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Charting the storied history of the Barbary Coast
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Getting the local perspective on Bay Area lore
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Becoming an honourary member of the Book Club of California
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Wine tasting and a picnic at the Napa Valley
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Learning about the rise of LGTBQ rights in the Castro area

Cool Gray City of Love: Literary San Francisco

Readings: McTeague by Frank Norris and selected readings by Robert Louis Stevenson, Bret Harte, M. F. K. Fisher, Robert Haas, Rebecca Solnit and more.
An island kingdom of splendid golden riches. A muddy, anything- goes boomtown. A city of foggy back alleys where trouble broods. In fiction and not too far o in fact, San Francisco has been all these and more. Writers from Frank Norris to Dashiell Hammett to Rebecca Solnit have captured facets of this city of ephemeral beauty and profound contradictions, a place as changeable as the sea and sky that surround it.

In this unique historical, literary and culinary overview of San Francisco, we’ll explore how a cluster of wood and adobe buildings in a sheltered cove grew to become an economic powerhouse run on gold and silicon; a nexus of experimentation in literature, theatre and music; a centre of gay life and culture; and an oft-romanticized bastion of progressive politics. What forces have shaped San Francisco into the city it is today? Where is it headed as California, the world’s sixth-largest economy, takes a bigger role on the world stage?

As we consider these questions we’ll first explore some of the city’s oldest and most famed neighbourhoods, walking in the footsteps of Gold Rush miners, Barbary Coast sailors, entrepreneurial madams and railroad magnates. When our feet get tired, we’ll climb aboard a cable car to enjoy the views of the bay from atop Nob Hill. We’ll then head to Golden Gate Park and the de Young museum with its rich collection of American art, including important landscape paintings of California and the West. Finally, we’ll trace the history and ongoing importance of San Francisco’s LGBTQ community with a walking tour of the Castro neighbourhood.

San Francisco is one of the world’s great restaurant towns, and there will be opportunities to enjoy a dynamic dining scene where California’s bounty takes a starring role. And of course, we won’t neglect the fruit of the vine. We’ll cross the Golden Gate Bridge to spend a relaxed day of wine tasting in the green hills of the Napa Valley, which has been producing wine since the 1830s.
Literary Adventures Cultural Explorations

USA | 6 days
Literary Adventures

Dates:
Mar 23-28, 2018
Cost:
US$2345 (Incl. US$150 taxes and gratuities)
Group Size:
Limited to 16 participants

Includes:
Accommodation in double occupancy, based on hotels listed or similar, meals as indicated in the itinerary, all activities as indicated in the itinerary, all entrance fees, readings, fully escorted by Melanie Blake. Taxes and gratuities of US$150 are included.

Itinerary at a Glance

Day 1: Arrive in San Francisco/walking tour
Day 2: Walking tour of the fabled Barbary Coast
Day 3: Napa Valley Wine Tour
Day 4: Book talk at the Book Club of California/Walking tour of the Castro
Day 5: American art at the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park
Day 6: Depart San Francisco
Get a Detailed Itinerary >

Your Tour Leader

Melanie Blake is a writer and editor who developed a deep interest in fiction from Asia during a three-year stint in India. She has canoed, kayaked, sailed, trekked and cycled down or along rivers ranging from the Hudson to the Dordogne to the Indus.

Ready for More?

You can request a detailed itinerary for this tour or call 1.800.387.1483 or email us with any questions or to reserve your booking!
Literary Adventures Cultural Explorations

USA | 6 days
Literary Adventures

Dates:
Mar 23-28, 2018
Cost:
US$2345 (Incl. US$150 taxes and gratuities)
Group Size:
Limited to 16 participants

Includes:
Accommodation in double occupancy, based on hotels listed or similar, meals as indicated in the itinerary, all activities as indicated in the itinerary, all entrance fees, readings, fully escorted by Melanie Blake. Taxes and gratuities of US$150 are included.

WHAT THEY SAY:

"The visit to the Mechanics' Institute was exceptional."

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