Photos: How I Spent My Summer Vacation, 2011 Edition

My summer vacation took me to three states in the course of one whirlwind week in August.

First stop was San Francisco, a city I visited for the first time last summer and am now quite taken with. In one long day of walking, I managed to go from The Mission…

To The Castro…

…all the way to the top of Twin Peaks!

Anyone who’s been to Twin Peaks will tell you that walking all the way up would be difficult at best, foolish at worst. Oh, well. Once I’d realized what I’d gotten myself into, I was way too far up the hill to turn back.

After making it back down, I did the sensible thing and took a bus ride to my next stops, the Presidio with its breathtaking views of the Golden Gate Bridge…

 …and the nearby Palace of Fine Arts, a breathtaking remnant of the  1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition:

The other major sightseeing day in the Bay Area was spent at Muir Woods, home of majestic redwood trees and refuge of renegade chimpanzees in the recent Rise of the Planet of the Apes movie:

I found it difficult to effectively communicate the scale of these trees in pictures, but hopefully the combination of these two gives you a sense of both their height and width:

Note the sweaters. The locals were complaining of the chilly weather, but I welcomed the break from the brutal humidity and heat of the New York summer!

After San Francisco, we hopped over to Golden, CO, home of my sister, my brother-in-law, and my too-cute-for-words 20 month old niece. Here she is with her mom and uncle in the Denver Botanic Garden:

The Gardens were also home to huge lily pads, which probably could have supported a small child’s weight.

Note: we did not get the chance to put this theory to test.

Of course, no visit to Golden is complete without a trip to Red Rocks, the aptly named concert venue and park. I’ve been several times, but this is the first time I was able to use an iPhone HDR app to try to capture the intense range of colors in this view:

 The last stop on the trip was a gathering of college friends by a lake in Northern Connecticut, Don’t let this tranquil scene fool you; for us, this lake is mostly associated with white-knuckle, high-speed motorboat tubing action.

OK, fine. Also barbecues, charades, and reading of magazines and novels in the sun.

All told, it was a great summer vacation. I saw the sights, visited with friends and family, played in the water, and most importantly, just relaxed. It’s all in the past now, but fortunately, Memorial Day 2012 is only nine short months away.