California Day 7: Alcatraz and Ice Cream


We had a lot of ground to cover today—Monterey to San Francisco. We had to get to SF by a certain time to catch a boat…a boat to Alcatraz.

First, though, we stopped at Pigeon Point Lighthouse. Growing up on the East Coast, I’ve seen my share of lighthouses, but West Coast lighthouses are a bit different. Situated on a cliff, rather than sand, they stand so proud.


Originally called, Whale Point, it was renamed Pigeon Point when the Carrier Pigeon wrecked in 1853. You can see part of the wreck in the photo below. There were no pigeons in sight. The lighthouse is still in operation today, but has been automated by 1970.


The lighthouse is currently under renovations, so you can’t go inside, but there are stairs that go down to the beach below. It was gorgeous down there. We had to run several times to avoid the waves and surf getting us.

Garrett running before a wave gets him!

Garrett running before a wave gets him!


Another cool aspect for us about Pigeon Point was that the glass in the old lighthouse came from Cape Hatteras in NC!!! It was a little piece of home right there in California!


This was so worth the stop, in my opinion. It wasn’t long, but so beautiful! Our next stop was Alcatraz! I had been to Alcatraz exactly 10 years ago, but Garrett had never even been to California. We originally planned on going to Alcatraz the next day, but the tickets for it were sold out (buy ahead of time, guys!). It ended up being a good thing though. The next day, it rained all day. Parking in California is insane. One parking lot was $40 an hour!! We found parking farther away for $20.

Alcatraz is so great! I especially love the human interest stories behind it all. I ended up buying two books at the bookstore! I’m also amazed at how much the buildings have eroded just because of the harsh conditions in a short amount of time. The first picture really encompasses this. The eroded building, seagulls nesting, and the National Park Ranger looking into the distance. Here are some more of my favorite photos from The Rock.


The boat ride back to the mainland was beautiful at sunset too.

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Once back on the mainland, we went exploring Pier 39. We saw loads of grumpy, noisy sea lions.


We also ate on the pier for dinner. The entire trip, Garrett had wanted to eat at a sushi restaurant. The problem was I’m a sushi wuss. I only like the fried kind…not the legit sushi. However, we finally found a restaurant (with great views too) that had both sushi and other menu items. Garrett got sushi, while I ordered lava rock pork. The waiter warned me that this was a raw piece of pork that I had to cook on a 500 degree lava rock. I was intrigued. It was very yummy, but quite the experience. I think my face said it all.

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We ended the night with ice cream at Salt and Straw. If you ever have the chance to visit a Salt and Straw, do it. Their flavors are unique and amazing! I got a scoop of lavender, and a scoop of salted chocolate. G got a scoop of berry pie flavor. Some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had! Day 7 was in the books. Only one more day on the West Coast!

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