Getting on/off motorcoach; traveling 4 miles. 20-minute ferry ride to Alcatraz. The distance from the dock to the penitentiary at the top of the hill is 1/4 mile with an elevation change of 130 feet, which is equivalent to climbing a 13-story building although over 1/4 mile. Bring refillable water bottle. Food and beverages other than water are not permitted on Alcatraz. Alcatraz is always cold and windy and often foggy; dress accordingly.
Via motorcoach, we will make a short drive to Nob Hill for a narrated walking exploration with our local expert. Nob Hill was settled in the late 19th century. Because of the scenic views and its central position, the hill became a magnet for the rich and wealthy. Leland Stanford, Collis Potter Huntington, Mark Hopkins, and Charles Crocker—the Big Four of the Central Pacific Railroad—all had mansions on Nob Hill, which were all destroyed during the earthquake. After the earthquake, many wealthy families moved to Pacific Heights. The only remaining mansion was James Flood’s house, now the Pacific-Union Club, a men’s social club. Where the Stanford, Crocker, and Hopkins mansions once stood are now hotels bearing their names. The Crocker property was bequeathed to Grace Chapel, which became Grace Cathedral. Designed in the French Gothic style, it was completed in 1964 as the third largest Episcopal cathedral in the nation. The Fairmont Hotel was newly built when the earthquake hit in 1906. It survived the earthquake relatively unscathed but succumbed to the fire. When it came time to rebuild, Julia Morgan, the first woman to graduate from the prestigious Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, was chosen as the architect. We will then reboard our motorcoach for a short drive to the Cable Car Museum, located in a historic cable car barn and powerhouse. The museum deck overlooks the huge engines and winding wheels that pull the cables. Downstairs is a viewing area of the large sheaves and cable line entering the building through the channel under the street. We’ll then have a short drive to the Ferry Building at the foot of Market Street, along the Embarcadero. When it opened in 1898, the Ferry Building became the transportation hub of San Francisco. Today, it is a foodie paradise frequented by tourists and nearby office workers. Our local expert will give us a narrated historical exploration before lunch.
This meal had been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like at the Ferry Building. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.
We will rejoin and travel by motorcoach to the dock to ferry to Alcatraz. Alcatraz has been a bird sanctuary, a Civil War fortress, and home of the West Coast’s first lighthouse. Early native people never settled there permanently because they considered it cursed, but in 1969, Native American activists occupied it in protest to demand recognition of Indian rights. They held out for 19 months. Contemporary American Indians return each year for commemorative ceremonies. Upon arrival at the Alcatraz dock for our field trip, we will be greeted by a National Park Service ranger who will give a brief orientation including information on any special activities available that day. We’ll learn about the colorful history, infamous criminal inhabitants, and legendary escape attempts from “The Rock.” The remainder of this field trip will be a self-led exploration. Park Service staff offer free presentations to visitors throughout the day on topics such as escapes, military history, American Indian occupation, natural history, and more. There are numerous exhibits including a cell house audio covering the penitentiary era. We will then cross back to San Francisco.
This meal had been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.