Thursday, December 31, 2009

Union Street

December 31, 2009
Happy New Year! Teddy and Nibs are ending the year right by taking a nice brisk morning walk around Union Street in San Francisco.

The West End of Union Street is sprinkled with delightful antique shops and cafes...

...and on the very West End are some gorgeous Victorian houses.

Nibs likes this brick building just North of Union Street.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Little China in San Fran

December 30, 2009
Not only does San Francisco have a vibrant Little Italy, it also has an impressive Chinatown. The main shopping area is on Grant Street and what a sight it is!

The street is decorated with red lanterns and lined with Dim Sum havens and tchotchke shops.

Nibs popped into one of the shops looking for a jade necklace for Teddy but he mostly saw Chinese statues and ornaments.

One thing that's totally incredible about Chinatown is the food. The service is abrupt but the food is authentic and there's never a wait. Nibs is already looking forward to his lunch. Hello spring rolls!


December 30, 2009
It was too rainy to actually take a boat to Alcatraz, so Teddy and Nibs just gazed at it from afar.

It sure looked spooky and scary, even though it hasn't been a working prison since 1963. Al Capone and George "Machine Gun" Kelly were it's most famous jailbirds.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

North Beach

December 29, 2009
While Teddy recovered at the hotel from her Sweet Dish sugar overload, Nibs went for a walk through North Beach. Nibs wondered why San Francisco's "Little Italy" was named North Beach when there is clearly no beach around. A local told him that 200 years ago there indeed was a beach in this area, but when settlers arrived they filled it in. Interesting!

Nibs' first stop was at Savoy Tivoli on Grant Street, a coffee house where Nibs used to hang out with his bear friends when he was just a wee little cub. We're talking pre-Teddy days.

Next Nibs checked out Caffe Trieste, where beatnik writer Jack Kerouac would read poetry. Jack wasn't the only famous person who lived in North Beach. So did baseball great Joe Dimaggio who was married to Marilyn Monroe for a while.

Lastly, Nibs stopped into a cigar shop. Nibs just loves North Beach. It's all about coffee, books, cigars, bohemian conversations and strolling. It was really a Nibs kind of day.

Sweets, Sweets, Sweets!

December 29, 2009
A trip to San Francisco would be incomplete without stopping at Sweet Dish on Chestnut Street.

They offer every type of candy you can imagine. From chocolate-covered gummy bears (a favorite of Teddy's) to licorice wheels, they have it all.

Ice cream is for sale too, though they have only a few flavors. But then again they have all the right flavors.

Nibs waited outside as Teddy stocked up on her candy supply. That Teddy!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Chestnut Street

December 28, 2009
Is there any better name for a street than Chestnut? Teddy thinks it's just fabulous. Even more fabulous is how great Chestnut Street actually is. They have all of Teddy's favorite shops on it...

...Cafe Rulli serves the best Italian coffee in America...

...and Lucca Delicatessen makes yummy salami sandwiches.

Best of all, Chestnut Street is about three blocks from the Marina Green, home of 200 seagulls and the harbor where Humphrey Bogart used to dock his yacht.

Shirley Temple at St. Francis

December 28, 2009
After a long morning of doing nothing, Teddy sauntered into the Hotel St. Francis in Union Square.

There were interesting decorations everywhere like this illuminated castle.

The hotel has three wonderful bars. Teddy took refuge in the hotel lobby bar where she perked up after a Shirley Temple. Two cherries please!

Random fact: The Hotel St. Francis was built in 1904 and in the 20s attracted such Hollywood favorites as Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and Charlie Chaplin.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

For All Those Vertigo Fans...

December 26, 2009
Even though Teddy had a Christmas hangover this morning (too many sweets!) she still headed out on an adventure in San Francisco. Teddy has always wanted to check out the place where Madeline, the striking, mysterious blonde from Vertigo, lived in that Alfred Hitchcock masterpiece.

This court-yarded building on 1000 Mason Street is a landmark. It's still an apartment building and the rent is crazy expensive, as you can imagine.

Kim Novak played Madeline very well. In one scene she walks out of this building trance-like and gets into her green sedan to roam the city like a ghost from another era. James Stewart follows her.

The building is a block away from Teddy's hotel, The Mark Hopkins, and has a great view of the bay. On this foggy day Teddy could even see Angel Island in Marin County.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

December 25, 2009
It's finally Christmas, can you believe it? The bears spent Christmas day at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco where they feasted from day to night...

The Fairmont is on Nob Hill next to The Mark Hopkins Hotel and is where Audrey Hepburn used to stay when she came to town for visits.

The hotel is also where that short-lived soap opera-ish 80s TV show "Hotel" was filmed. Well, at least the exteriors were shot at The Fairmont. Most of the show was filmed on a set in Los Angeles.

The decorations were over-the-top which Teddy loved. Nothing says Christmas like lots of sparkle!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Last Minute Shopping!

December 24, 2009
There is always some last-minute shopping to do. Teddy visited Macy's in Union Square which had decorations all over the place.

Teddy kept trying to find something for Nibs, but everywhere she looked she found presents for herself!

Perfume and makeup, so much fun. How is a bear to decide?

Only eight more hours of shopping left. Eeek!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Union Square

December 23, 2009
Union Square in San Francisco is one of the poshest shopping meccas in America. In the center is a fabulous park complete with an ice skating rink and a tall Christmas tree. Festive!

Saks Fifth Avenue has been there for decades... has Neiman Marcus...

...and Macy's. Teddy remembers when there was an I. Magnin there as well, which was one of the most sophisticated department stores she ever set paw inside.

Union Square is also known for their outdoor flower stands. One of them was even featured in Teddy's favorite movie Vertigo.

By the way, San Francisco's Union Square is five hundred times better than New York City's Union Square.

Puttin' on the Ritz!

December 23, 2009
This morning Teddy and Nibs enjoyed breakfast at San Francisco's Ritz-Carlton, one of the few five-star hotels still around.

Teddy loved the decor, like this China cabinet...

...Nibs was tired from all his travels (it takes a lot out of a bear) so he jumped on the couch while Teddy looked around. Can you see Nibs? He's there somewhere!

The paintings were dreamy, thought Teddy.

If Teddy had it her way she would live inside a Ritz!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Grace Cathedral

December 22, 2009
A block away from The Mark Hopkins Hotel sits Grace Cathedral.

The French Gothic architecture wowed Nibs. First built in 1849 during California's Gold Rush, the structure wasn't completed till 1964.

There are many places to contemplate at this Episcopal cathedral, like by this lovely fountain.

Teddy snuck inside for a quick looky-loo. No service at the time. Just a lot of quiet. And tons of gorgeous stained glass to look at.

Grace Cathedral has some links to Hollywood: this is where part of Alfred Hitchcock's Family Plot was filmed in 1975 and is also where Courteney Cox married David Arquette in 1999.

The Mark Hopkins

December 22, 2009
Teddy and Nibs are staying at the Mark Hopkins Hotel on Nob Hill in San Francisco. Only the best for Teddy!

Nibs loves the place too because they have a swanky piano bar on the top floor called "Top of the Mark." The 360 degree views are breathtaking!

This corner of Nob Hill is rich in history. In this spot used to stand a decadent mansion, which was built in 1878 by Mark Hopkins, one of the founders of the Central Pacific Railroad. The mansion burned down during the fires that ripped through San Francisco after the massive 1906 earthquake. The area was cleared and in 1926 The Mark Hopkins Hotel was built.

Ghirardelli Square

December 22, 2009
First stop in San Francisco? A chocolate shop, of course. Teddy took a cable car to Ghirardelli Square.

There are two sweet shops in Ghirardelli Square.

Teddy picked up a few Peppermint Bark bars for Nibs and a dozen milk chocolate bars for herself. Tee hee.

FYI, every time you walk into a Ghirardelli shop they give you a free chocolate sample!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Can You Guess Where Teddy and Nibs Landed?

December 21, 2009
That's right...

Nibs took Teddy to San Francisco! Teddy was shocked. This is where Teddy lived when she was a wee little cub. Lots of memories for Teddy. She's thrilled. Follow Teddy and Nibs as they journey through the city by the bay...

A Surprise Trip!

December 21, 2009
This morning Nibs surprised Teddy by saying, "Pack your bags. We're going on a trip!" So soon before Christmas? What could Nibs have up his sleeve? They headed to Virgin America at the Los Angeles Airport.

Teddy was excited for her mysterious journey.

Even bears need to buckle up!

Stay tuned for an adventure...