Presidio StayCay

Last month we had a brief holiday staying a few days in The Presidio. We’d initially looked forward to a trip to Hawaii in September, but for various reasons postponed that holiday.. so the StayCay was by way of a consolation prize. Apart from some dowdy weather, we had a lovely time, sketching and noshing on fine chow.

Palace of Fine Arts

For Julia’s birthday a few years ago, we stayed at a posh inn converted from what used to be the unmarried officers quarters, back when The Presidio was still a functioning military base. These days it is The Inn At The Presidio, where each room is a suite, converted from what used to be an officer’s tiny apartment. We much enjoyed that stay, and learned that there is another similar inn nearby, run by the same people – The Lodge At The Presidio – which is where we stayed this time. This sister inn occupies what used to be enlisted mens’ barracks, so the accommodations are smaller but the views from the rooms are utterly spectacular.

View from room

Both hotels offer a complimentary breakfast and an evening wine & cheese plate. Due to covid physical-distancing & occupancy guidelines, they now deliver each of these meals which was actually nicer than before. We enjoyed breakfast in our room each day, but had the evening wine & cheese platter either outside by the firepit, or out on the front verandah. We also enjoyed eating lunches at a few restaurants in and around The Presidio, though sadly, a few pre-covid faves are no longer in business, and the ones that still operate do so with reduced hours.

View of Palace of Fine Arts

September in San Francisco is typically an ‘Indian summer‘, but unfortunately the weather was one aspect of our stay that did not go as planned. The weeks both before & after were warm and sunny, but the days of our staycay were overcast, blustery and even COLD. We’ve had a lot of bad luck with our vacations over the past few years – trips where one (or both) of us got sick, etc – so I count ourselves lucky that the worst thing that happened this time was some grey weather.

Philo T Farnsworth

One of the main goals of this holiday was for both Julia & I to do some sketching, having lately realized that we had not done much location sketching since the start of the pandemic.The Presidio is one of our favourite areas to sketch in San Francisco, and the fact that we could stay right there in a sketching hotspot was part of the appeal of this staycay. We spent a few days sketching the Palace Of Fine Arts from various vantage points, both from within The Presidio and closer to the building itself. Breaking for lunch (and a cocktail!) and then drawing some of the other fun things in the area – assorted statues (Yoda, Eadweard Muybridge, Philo T. Farnsworth etc) and military hardware, (cannons etc) and various buildings. Julia did some of her trademark lovely studies (on some new watercolor panels) and I’m happy to say that after much trepidation, I finally opened a beautiful watercolor sketchbook that Julia gave me many years ago and used it on this staycay. For Christmas 2012, Julia gave me TWO beautifully leather-bound & monogrammed handmade watercolour sketchbooks, and I was eager to use them, but had a STROKE the very next day, permanently losing the use of my drawing arm.

2013 was all about learning to talk, walk, and draw again (with my LEFT hand). My crude leftt-handed scrawls were finally good enough to justify using the first of these lovely sketchbooks in 2014, and I got about a third the way through it, when the shoulder bag I carried it in was stolen later that year. I had been so surrounded by people who loved and cared for me during my recovery that I forgot the perils of the real world – bag-snatchers, etc – until that 2014 wake up call.

Field Gun

I’ve used many other sketchbooks in the years since, but was afraid of losing this one because it is so dear to me. Thus it has been kept safely in a drawer till now. However, my street-smarts are now (hopefully) back at 100%, and I feel ready to use the 2nd LOVE-bought sketchbook, and finally used it during this mini staycation in The Presidio. I hope I won’t lose THIS one TOO. 

Wish me luck!

6 thoughts on “Presidio StayCay”

  1. We did a similar staycation at Cavallo Point a few months ago! It was beautiful as well, with similar views from the other side of the bridge. Our only complaint was that even though restaurants, gym, bar, etc. were closed, they still charged us a “Resort Fee.” Also something like 45 bucks for parking! Guess they have to stay in business.

    • Yes! I noticed a similar fee in our bill (I think it was called a ‘park fee’ in our case). Thanks for the tip about CAVALLO POINT. We’ll have to give that a try!

  2. I seem to remember another sketchbook going into that place where dry cleaning receipts and house keys live. Was it the one you did in Japan? I have my sights set on Uluru when we get to fly again.

    • You might be thinking of a bag I had stolen in Peru, full of a bunch of travel sketchbooks, containing travel sketches from all over the place..

      I’ve never been to Uluru, but would love to see it one day.

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