It's that time again, friends. Loyal readers will know that I am a volunteer walking tour guide through City Guides, and that May and October are months wherein we lead special tours, such as new tour debuts, or just less frequent tours that benefit from the better weather.
This year we are doing something very special indeed. Saturday, May 5, we will be walking six tours from the newly republished book Stairway Walks in San Francisco by Adah Bakalinsky. I will be leading the Eureka Valley walk, which really encompasses both Noe and Eureka Valleys. My tour starts at 2 pm at the corner of Elizabeth and Douglass, and will involve a strenuous hike over hill and dale to some remarkable hidden corners of the city. We're talking lots of stairways, so bring good knees. If you're especially hardy or masochistic, you could theoretically catch one of the 11 am tours and still make it to my neck of the woods for another Bataan death march. But hey, that's up to you. And if you cannot make any of the tours because, say, you're too busy getting drunk on margaritas for Cinco de Mayo, then I command you to buy the book, simply because it is a wonderful way to experience our fair city.
A few other highlights from the schedule of May tours:
Fairmount Hill, May 6, 10 am:
Tour cottage-dotted streets and see impressive views, a modern architectural showcase, and the Poole-Bell Mansion. Also hear the story of the Bells and Mary Ellen Pleasant.
Vistiacion Valley, parts I & II, May 19, 10 am & 2 pm respectively:
Explore little-known Visitacion Valley, named by 18th-century Spaniards lost in the fog and part of the only local land grant deeded to an Anglo. Part I: This tour's focus is on the valley's commerce and transportation--past, present, and future--with a foray into the Spanish-style Little Hollywood enclave west of Bayshore and a stop at Silvestri's statuary showroom. Part II: This tour concentrates on the valley's community life--all reflecting the rich history and emerging promise of the "Valley of the Windmills."
Diego Rivera Mural, May 19, 11 am:
See the last and largest of the murals done by Diego Rivera in the U.S.: Pan American Unity, painted for the Pacific Exposition of 1940.
Mission Dolores Neighborhood, May 20, 12 pm:
Learn about the Spanish Mission that formed the neighborhood, the people who gave their names to San Francisco streets, and the lake that has vanished from the landscape. Explore an area created by diverse groups who still have ties here. This tour runs every Sunday, but I am leading the one on the 20th.
Tenderloin, part I & II, May 20 and 27 respectively, 9 am:
Part I: Learn about famous madams, see where Billie Holiday was busted for opium, and discover the neighborhood poker clubs. Flower nurseries and forges to the madams and gamblers of the uptown Tenderloin. Part II: Explore the Tenderloin from the isolated rural village beginnings to the San Francisco bootlegger wars and the start of the California movie industry. Learn about famous madams, see where Billie Holiday was busted for opium, and discover the neighborhood poker clubs. High rollers and card clubs, gangsters and jazz, and the Vietnam era.
And so many more! What are you waiting for? Get off your duff and walk with me, dammit!
One year ago today ... I enjoyed a nibble at the bar at Incanto. Remind me to tell you about the last several visits.