Yellow Taxi

Yes, sometimes riding in a cab can be scarier than roaming a foreign street alone at midnight, and sometimes they’re smelly or dirty – or both, but every globetrotter should experience a filthy whiff of taxi goodness during their travels. If nothing else, you’ll probably leave with more confidence in your own driving skills. For the most part, they’re quick, they’re easy, and they’re everywhere in San Francisco. If you’re staying at a hotel in the city, there’s usually one or two perched outside, waiting for you to pop in and pay up. By the way, they’re not that expensive!

 

For the Convenient Commuter: Uber

Choose a Towncar or SUV

Uber is a nifty little mobile app that’s been around since January 2011. Founded in San Francisco, it has since expanded to various big cities around the nation, but the bay area is arguably still its most popular market. Here’s how it works:

Step 1: Download the iPhone or Android app, customize your settings & input your payment information

Step 2: Enable your phone’s GPS & allow Uber access it

Step 3: Set your pickup location & request your vehicle

Step 4: Wait for your ride to arrive & relish in the effortlessness

It’s a bit more costly than the taxi cab option, but it’s well worth the few extra dollars. Each vehicle is always clean and comfy, the drivers are friendly and safe, and gratuity is included with your mobile payment. No cash is needed.

 

For the Vintage Visitor: Streetcar

F Market Streetcar

If San Francisco is known for anything, it’s the steep hills. As the story goes, Andrew Smith Hallidie developed the idea of a cable-driven rail system after witnessing a few horses scramble and struggle up wet cobblestones. Eventually the horses tumbled backwards, and they were tragically dragged to their death. Modern-day streetcars are quick, efficient and reliable, and they run every 5 to 15 minutes until 12:30am. At only $2 per adult and 75¢ per youth or senior, it’s definitely an economical way to get to your destination while experiencing some of the city’s history, but be mindful. Like any public transit system, it can get extremely busy during the day; proceed with patience.

 

For the Wanderer: Walk

Lombard Street – Just Past the Crooked Block

Setting off by foot is a pleasant way to enjoy any city, especially when you have time to tread at your own leisure. So if you’re looking to really bond with San Francisco and all its goodness, lace up those sneakers and take it step by step – literally. Marvel at every monument, snap pictures of every spectacle, stroll past all the popular landmarks and absorb the changing cultures as you visit the different neighborhoods. All the main sightseeing attractions along Fisherman’s Wharf are well within walking distance of each other, and the surrounding neighborhoods aren’t too far either. You’re sure to be accompanied by crowds of like-minded drifters, so even if you’re traveling by yourself, you’ll never feel alone. Just remember, the hills are steep! Stay hydrated.

Disa and Lauren Take San Francisco – Part 2

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

No one escapes from Alcatraz… except for the notorious Lauren and Disa!

Welcome back, travel friends! Click Here for the awesome first half of our adventure – Disa and Lauren Take San Francisco – Part 1!

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Day 4 and 5 of Disa and I’s adventures in the misty City by the Bay included the epic Monterey & Carmel Tour by Bus from San Francisco on Thursday, then on Friday the Chinatown Walking Tour in San Francisco, then cruising to explore the infamous ex-federal prison of Alcatraz Island, then going on an enchanting San Francisco Dinner Dance Cruise around the beautiful bay at sunset. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the virtual tours.

Thursday:

  • The Chronicles of Monterey: The Sea Lion, the Sandwich, and the Nautical Globe. The Monterey & Carmel Tour by Bus from San Francisco is a fully narrated 11-hour tour that departs from and returns to San Francisco. This tour showcases California’s natural, rugged Central Coast. As we made our way south-bound from San Francisco, we passed by M5 Industries, which is the headquarters for Myth Busters, a science entertainment TV show on the Discovery Channel. The Fire Station is close by for a reason. ;)

Yours truly took every photo opportunity to capture the beauty of the scenery

  • As we continued our journey past Daly City, Half Moon Bay, Santa Cruz and beyond to the right of our luxury coach we could see the gorgeous rocky coastline with a few nice sand beaches and tide pools. Something interesting that we learned is that the reason Monterey has such a wealth of marine life is because of Monterey Canyon underwater, which descends over two miles – twice as deep as Arizona’s Grand Canyon – and is home to giant kelp forests and a myriad of sea creatures. I would love to go scuba diving there someday! We could also distantly see (and mainly hear) several sea lions off on the rocks further from the shore.

Just a taste of the seaside scenery on the journey to Monterey, California

  • When we reached the famous Cannery Row in Monterey, we were welcomed with vistas of scenic piers, tons of cool little shops, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and seaside restaurants. You might see sailboats in the marina or kayakers. After reading the sumptuous menu posted outside, we decided to dine for lunch at Louie Linguini’s. I was pretty super excited about this seafood pizza, and for good reason. Salmon, crab and shrimp! I’m a seafood hound. Disa ordered the Spinach Salad, Goat Cheese, & Bacon Sandwich. Absolutely delicious. I seriously wish I could eat there every day now! :D

Decisions, decisions… everything was delicious at Louie Linguini’s in Monterey!

The Fisherman’s Wharf of Monterey, and our fantastic view from Louie Linguini’s

  • After our seaside escapades in Monterey, we were on our way southbound again along the famous scenic 17-mile road. We traveled through Pebble Beach, learning about the highly exclusive and outrageously pricey golf courses on each resort, and enjoying the views of really, really ridiculously good looking houses and estates along the coastline. There is a great variety of architecture to see, and interesting stories you’ll hear aboard the tour. We also stopped to see this natural anomaly, the “Lone Cypress Tree” growing where it is said that no Cypress tree *should* ever grow. Another of the mysteries of the Universe…
  • Finally, we arrived at the beautiful seaside village of Carmel-by-the-Sea. Yes, they do prefer the whole city name said correctly, so get it right. The city is known for its amazing art galleries, bakeries and restaurants, and of course there are the miles and miles of white sand beaches. We enjoyed a leisurely stroll down Ocean Avenue to explore the fabulous shopping turf of the wealthy. It is here that you will find the first gallery of Thomas Kinkade, the Thomas Kinkade Gallery in the Garden. You pass by the cottage door, follow the stone walkway, and into a beautiful garden exhibit with a very fine collection of the world famous painter’s masterpieces. It reminded me of one of my favorite books, The Secret Garden.

Sound like a local by saying the city’s full name, Carmel-by-the-Sea!

Carmel-by-the-Sea is a dream come true for art, food, and beach enthusiasts

Re-energizing with caffeine in a scenic courtyard near Ocean Avenue

The Orignal Gallery of Thomas Kinkade, The Garden Gallery Cottage of Carmel

  • We concluded our adventures south of San Francisco driving back through Silicon Valley, but first stopped at the lovely, historic Mission San Carlos of Carmel. It is the second mission in upper California, and is still home to a Catholic parish. We arrived just before the church bells gonged the evening time.

Photo Op Stop at the historic Mission San Carlos of Carmel by the Sea

Friday:

  • We started the day off with a fascinating and very informative walking tour through Chinatown, on the Chinatown Walking Tour in San Francisco. Our tour guide, Linda, gave us an excellent historical, cultural, medicinal, and culinary overview of Chinatown. This tour is definitely another “must-do” in San Francisco! Chinatown is like a city within the city filled with mysterious sights, where an ancient culture from the other side of the world survives and flourishes with remarkable authenticity. I loved the pagoda-style architecture of the buildings and shops ranging from martial arts weapons displays to Hello Kitty merchandise. What a cool place to shop and explore!

Linda explained the rich history behind this mural and many buildings

Awesome martial arts weapons display at a shop in Chinatown

Chinese School passes on the language and cultural traditions of generations

  • Linda told us that a majority of the people in Chinatown today are actually Christians, but you will still find many Authentic Buddhist Temples. From the street, we wound our way up a narrow, steep staircase to a beautifully adorned temple. Inside we saw entire walls decorated with red ribbons with the names of deceased loved ones written in gold. For many residents, deceased loved ones may not have been buried nearby or inaccessible in the East, so a ribbon serves as a token of veneration. Chinese Ancestor Worship is the belief that deceased loved ones possess the ability to influence the fortune of the living. Gifts of oranges or flowers are customary, or simply time spent remembering and honoring those dearly departed. Tangerines and oranges sound like “luck” and “wealth” in Chinese, respectively. That is why you will see many oranges as gifts for good fortune.

Buddhist Temple adorned with lanterns, gold antiques, and incense urns

  • Inside the temple, we found dazzling altars adorned with red lanterns, priceless gold antiques, incense filled bronze urns, and more. I was even given the unique opportunity to be a test guinea pig for the traditional Chinese Fortune Sticks and the Chinese Yin-Yang. For the Chinese Fortune Stick (or Divination Sticks), I was handed a circular wooden container filled with many long, flat wooden sticks with a different Chinese symbol at the end of each. Linda asked me to think of any kind of life question that I wanted an answer for, and concentrate on it, then to tilt the container and shake it until only one fortune stick fell out. Sure enough, only one stick fell out. Linda looked up the meaning of the fortune stick and gave me a small slip of paper written entirely in Chinese, and told me I could have the note translated more in depth with a Chinese expert, but basically it meant that research is important to me. I can’t argue with that – I love me some science! Next, Linda handed me two pairs of wooden moon blocks (jiaobei) which she said symbolize the Chinese Yin-Yang. She said the objective is again to ask it a question (aloud or not), and then drop the blocks. You hold the pieces together, flat sides facing each other, and drop them to the ground. How the blocks fall determines the answer. If it lands with both flat or rounded sides facing up, the answer is no. If one side lands flat and the other rounded, the answer is yes. I asked “Will it rain today?” Yin-Yang: one side landed flat and the other rounded, so the answer was yes. It did not rain in San Francisco that day, but I also failed to specify *where* it would rain, so it definitely rained somewhere in the world!

I volunteered to test the Chinese Yin-Yang at the Buddhist Temple

Honoring ancestors is a special way of remembering deceased loved ones

  • Next stop: the Golden Gate Fortune Cookies Factory!! The sweet aroma of the freshly made fortune cookies is sure to lure you in whether you can read the Chinese store signs or not. Inside, you will find fortune cookies of all shapes and sizes, and watch as cookies are made right in front of you.
  • Linda gave us each delicious circular samples of the freshly-made fortune cookies. Yum! You can even order custom fortune cookie messages there at the factory. I wish I’d had time to return to order some fortune cookies with custom messages… with the lyrics to “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen, so I could pass them out to my friends, just to drive them crazy. *evil laugh* :D

Our next stop was at the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory with a free sample!

At Golden Gate Fortune Cookies you can even order custom fortune messages

  • We also stopped at Stockton Street Food Markets, where you will find an amazing variety of local and exotic foods. This is the place to be to buy the freshest and cheapest produce, meats, live seafood, and dried herbs.

Stockton Street Markets offer the freshest and most exotic foods in the Bay Area

  • After our journey through Chinatown, we walked to In-And-Out Burger at Fisherman’s Wharf for lunch, because it’s just so delicious. After another glorious round of double-double cheeseburgers, we proceeded to walk off the calories to Pier 33 for our second tour of the day, and the most famous sightseeing attraction of San Francisco — Alcatraz Island!!!

The Guard Tower looms ominously high over former prison grounds

Al Capone, George “Machine Gun” Kelley, and other famous inmates

  • Alcatraz was a federal penitentiary that operated from 1934 to 1963, riddled with mysteries and dark mystique. Once home to the likes of Al “Scarface” Capone, George “Machine Gun” Kelley, and Robert “The Birdman” Stroud, the Federal Bureau of Prisons used the facility as a maximum security prison. It housed prisoners too notorious or dangerous to be held elsewhere. Alcatraz was closed in 1963 due to its expense. The trip includes the ferry ride to the island and an amazing self-guided audio cell block tour, complete with actual interviews of former guards and inmates. Alcatraz is still known today as one of the world’s most legendary prisons.
  • Here’s a fun fact: Juan Manuel de Ayala was the first Spaniard to document Alcatraz Island in 1775. He also charted San Francisco Bay, and named the island “La Isla de los Alcatraces,” which translates to “The Island of the Pelicans.” You will still find Alcatraz covered with a countless number of seabirds, although the California Brown Pelican is not known to nest on the island today. Instead, you are likely to see hundreds of Western Gulls, and, if you are lucky, you may get a glimpse of pelagic cormorants, California gulls, pigeon guillemots, or black oystercatchers.

Alcatraz is a sanctuary for a variety of seabirds, most prominently Western Gulls

  • If you’re more of a nature lover than a mystery or history buff, walk along the Agave Trail. The trail begins near the ferryboat landing on the east side of Alcatraz Island and continues to the southern tip of the island. The Agave Trail passes through a protected bird sanctuary and features beautiful plants and flowers. This trail also offers fabulous views of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge.

This is how a typical cell would look upon a prisoner’s arrival to Alcatraz

I’ve been bad. On the plus side, now I can polish my Cell Block Tango.

  • Alcatraz was well known for having an excellent menu compared to other prisons. Warden James Johnston believed that good food in the cafeteria would help to quell dissension among the prisoners. So why was the Mess Hall regarded as the most dangerous place of Alcatraz? Imagine angry, hungry men with knives (even with steak knives, when the menu called for such) gathering together three times a day… A few food and fist fights broke out occasionally, but the armed guards on the outside catwalk rarely ever had to break the windows with their rifles, and never had to fire warning shots or release the tear gas canisters.
  • One bad-tempered incident occurred when Warden Johnston was attacked while standing routinely near the Mess Hall door and beaten up by inmate Burton “Whitey” Phillips. Phillips was later sent to the Treatment Unit in Cellblock D for the assault – a dark, barren cell of Solitary Confinement, also known as “The Hole.” He didn’t leave the Treatment Unit until years later when Warden Johnston retired.
Alcatraz Mess Hall Food Menu

The food quality at Alcatraz was regarded as the best in the prison system

The Mess Hall of Alcatraz was considered to be the most dangerous place.

  • I highly recommend reading the story of the Alcatraz Spaghetti Riot of 1950. Inmates had to find cunning, creative ways to communicate for an organized anarchy under the constant supervision of the prison guards. The inmates were rebelling because they were tired of bland spaghetti. Personally, I think the inmates may have been a bit spoiled. Red velvet cake on the menu?! Dang, prisoners ate great back then. Perhaps the riddles inspired by the hit mystery-thriller FOX TV show “ALCATRAZ” can shed light on the mystery… I would also recommend reading the story of the Battle of Alcatraz.

Guards’ recreational office near the Lighthouse of Alcatraz Island

The iconic Lighthouse of Alcatraz Island, now a museum that can be toured.

  • Disa and I escaped from the sinister clutches of Alcatraz in time to return to our secret hideout and freshen up for our charming sunset dinner cruise along the bay aboard the San Francisco Dinner Dance Cruise. We were so lucky that it was a clear night without the dense fog rolling in yet. Very pretty sunset. Cheers to an amazing week in San Francisco!
San Francisco Dinner Dance Cruise

Aboard the San Francisco Dinner Dance Cruise with dazzling sunset views

Lovely dinner cruise views of the Golden Gate Bridge and more around the Bay

Amazing views of Alcatraz Island and the ferry for the Night Tour

Beautiful sunset as we passed by Alcatraz Island on the Dinner Cruise

  • What you get on this amazing dinner cruise? A sightseeing yacht cruise (Fri. – Sat. is 3-hours, Sun. – Thurs. is 2.5-hours), a 4-course seated dinner, coffee and tea, live entertainment and dancing, scenic San Francisco Bay views, and available for purchase are soft drinks, wine, beer and cocktails from the full-service bar. Truly a magical evening out for any occasion along the scenic Bay as you watch the sun set, the stars come out, and the city lights of San Francisco glistening next to the water edge, all while enjoying an amazing 4-course dinner and dancing to live entertainment.

Our Appetizers were South American Scallop Ceviche with Fried Plantain Chips

2nd Course: Fontina, Leek & Carrot Tartlet with Champagne Shallot Vinaigrette

Disa ordered the Roasted Chipotle and Garlic Marinated Bone In Pork Chop

I ordered the Salmon Moqueca with Peppers, Red Coral Rice, & Black Beans

For desert, we had these super cute and delectable Blueberry Pies!

Marvelous views of the Golden Gate Bridge and a passing Sailboat out in the Bay

Another gorgeous view of the Golden Gate Bridge at sunset in the Bay

That concludes our overview of amazing adventures in The Taking of San Francisco with Disa & Lauren. We hope you’ve enjoyed reading and seeing some of our journey as much as we enjoyed being there. Stay tuned for more pictures and new videos as we continue to share our experiences throughout Reserve123′s social media networks. You’re going to love seeing even more of our trip photos and the video magic we captured on each tour!

Are you ready to plan your own adventures to the City by the Bay? We want to earn your business with the best customer service around. Book your tour tickets online and save or call us toll free for assistance with reservations at 800-410-8233 or at our local phone number which is 678-320-2200. Did you know that Reserve123 also offers a San Francisco Hotel Directory, Rental Car Services, and even Airline Tickets? Leave everything to your travel friends at Reserve123.com and we guarantee that just as Tony Bennett so smoothly serenaded, you’ll leave your heart in San Francisco. ;)

Disa and Lauren Take San Francisco – Part 1

Friday, August 17th, 2012

Lauren & Disa have escaped from Alcatraz and are wanted across San Francisco!

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It’s true. Lauren & Disa have taken over San Francisco. Be afraid! We are so excited to be here. As you know, Reserve123.com is headquartered in Atlanta where we both live. Reserve123 sells over 11,000 tours, attractions, and activities in over 550 destinations and 85 countries. Disa and I had the fortunate opportunity to visit beautiful San Francisco, one of our favorite city markets. We are visiting for a whole week and have taken several amazing tours so far! Our mission is to get as many pictures and videos as possible to share with our travel friends on all of our social media networks. Here are the chronicles of our adventures in the charming City By the Bay – Part 1!

Monday:

Wax Museum Recreation of the Triple Self Portrait by Norman Rockwell

  • After the Hop On Hop Off Tour, we took the exciting and informative San Francisco Bay Cruise. We boarded the ferry boat and set out toward the Golden Gate Bridge from Fisherman’s Wharf. Along the way we passed Fort Mason, the Marina District, St. Francis Yacht Club, and the Presidio. We enjoyed excellent views of the Golden Gate Bridge (as much as we could see through the fog rolling in) and cruised very close to the Marin Headlands and past Angel Island and around Alcatraz.

On board the San Francisco Bay Cruise with the narrative audio headsets

Great views cruising around Alcatraz Island on the Bay Cruise

  • After the Bay Cruise, we had dinner at House of Nanking. Very popular chinese restaurant. They can only seat about 25 people inside, and there was about a 30 minute wait outside (and it was cold outside by that point), but SO worth the wait!! This was the appetizer we ordered, the Sizzling Rice Soup with chicken. Fantastic! I think we liked that even more than our entrees. And I ordered a lemonade, and Disa ordered the “Hot Blossoming Flower Tea” – she said it was really good and mildly sweet like honey, and the flower bud actually started to bloomed in the tea for about 5 minutes! Pretty cool to see. By the way, we had this amazing view at night.

Charming night view of the city and Bay Bridge in San Francisco

Tuesday:

  • We were picked up for our Bus Tour of the Wine Country from San Francisco, and set off to explore California’s world-famous premium wine making region. On this excellent tour, you’ll not only get to taste the wines of Napa and Sonoma, but also get a taste of several different winery styles, from boutique to large-scale wineries. You’ll learn how wine is made and enjoy the lovely vistas of rolling hills dotted with vineyards. Which wineries you visit will vary, but we enjoyed visits to the Madonna Estate, Sutter Home, and the Sebastiani Vineyards & Winery. We also stopped at the beautiful Sonoma Square, where we had a delicious lunch at The Plaza Bistro and also enjoyed a variety of cheese samples and sumptuous gelato at The Cheese Factory!

On the Wine Country Tour in the vineyard of Madonna Estate in Napa

  • After the Wine Country Tour, we took a break to recharge our phones and camera batteries, then went to dinner at the famous In-N-Out Burger at Fisherman’s Wharf. So fantastic… God Bless America for our cheeseburgers in Paradise. Then we decided to go for a walk along Fisherman’s Wharf, and happened upon a great saxaphone player doing a street performance. Even though it was getting a little too cold for two Georgia Peaches, it was so serene getting to listen to him play with the sound of the waves in the bay nearby, amidst the night life bustle and neon lights.

Wednesday:

  • Redwood Rings from 909 A.D.

    We were picked up for our Muir Woods & Sausalito Tour by Bus from San Francisco, then after check-in we headed to the enchanting redwood forest. Muir Woods is located about 17 miles northwest of San Francisco, across the Golden Gate Bridge. Marvel at the tremendous size of the giant redwoods at John Muir Woods. The average age of the redwoods at Muir Woods is between 600 to 800 years, with the oldest being over 1,200 years old. On the Wine Country Tour the previous day, we learned that we can thank the cool fog throughout the San Francisco area and beyond for the perfect environment to create Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Redwoods. Muir Woods has a magical feel to it, and you could easily spend all day there exploring. It reminded me of Fern Gully, and I’m pretty sure that Smurfs might live there too… There is also a great rustic gift shop filled with all kinds of artisan crafted redwood carvings and unique souvenirs. Then we continued our journey on to drive through Sausalito, home to some of the country’s wealthiest citizens. Sausalito is located just north of the Golden Gate Bridge, on the south-eastern tip of Marin County. If you specifically request a stop in Sausalito, you may be dropped off there and can return to San Francisco by ferry (at your own expense). We then continued back across the Golden Gate Bridge with a nice stop for photo opportunities at The Marin Headlands, a hilly peninsula at the southernmost end of Marin County overlooking the famous bridge.

Enchanting redwoods and ferns abound at Muir Woods National Monument

Muir Woods is definitely a Must-Do for every visitor to California

  • After the Muir Woods & Sausalito Tour, we had lunch at the Boudin Bistro (an amazing sourdough bread bakery with a factory museum and excellent restaurant & bistro) then headed back to our abode again to recharge our phones and camera batteries, then took advantage of the second portion of our San Francisco 48 Hours Open Top Double Decker Hop-On & Hop-Off Bus Tour to explore more of the city, with special stops at the Golden Gate Bridge Visitor’s Center, Ghirardelli Square, and a mighty hike up the super-steep Russian Hill to Lombard Street – home of The Crookedest Street in the World! Amazing views and sightseeing. My favorite was Ghirardelli Square, getting to watch the world famous chocolate being made, seeing the many specialty shops, and tasting new chocolate samples! We got to taste their new Gourmet Milk Sea Salt Escape. Yum!

The famous Ghirardelli Square is filled with decadent treats in San Francisco

Enjoy watching as chocolate is made right in front of you at Ghirardelli Square

  • After the Hop On Hop Off Tour, we went to dinner with our new friends Kimberly and Tina, who manage operations for the Hop On Hop Off bus company, and we ate at a Mexican restaurant downtown called Tres. Great taqueria food – especially the fish tacos!

Disa striking a pose with a fantastic view of the Golden Gate Bridge

That concludes Part 1 of our adventures thus far in the Fog City. In the meantime, visit us at http://Reserve123.com/tours/city/san-francisco or at http://www.Alcatraz.us/ to plan your travels in San Francisco and beyond. Book your tour tickets online and save or call us toll free at 800-410-8233 for assistance with reservations. We also offer an excellent selection of hotels in our San Francisco Hotel Directory, featuring a fantastic selection of hotels, exceptionally low rates, and the convenience of being able to book your hotels and tours in one place.

Click Here for the amazing second half of our adventure – Disa and Lauren Take San Francisco – Part 2!

The California flag flies over beautiful Sonoma Square in the Wine Country

Explore the Secrets of Alcatraz Island

Monday, January 23rd, 2012
Do you dare to unlock the secrets of Alcatraz Island?

Discover the Secrets of Alcatraz — Watch the Show & Visit the Island!

ALCATRAZ ISLAND.

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The most notorious federal prison in US history. Today Alcatraz swarms with tourists – over one million per year – but for 30 years it was the most infamous prison in the country. It housed prisoners too notorious or dangerous to be held elsewhere. Its inhabitants included Al Capone, George “Machine Gun” Kelly, and Robert Franklin Stroud, the Birdman of Alcatraz. In 1933, the Federal Bureau of Prisons used the facility as a maximum security prison. It was closed in 1963 due to its expense. During the award-winning Alcatraz Cell House Audio Tour, history will come alive as you gain a deeper knowledge with actual interviews from former guards and inmates, and learn about “The Battle of ’46″, the Spaghetti Riot of 1950, solitary confinement accounts, and legendary escape attempts!

Dare to enter a Solitary Confinement cell?

Dare to enter a Solitary Confinement cell?

From executive producer J.J. Abrams (FRINGE, “Lost,” “Star Trek,” and the recent blockbuster “Super 8”) comes ALCATRAZ, a thrilling new series on FOX that follows a unique trio investigating the mystifying reappearance of 302 of Alcatraz’s most notorious prisoners and guards, 50 years after they vanished. The series stars Sam Neill, Sarah Jones and Jorge Garcia, and premiered on January 16, 2012 with a chilling 2-hour episode. The series now airs on Monday evenings at 9:00 PM ET starting tonight. For more info on the hit show, click here.

Become a detective of the mysteries for yourself, studying the clues, hearing the interviews, and roaming the chilling cell blocks that many have claimed to be haunted. See where the club lounge and bowling alley were located for entertaining the guards, not too far from the Firing Range. Hear the tales of Saturday night card parties the guards would host, inviting women over to the island to visit. Unravel the clues of prisoners who attempted escape, who were never seen again. Unlock the secrets of an island shrouded in mysteries, rumors, madness, and legends. Do you dare to explore ALCATRAZ?

Alcatraz Island in San Francisco - the infamous and notorious former federal prison

Alcatraz Island in San Francisco – the notorious former federal prison

The brave may continue on to to secure cruise tickets at www.Alcatraz.us and visit the mysterious island prison on self-guided tours. Advance reservations are required, as tours will sell out days and even weeks in advance. While in San Francisco, I highly recommend taking advantage of a sightseeing tour of the beautiful City By the Bay. Our Hop-On, Hop-Off Bus Tour is a very popular favorite. This bus tour is very flexible and lasts for two full days for visiting exciting attractions, museums, shopping and dining facilities. Create your own adventure by choosing your stops! Enjoy the luxury and comfort of these new buses with the added benefit of a two-day unlimited use ticket. Buy your Alcatraz Tour & San Francisco Open Top Double Decker Hop-On & Hop-Off Bus Tour tickets now!

Sacki in San Francisco

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

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I came back to work on Monday ready to say my ritualistic and sometimes robotic “Good Morning” to Sacki, but to my surprise, there was no one behind the desk. The next morning, again, there’s no one typing away with a faint glare of a computer screen glow on his glasses. I thought, “Oh God, the zombies got to him!”

Thankfully, he came back mid-week, which was a good thing because I was one day from calling the police. Sacki was in San Francisco, so I took the opportunity to interrogate interview Sacki’s whereabouts over his long weekend.

His first trip to the West Coast, Sacki decided to visit the lovely city of San Francisco. His first impression of the city was that it was so diverse. Atlanta, although a big city, is usually not thought of as a touristy area, so to Sacki’s surprise, he stumbled upon a number of San-Fran visitors, like himself, who were ready and equipped with a camera and mapin hand.

The mega Chinatown. Sack said he's never seen a Chinatown this massive; it was like a little city in a city.

The mega Chinatown! Sack said he’s never seen a Chinatown this massive; it was like a city within a city. 

He saw all of the typical must-see sights like Fisherman’s Wharf, the Painted Ladies (we all know that Mary Kate was the better Michelle Tanner), and Lombard Street (the crookedest street in the world) just to name a few.He loved the different neighborhoods and different sights, but to really experience a new city is a different task on its own. To do that, Sacki had one answer…

“Of any trip, my favorite part is eating!” said Sacki, and he loves looking for those hole-in-the-wall restaurants for a real taste of the city and its culture. Food is different everywhere you go, even the slight differences around the U.S., like from Southern fried chicken to New York pizza, makes it worth driving all over the country finding your new favorite dishes. With all of the great restaurants around the city, he was afraid he wouldn’t be able to find some good eats at a very good price, but just around the corner of his hotel, he found a Chinese restaurant that served excellent chow fun noodles. Unfortunately, he can’t remember the name of the restaurant, but if you find a Chinese restaurant that serves FABULOUS chow fun noodles with enormous shrimp, you know Sacki’s been there.

Not the biggest baseball fan, but Sacki knew he couldn't miss AT&T Park. Something about Barry bonds and most something...

Not the biggest baseball fan, but Sacki knew he couldn’t miss AT&T Park. He took a fantastic tour here as well.

“What people don’t tell you is that San Francisco is very cold,” said Sacki. Although he thought the city was absolutely beautiful, he wasn’t prepared for the chilly weather and actually got a cold at the Golden Gate Bridge! Remember, we’re from the Southeast and the coolest it gets around September/October is 65 (and that’s if you’re up before the sun). We like to enjoy our 70 degree weather well into the beginning of November.

Although Sacki got a little sick from his visit to the Golden Gate, it was his favorite destination in the whole trip. The iconic view of bridge was different for him because of the cooler weather. Fog and mist gathered around the bridge but that didn’t stop Sacki from enjoying the spectacular view.

“I spent half my afternoon walking back and forth,” said Sacki. Maybe it was the mist, maybe it was the weather, but Sacki found the bridge to be a very calm and cool place to hang out. Amidst the many different district, sightseeing tours, and restaurants, Sacki found himself a little peace in the city…and a cold.

He snapped this picture of the Golden Gate Bridge while he was at the bus stop. 

He will definitely be going back to San Francisco probably with a heavier coat and a little more experience around the Golden Gate City. One thing he will not forget to do is to try one of the clam chowder stands at the Fisherman’s Wharf.Sacki was surprised that there were so many scattered around the area, but he didn’t get the chance to grab a bowl. He said that they were only $5 a bread bowl… a BREAD BOWL, people, so I will surely be right behind him in line for a bowl.

“I like trying different things and different foods,” said Sacki. I confessed to him that new restaurants scare me because I never know what to do, but he says that those experiences is part of life and it’s always becomes a memorable experience and a great story.

“That’s part of traveling – just living. You’ll have your good ones and bad ones, said Sacki, “the bad ones you’ll live to tell about it later and laugh about it later… but this trip was certainly one of the good ones. :)

If you’re heading to the city, check out our San Francisco tours. (Tweet at me and I’ll tell you my favorites!)

One thing that Sacki recommends are those awesome hop on and hop off buses. He said San Francisco is a walking city, but the popular venues are spaced apart, so it would be helpful to use those buses to get to all of your destinations fast and cheap!

San Fran is also Ryan’s stomping ground, so if you live in the city or if you are visiting soon, check out our Foursquare. There’s a ton of tips for this city and cities all over the U.S.

- Kris
http://reserve123.com

(All photos taken by Sacki)


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