SF Victoriana v.2

Local friends and family know I like taking cross-town walks, so a planned lunch downtown was another excuse to make a quick 5 mile, zero-carbon footprint (except on my soles) hoof from home to table. My usual 100-minute exercise was interrupted by several scenes along the way, extending the time another 30 minutes!

My first distraction was a tiny, delicious little custom sewing shop. Laden with love and care, this local shop presented itself with a cute storefront and encourages you to peek inside. The treasure trove of lovely ingredients sparks the imagination and reminds you to think about art and what you wear.

Further along McAllister Street, between Masonic Avenue and the Civic Center, are a potpourri of beautiful Victorian homes. These are well known in San Francisco as “Painted Ladies”. They continue to mature into beautiful streetscapes that can only be fully appreciated by foot.

The heavy timber buildings were built at the turn of the century, when San Francisco was flush with wealth from the “Rush” of the Gold Rush. Local craftsmen, who must have been trained as carpenters in Europe, and artisans detailed and built custom one-of a kind residences for the nouveau riche. The gentle weather in the Bay Area allows these incredible structures to survive beyond a natural lifespan, along with the healthy, inherently bug-resistent redwood bones.

The beautiful entryways, frontages and detailing are definitely “look at me” attractions. I have driven along this route many times, but have only just come to notice and appreciate these buildings recently by walking through the neighborhood.

If you remember from last month’s February posting, I showed pictures of a house with a giant Valentine dangling outside (shown to the left below). Intrigued with the artwork at the time, I didn’t make a mental note of where it was. This time, as I walked on the same street and the block before the house, I wondered where the Valentine house had been located. No sooner had I pondered this question, when it appeared!  A new outdoor greeting for Easter was proudly displayed.

The re-discovery of the hanging artwork brought a sheer feeling of glee to me. In addition, a tiny toy mailbox was perched on the garden wall just outside the house. There were colorful sheaves of paper hanging next to it, with a dog-chewed pencil attached. A sign invited comments to the artwork! I was so inspired and delighted by this opportunity. I showered the artist with kudos for caring and sharing and stuffed my note into the pumpkin-colored mailbox.

I was late to lunch, but  glowed all day.

PS. Plans for this summer’s travels are being finalized, so stay tuned!

8 thoughts on “SF Victoriana v.2”

  1. Halo Victoria, ich liebe deine Geschichte und Bilder. Nachste Monate fahre ich nach Frankfurt und die Goethe Institute. Gute wandern. Wayne


  2. Hi Vickie,
    I especially liked this last posting about your walk through S.F. and the painted ladies. Here in Mollens, spring has finally arrived, so the last two days we have also been walking a lot, but mostly through the hills and vineyards.


    1. I’ve been thinking about my visit to Switzerland and our excursion to Gstaad to see Cecilia Bartoli. Travel in your country is certainly a challenge, but that doesn’t stop Switzerland from being the 2nd happiest country on earth (after Denmark)! The US comes in at a sorry 13th, so we have a long way to go on the happiness index. We share the same love and curiosity for what’s around the corner, so I look forward to our reunion. Bis Mai!!


      1. Hello Vickie: actually McAllister St. it’s just one block from the Alamo Square Park and 1269 McAllister it’s around the corner from Steiner St. The house it’s part of the Alamo Square Historical District.
        I want to thank you for your lovely notes and writings about my mobiles.
        I pretty much would like to meet you and invite you for a cup of tea at my house and talk about your fascinating travels around the world.
        You can contact me @ 415-921-4256 or miggysfo@gmail.com


      2. Hi Miguel-e
        Wow!! I never expected to hear from you. Thanks for clarifying the Alamo Square question. I’ve always skirted around the hill so didn’t know it was so close!! I’ll give you a call and would love to find out more about how you do the priceless mobiles.
        From an Appreciative fan–VV.


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