So much is wrong and unwelcoming about Fisherman's Wharf -- shabby looking cookie-cutter shops full of disposable crap, nothing restaurants serving food in styles no one who lives here thinks of eating anymore -- and yet everything west of Hyde Street gets most everything right.
Hyde Street Pier and its exhibition of ships is a nautical play land. The beach at The Aquatic Park is my second favorite in the city and certainly the most accessible. It's never overcrowded. Tourists seem to stop at the cable car turnaround and go no further west than the confines of Ghiradelli Square. The Maritime Museum's restoration is finally complete so that the 1930's graphic & surreal sea forms of Sargent "Claude" Johnson vibrate alongside the shimmering mosaic work of Hilaire Hiler. The public deck offers not only stunning bay views but two sculptures by Benny Bufano enliven and anchor it as a bonafide art destination. The encircling breakwater & pier need maintaining. Perhaps the America's Cup in 2013 can attend to that as they refurbish the waterfront.
Admiral quarters overlook this cove from the western bluff of Fort Mason. Seals stare back at me with glistening ebony eyes, dark pools forecasting the weather. Cormorants dive again. Swimmers pace themselves in laps before emerging invigorated & reborn.
To pass through the Golden Gate and come upon this idyll is a sight worthy of any pilgrim's port; a siren call to abandon ship and stay forever.