Lee's graduation year Kate is our oldest niece. She turned 12 on February 13. On February 17 we flew her into San Jose for her first ever solo flight and visit to the Bay Area. We figured 12 is the perfect age for a weekend away from home. She is young enough to still think we're cool but old enough to be very self sufficient and appreciate the weekend. We figured right and had a fantastic time with Kate!
Kate flew in on a VERY rainy Friday. I had a half day from work so I picked her up and then we made our way to Palo Alto. We went out to lunch, stopped by my office and then killed time at the Stanford Shopping Mall while we waited for Lee to get off work. We visited nearly every venue that offered chocolate samples. From there we went to Stanford Campus. Lee finally was of work and he gave Kate a tour of the oval, the quad, we made it inside Memorial Church just before it closed and they stood on "Lee's" time capsule. We were soaked to the skin by the time we made it back to the car. Knowing Saturday was going to be a very busy day, we opted for a relaxing night at home. Lee then smoked us in a game of National Park Monopoly.
Views of Golden Gate Luck was on our side the next day and even though we left home at 7:30 am in a drizzle, the clouds cleared as we drove north. By the time we reached San Francisco we were under a primarily blue sky and had an absolutely beautiful and rain free day! It was everything we had hoped for but hadn't really expected. Our first stop that morning was Pier 39 to admire the seals and then we wandered to Pier 33 where we caught the ferry to Alcatraz. Main street Alcatraz ended up being the highlight of Kate's weekend. Everything about that tour is cool and to top it off, a former prisoner was there signing copies of the book he had written. When we returned to shore, we walked Fisherman's Wharf and ended at Ghiradelli Square for "Treasure Island" sundaes. We then hoofed it back to the car and headed over to the Vista Point on the Marin side of the Golden Gate Bridge. It was a little too windy for Kate so we didn't stop to admire the views, but we did walk out to the first tower. Golden Gate Bridge Kate was amazed by some of the facts Lee provided about the bridge. Our final stop for the day was returning back to Fisherman's Wharf where we rode the cable car down to Union Square. By then it was dark, even colder and time for dinner. We offered Kate several dining options that night but her Idaho palette won out and we met Joy, Collin and Mila at Lemonade. Saturday was one full day. We all crashed as soon as we got home.
Sunday was another very wet day. We thought it would put a kink in our plans, but Kate wasn't to be deterred! After church we came home, changed, packed a lunch and headed up to the Oakland Temple. We spent time in the Visitor Center and walking the grounds. MuirWoods As it started to rain more heavily, we were faced with two options: 1) return home and have a dry afternoon napping and playing games or 2) drive up to Muir Woods for a hike in the rain. Kate opted for #2 and off we went! We thought that the rain would limit the number of visitors at Muir Woods but that was not the case. It was as busy that afternoon as it was in July with the Leonards. We did the full two-mile loop and loved it. The mist and the rain provided a very different and beautiful experience. We think Kate loved it too. We returned home for dinner and more games and a good night's sleep. And mid-day on Monday Kate returned home.
We really enjoyed having 1:1 time with Kate and having her in our home. We hope she returns for another visit at some point down the road. Pictures of her weekend with us are here.