By Lee Foster
(Update Note: My ebook SF Travel & Photo Guide: The Top 100 Travel Experiences in the San Francisco Bay Area has been released for $3.99 on Amazon at http://amzn.to/2qS9QtG. The ebook parallels my app on this subject available for $3.99 from Apple http://apple.co/2ow44IC and Google http://bit.ly/2o9sWKJ. See an announcement of the ebook on my website at http://bit.ly/2qXg8Zf. The app has also been announced on my website. I have answered some questions about the app. The app works on smart phones and tablet devices, but not on laptops or desktops. The ebook can be read on all devices.)
I am releasing here the content in this new travel ebook/app in ten alphabetical “clusters.” Each cluster will have 12 sections of the total 120 in the ebook/app. This is alphabetical release 10 of 10. Other clusters released now include: cluster 1 cluster 2 cluster 3 cluster 4 cluster 5 cluster 6 cluster 7 cluster 8 and cluster 9.
This release on a website will not have the full functionality of the app structure, including its Google maps showing you contextually all the subjects around you. The ebook version is convenient because you can carry the content around with you in one small package and not require connectivity. The 10 releases on this websites will show the text and photo of all the items, the full “SF A-Z” content listings, but will not be able to present, as the app and ebook do, all subjects in a clickable Table of Contents menu as grouped in an area (such as Embarcadero) or in the themes/subjects (such as Culture/Museums). However, after the 120 subjects are released, I will post the Table of Contents Outline and will post each of the 120 items individually to give a “website ebook” approximation of the app and ebook.
So, here is the tenth release:
SF A-Z, Alphabetical cluster 10 of 10:
Sausalito is a picturesque bayside town in Marin County, immediately north of San Francisco.
Cross the Golden Gate and take the first turn to the right. Or take a Blue and Gold Fleet ferry over. Or ride over on your rental bike from Fisherman’s Wharf, across the Golden Gate Bridge, with return on the ferry.
Sausalito is a dining, shopping, and strolling mecca with pleasing Bay views.
Your Best Shot: This might be your best opportunity to get an image on a plate of the signature menu item for the Bay Area, the Dungeness Crab, with the iconic skyline of San Francisco in the background. Put yourself in some of the images.
Some restaurants, such as Scoma’s and The Trident, are built literally on pilings over the water. Both have outdoor seating, with good views of San Francisco.
Walk along the main street, Bridgeway, to get a sense of the place. On weekends, you may encounter an unusual artist, rock balancer Bill Dan. He has an uncanny ability to set rocks on top of each other. Give Dan a tip and he will be pleased to let you photograph his creations, possibly with him, you, and the piled-high rocks in a selfie.
Proceed farther along the main street and stroll through the town. You will come upon the yacht harbor. A large number of sailing craft and yachts call Sausalito home. Houseboats are a Sausalito specialty. You’ll see a large number of live-aboard floating homes on the northern end of town.
Browse the tourism website (see below) to see the various attractions of Sausalito. One only-in-Sausalito possibility is the Bay Model Visitor Center. The Bay Model is a 3-D hydraulic model of the entire San Francisco Bay and Delta areas. The model is capable of simulating tides, currents, and river inflows. Visit the Bay Model at 2100 Bridgeway.
If You Go:
Area: North to Marin County
Address: 1913 Bridgeway, Sausalito, CA 94965
SF A to Z List: Everything to See!
Under SF A-Z: Everything to See! you will find alphabetically the 100-plus subjects that I feel will be your best travel experience choices for San Francisco and areas nearby. I have personally visited each and every place recommended.
I have introductory sections alerting you to all attractions in an area, such as Golden Gate Park, or as part of a theme, such as Culture/Museums. The main group of these sections divides San Francisco into 10 Areas where subjects can be found. I also have a few thematic introductions (beyond Culture/Museums to suggest Lee’s Top 10 SF Experiences, Iconic Photo Views, and Nature/Hikes, etc.) and the three directions from SF where you will find nearby attractions (North to Marin County, East to Oakland/Berkeley, and South to San Mateo Coast/Bayside).
Each of my 100-plus subjects has a succinct text explaining why the subject is likely to interest you. Below that is If You Go information, citing the area where the subject resides, plus the website, address, and phone for a contact. If there is a charge or not, that will be indicated as Free, Moderate, or Expensive.
You are welcome to send me a note indicating how this presentation helped you. Email to me at Lee Foster, email@example.com. Please send me any errors you find or any omissions that should have been included. My hope is that this presentation will enrich your travel experience to San Francisco. More detail from me on many of these subjects can be seen if you Search on my website at http://www.fostertravel.com.
South to San Mateo Coast/Bayside
The San Mateo Coast offers immediate ocean and beach access for an explorer leaving San Francisco. By contrast, the drive north to Marin/Sonoma and Point Reyes takes more time to get to the water.
Each of the sequential attractions on this San Mateo Coast has its own write-up in this presentation.
Pacifica offers hikes, seafood dining, and a long pier that gives you a chance to walk over the water.
Montara is a pristine beach presenting a rustic demeanor, especially in golden afternoon light.
Princeton-by-the-Sea lets you poke around fishing boats and perhaps negotiate with a live fisherman over a take-home super-fresh salmon or Dungeness crab.
Half Moon Bay’s classic general store, Cunha’s, is now the place to order a deli sandwich as you continue your excursion south.
Pescadero State Beach, where a stream enters the ocean, is one of the largest and most dramatic strands along the coast. Bluffs at Pescadero might be the place to eat that deli sandwich, unless you prefer a more posh seafood meal in the inland town of Pescadero at the landmark restaurant, Duarte’s Tavern.
Pigeon Point Lighthouse is one of the two grandest light stations constructed in the 19th century along the California coast. Pigeon Point’s rival is Point Arena on the Mendocino coast.
Ano Nuevo is home to immense elephant seals, bellowing their way up and down the beach. This species is now secure but was formerly on the brink of extinction.
All these enticements await you as you travel south from San Francisco on the San Mateo Coast.
When proceeding along the inland route as you leave San Francisco, traveling down Highway 101 along the Bay, there is space in this presentation for three options.
SFO or San Francisco Airport is a bustling world unto itself. Go there sometime when you are not frantically trying to make a flight. Admire all its public art, the inviting restaurants/shops, and the sophisticated airport design.
Stanford University can be perused for the Romanesque inner-quad architecture of its campus and the extraordinary Cantor Museum, where you can see a hollowed-out redwood log that served Yurok Indians as a sea-going canoe.
San Francisco’s 49ers have left their Candlestick Park home, now demolished, for new digs at Levi Stadium in Santa Clara. Fans long for a return to the good old days of winning records and championships.
That’s all that space allows in this direction for this presentation. But if headed south of San Francisco, you might want to explore the three great museums that define the Silicon Valley. They are the Intel Museum, the Computer Museum, and The Tech museum in San Jose. You can inform yourself on the museums by Searching on my website at http://www.fostertravel.com.
San Francisco has three main professional sports teams. Each is a major aspect of travel to the region.
The teams are the baseball San Francisco Giants, basketball Golden State Warriors, and football San Francisco 49ers.
Each has its own write-up in this presentation.
The Giants play at the handsome AT&T Stadium along the San Francisco waterfront. Their World Series success in the last decade animates the fans.
The Golden State Warriors now play at the Oakland Oracle Arena, but will likely relocate to a site along the San Francisco waterfront in the future. With the new east span tower of the Bay Bridge as the logo on their uniform, the fan-base transition will probably excite only muted protest.
The San Francisco 49ers left their Candlestick Park home in 2014 and headed south to new digs at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. Unfortunately, their mojo “went south” also. Aficionados long for the golden ages of the past.
For every winner at sport, there is also a loser. Fans have their hopes. Team fortunes can change overnight. A few live fans participate along with many TV fans. Many TV fans nationwide get their first glimpse of San Francisco’s travel allure through incidental images of The City presented during sport contests.
Stanford University is both an intellectual bastion and a engaging visual campus to peruse. If you visit, include a free walking tour (see website), led by a current student
One signature building to see is the Hoover Tower, which honors a famous alumnus, Herbert Hoover. His reputation suffered because he happened to preside as President over the Great Depression.
Another landmark is the inner quad, a collection of Romanesque sandstone buildings, plus Memorial Church, some of the first campus architectural elements.
Your Best Shot: The Hoover Tower and the inner quad are the signature architectural photos for your collection. It’s easy to include yourself in some images, creating a wide-angle selfie.
The Rodin sculptures on the campus would be a further visual amenity to consider.
On October 1, 1891, Senator Leland Stanford and his wife, Jane, officially opened Leland Stanford Junior University. The school was destined to become one of the premier institutions of higher education and also one of the lovelier campuses in the West.
The University owes its existence to a tragic death in Italy. After typhoid fever took their only child, a 15-year-old son, while the family toured Europe, the Stanfords decided to turn their 8,200-acre stock farm into the Leland Stanford Junior University so that “the children of California may be our children.”
The Cantor Center for Visual Arts, formerly the Stanford Museum of Art, on Museum Way off Palm Drive, has an eclectic collection that includes much Stanford family memorabilia and the gold spike that united the first transcontinental railroad. A Yurok Indian canoe, carved out of a redwood log, is among the special California artifacts.
If You Go:
Area: South to San Mateo Coast/Bayside
Address: 450 Serra Mall, Stanford, CA 94305
Tiburon is a culturally rich, art-focused town on the water in the North Bay. It will delight a traveler who has an opportunity to explore north of the Golden Gate. Tiburon and nearby Sausalito are two of a kind (see my Sausalito listing).
A good way to view Tiburon is from the water. You can take a Blue and Gold Fleet ferry from San Francisco Pier 41. There is also a small local ferry going back and forth to Angel Island. The town is nestled along the bay with a low hill as the backdrop.
Tiburon’s appeals include its bayside walking path, its outdoor restaurants such as Guaymas and Sam’s Anchor Cafe, and the many art and antique shops. The shops occupy an L-shaped main street, one leg of which is called Ark Row. An example is the Ruth Livingston Studio, featuring custom-design furniture, at 74 Main Street.
The “Ark” story is fascinating. Tiburon had a bohemian past, going back to the 1890s, in which recreational houseboats were prominent for artists, sea captains, and San Franciscans looking for a summer retreat. When the land was drained, the boats became arks and now house art and design shops. See authentic arks at 104, 106, 108, and 116 Ark Row. Another good fine-dining option in that area is the Don Antonio Trattoria for its Italian specialties.
For an ambitious walk or a bike trek, take the paved path along the water from town out to Richardson Bay, a major birding habitat, including a park known as Blackie’s Pasture.
Your Best Shot: There is a public art piece at a fountain in the center of town that captures the spirit of the scene. The sculpture, called Coming About, shows, abstractly, sails caught by the wind. This art object can be a lyrical image, with opportunities to put yourself in the setting.
The ride to Tiburon on a boat gets you out on the Bay with an opportunity to view and photograph sailboats, the San Francisco skyline, Alcatraz, Angel Island, and rafts of seabirds in the water.
The Railroad & Ferry Depot Museum in Tiburon depicts local railroad history. Inquire if it is open during your visit. Tiburon functioned as the terminus of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad until 1963. Of course, before the Golden Gate Bridge opened in 1936, the railroad, the ferries, and cargo boats/ships were the only way to travel between San Francisco and the more northerly reaches of California.
If You Go:
Area: North to Marin County
Address: 1505 Tiburon Blvd, Tiburon, CA 94920
Tour Boats on the Bay
Sailing out onto the Bay and under the Golden Gate Bridge into the Pacific Ocean in a tour boat is a magical adventure. The boat will finally pause, turn around, give you a view of the Bridge and the skyline of The City, and return to the Bay.
Three main providers offer the service. They are:
Blue and Gold Fleet, from Pier 41, http://www.blueandgoldfleet.com
Red and White Fleet, Pier 39, https://www.redandwhite.com
Hornblower Cruises, Pier 3, https://www.hornblower.com/home/sf
Your Best Shot: The moment when your boat turns at the far point of the trip, on the west side of the Golden Gate Bridge, will likely be your best photo opportunity. You can easily get photos of the Bridge alone and the San Francisco skyline. Get some celebratory images also of yourself with the Bridge and SF skyline in the background.
Study each of the websites to see what kind of Bay boat tour meets your wishes. There are one-hour, two-hour, and longer tours. Some tours provide just basic transportation, while others, especially Hornblower, include lavish brunches or dinners, with live entertainment. Commentary on a Bay tour may be in English and/or in other languages, and may be intrusive or subdued.
Besides going out beyond the Golden Gate Bridge, what else do you want to see? Some tours sail past Alcatraz Prison Island, while others do not.
Other options for getting out on the Bay are the ferries, leaving mainly from the Ferry Building at the foot of Market St. Boats to Alcatraz Prison Island from Pier 33 also get you out on the water,
Try to include some excursion out on the Bay as part of your celebration of San Francisco.
The information below is for Blue and Gold Fleet.
If You Go:
Area: On the Bay
Address: Pier 41, San Francisco, CA 94133
Transamerica Pyramid from Coppola’s Zoetrope Building
Sometimes, to enjoy the best experience and make the choice photo, you need to know exactly where to stand. This is one of those cases. Go exactly to the corner of Kearny St and Columbus Ave, then step across Kearny to the uphill curb.
Look towards Downtown.
In the background will be the Transamerica Pyramid, arguably the most architecturally distinctive modern building in San Francisco.
In the immediate foreground is Francis Ford Coppola’s Zoetrope Building, 916 Kearny, one of the most charming structures from an earlier era in San Francisco.
Your Best Shot: Make an image of this view, the old and the new, the charming past and the distinctive present in San Francisco. With some framing effort, you can get your own visage into this picture.
Because of its shape, the Transamerica Pyramid, 600 Montgomery, is such an unusual commercial building. This four-sided pyramid is covered with a white crushed quartz, which creates the bright-white appearance.
The story of why the pyramid shape was chosen by architect William Pereira for this 1972 construction is a tale of zoning intrigue, told best in a Wikipedia reference (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transamerica_Pyramid).
The movie director’s Zoetrope Building is a beloved older North Beach Italian structure.
The photo works best about 2 p.m. on a sunny day to view the sun on both buildings. The view is most striking when you can get a blue sky in the background.
Remember that this is San Francisco, so the gray times tend to be during winter rains and summer heavy fog days. April and October are choice times for blue sky weather.
Consider dining on Italian food, from pasta to chicken cacciatore, at Zoetrope Restaurant. See the menu in the link below.
Since there is not much that a visitor can do inside the Transamerica Pyramid, the info below is for the Zoetrope Bldg.
If You Go:
Address: 916 Kearny St, San Francisco, CA 94133
Twin Peaks View
Twin Peaks is a prominent set on two hills near the geographic center of The City. Atop these peaks, you can experience a stunning view of the Downtown skyline from a southerly perspective. The Downtown glimpse is a narrow aspect of the full panoramic presentation of San Francisco.
Your Best Shot: This sweeping vista of San Francisco, with and without you in the image, is a memorable addition to your Bay Area visuals. Light will be best in afternoon to evening, as the sun proceeds west and falls on the Downtown. You can return to Twin Peaks time and again. The light will always be different, and fog may be a drifting ally in your composition.
The promontory reaches an elevation of 922 feet, exceeded in The City only by Mt. Davidson (928 feet). Hiking trails, managed by the SF Recreation and Parks, allow foot access to the 64 acres. A figure-8 road circles the summits, leading to the north peak parking lot and view area.
You might see a Mission blue endangered butterfly or a wily coyote on Twin Peaks. Coastal fog hits the west side, but the east flank is usually sunnier and warmer. Winds can be intense, so come prepared with a wind breaker or other warm garment.
The Recreation and Parks website (see below) is informative, with a trail map and details about Twin Peaks.
Coastal scrub vegetation, with coyote brush and silver blue bush lupine, helps you imagine what San Francisco hills looked like when Ohlone Indians lived here and walked the hills in search of medicinal herbs and berries.
If You Go:
Address: 501 Twin Peaks Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94114
If there is one site to be designated as the Heart of The City, it is Union Square.
Hang out here to observe the cast of characters passing through the sunny plaza, including the street performers who frequent the area. Pause at the outdoor cafe for a latte.
The Westin St. Francis Hotel and major department stores, such as Neiman Marcus and Macy’s, line the Square. Cable Cars clang their way up Powell St on the west side of the Square.
If there is a protest or political rally affecting the populace, it is likely to have some expression in Union Square and/or at Civic Center. Citizens offering you the promise of eternal salvation also frequent the Square.
Your Best Shot: A street entertainer, either here or at Fisherman’s Wharf, is a fitting candidate for your San Francisco image collection. Try to get the entertainer performing here before one of the logo “hearts” that line the western corners of the Square, to add context. Put a dollar in a tip cup, and you too could have a selfie moment with Gold Man, one character who appears sprayed gold, literally top of hat to toe, and stands mime-like as a frozen statue, except when he breaks to toy-soldier mode and gives a stiff but appreciative recognition of tips.
Commercial, financial, and tourism energy all come into focus at Union Square.
If you want to see the Square well-lit, your best bet will be mid-day. The sun streams down on the loungers and the 97-foot-tall Dewey Monument in the center. For more on the Dewey Monument, including the voluptuous socialite who posed in a diaphanous garment to grace the top of the sculpture, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_Square,_San_Francisco.
For an elevated perspective on the Square, go the eighth-floor Cheesecake Factory restaurant at Macy’s and gaze down.
If You Go:
Address: 333 Post St, San Francisco, CA 94108
University of California Berkeley
UC Berkeley and Stanford are the two main university campuses to consider for visits in Northern California.
UC Berkeley is at the apex of the state’s public university system. Stanford is the preeminent private university in the area. Both have visually interesting architecture.
The signature building of the UC Berkeley campus is the Campanile. With stairs to the top, the 307-foot-tall structure is officially known as Sather Tower. Sixty-one massive bells at the top, called the carillon, provide musical performances.
Almost everyone approaching the University comes in through a walkway known as Sather Gate. This unique funnel architecture defined the UC cultural experience, going back to the Free Speech days. Those with a cause to champion could get up on a podium at Sather Gate, where everyone must pass, and spread the message efficiently.
Your Best Shot: An image of Sather Gate with the Campanile in the background would capture the essence of the place. Put yourself in the image and the scene is complete.
Review the campus website (see below) for free student-led tours. Visitor info is at http://visit.berkeley.edu.
UC Berkeley got started in 1866 when trustees of an entity called College of California gathered on a hillside overlooking the Bay and proclaimed that a university would be founded. Someone read from the works of Irish Bishop George Berkeley, who wrote, “Westward the course of the empire takes its way.” The sentiments were thought to be appropriate, so the name Berkeley was given to the university and new town. Berkeley was a college town from the beginning.
Beyond the campus, there are three places especially interesting to explore in Berkeley. First is the artsy downtown, near the BART Station, including the Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Second is the Gourmet Ghetto on Shattuck Ave, a few blocks north of downtown, especially between Cedar and Vine, where you’ll find Alice Waters’s famous Chez Panisse restaurant. And third, along the Bay, Cesar Chavez Park offers a fresh-air walking opportunity and is a brilliant concept of urban design, turning a former landfill into an engaging public park.
If You Go:
Area: East to Oakland/Berkeley
Address: University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720
Victorian Architecture Self-Tour
The Victorian architecture that survived in San Francisco after the Great Earthquake and Fire of 1906 amounts to one of the major amenities of The City.
One of the loveliest places to see Victorians is Alamo Square, where a row of ornate 19th-century houses can be viewed in the foreground, juxtaposed against the modern skyline of The City in the background. If you want to rest, relax, and picnic while exploring San Francisco, Alamo Square is an ideal place to pause, with this iconic view before you. The sun shines on the front of the Victorians after about 2 p.m. each day.
Your Best Shot: An image of these “Painted Ladies” at Alamo Square or a façade of one of the great Victorians, such as the Haas-Lilienthal House at 2007 Franklin St, would be a memorable element in your SF image collection. Possibly put yourself in some photos, perhaps with a subdued hand wave, as would have been royally acceptable from Queen Victoria (1837-1901), after whom all this grand architecture is named.
The fire after the Great Earthquake of 1906 was a truly catastrophic event. More than 28,000 buildings burned. Because the water lines of The City were broken, there was no way to douse the flames as they ate their way through the wooden buildings. The only effective tool was dynamite, blowing up a house in the fire’s path, hoping that the break would allow the fire to be contained.
San Francisco’s remaining Victorian heritage is spread out. A driving tour allows you to see many of the survivors.
Here is my recommended drive. The directions are precise, taking advantage of one-way streets, and are easily understood with a map in hand or on a device. The area is rather large, so driving is recommended rather than walking.
Start at California and Franklin. Drive north on Franklin, then left on Pacific, left on Scott, left on Clay, right on Steiner, right on Sacramento, left on Divisadero, left on Golden Gate, right on Scott skirting Alamo Square, left on Hayes, left on Steiner, left on McAllister, right on Divisadero, right on Bush, left on Laguna, ending at Union.
Allow plenty of time to relax and enjoy the ride, pausing to admire the architectural gems. Repeat the drive at different times of the day, and the light will fall on the structures in contrasting ways. Sometimes you’ll savor individual Victorians amidst more modern buildings. Occasionally, a large cluster remains, such as a group near McAllister and Scott.
The information below is for San Francisco Heritage, an advocacy organization for the Victorians. They lead tours and are located at the Haas-Lilienthal House.
If You Go:
Area: Civic Center
Address: 2007 Franklin St, San Francisco, CA 94109
Westin St. Francis
The hotel in San Francisco most thoroughly embodying the mystique of The City is the Westin St. Francis, 335 Powell St, at the edge of Union Square.
For generations of San Franciscans, the social planning phrase has been, “Meet me at the St. Francis.”
Your Best Shot: In morning, when the light falls on the facade of this magnificent structure, consider a photo from the Union Square sidewalk opposite the front entrance, perhaps with a Cable Car passing by.
The St. Francis opened in 1904 as an investment by the estate of Charles Crocker, one of the “Big Four” railroad magnates.
There are several options for a drink or dining at the Westin, ranging from historic-themed cocktails at the Clock Bar or the Oak Room to casual dining at Caruso’s.
The lobby is especially lively at Christmas, when there is a Sugar Castle Victorian house that delights all generations.
If You Go:
Address: 335 Powell St, San Francisco, CA 94102
The San Francisco Zoo aims to connect visitors with wildlife, inspire a delight in and caring about wildlife, and advance conservation efforts, both in California and internationally.
Highlighting this mission is an exhibit on the Komodo dragon, an immense reptile from Indonesia. The zoo’s Komodo dragon is being maintained for captive breeding purposes. Only about 3,000 of these venomous lizards, which can reach 10 feet in length, exist in their native country.
Your Best Shot: Seek out the Komodo dragon for your photo. Put yourself in some images to record one of your larger reptilian encounters.
For California, the zoo has a program to save and repopulate the range of the Sierra Nevada yellow legged frog.
Located near the Pacific Ocean where Great Highway meets Sloat Blvd, the 100-acre zoo has an inviting website that can give a visitor a species-by-species virtual tour before a visit.
The website does a good job of introducing in an engaging manner the roughly 250 species present at the zoo. A look at the website can be a pre-visit enhancement. There is a photo and description of each species in the groups Amphibians, Birds, Invertebrates, Mammals, and Reptiles.
For each species, a visitor can study in advance Fascinating Facts, Physical Characteristics, Habitat/Diets, Social Behavior, and Status in the Wild. Although showy mammals, such as lions, are classic zoo animals, the Invertebrate group is a less expected category.
Among Invertebrates on the website and at the zoo you can meet a Chilean rose tarantula, for example, and learn that these stocky and hairy creatures love to feed on crickets and can live 15-20 years.
If You Go:
Area: Northern/Western Oceanfront
Address: Sloat Blvd at The Great Highway, San Francisco, CA 94132
Price: Entrance fee, moderate
About the Author
Foster Travel Publishing
1623 Martin Luther King Jr Way
Berkeley, CA 94709
Lee Foster, born in 1943, grew up in a Minnesota of fishing for black bass, playing baseball, and hunting for ring-necked pheasants. He was the son of a factory owner in Mankato, a small city of 30,000.
He earned an undergraduate degree in Great Books/Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame and a graduate degree in English-American Literature at Stanford University, where he was a Woodrow Wilson Fellow. While at Stanford his first two books, a novel about contemporary California and a memoir about growing up in Minnesota, were published (see list below). He was greatly assisted by his mentor, Wallace Stegner, who encouraged him on the path of writing and facilitated these early book publications.
In recent decades his main focus has been travel writing and travel photography, plus a literary travel book and a book of independent publishing. He lives in Berkeley, California.
Foster’s range of travel journalism (about 150 worldwide subjects) can be seen on his Foster Travel Publishing website at http://www.fostertravel.com. He has been active in developing travel articles, photos, books, ebooks, apps, websites, and an audiobook.
Some of his work has been with the leading traditional publishers; other efforts have been as an independent publisher. Over the years, Lee has published travel writing/photography in all the leading U.S. travel magazines and newspapers. His book partnerships include the use of his travel photos in more than 300 Lonely Planet books. His current main “traditional” book is with DK Dorling Kindersley, in the Eyewitness series, titled Back Roads California.
His main books/ebooks are listed on his website at
Foster’s books/ebooks currently available and visible in bookstores (http://www.indiebound.org) or on his Amazon Author Page (http://amzn.to/1jl9Lnz) include:
SF Travel & Photo Guide: The Top 100 Travel Experiences in the San Francisco Bay Area (an ebook in Amazon/other ebook vendors and an app available from Apple http://apple.co/2ow44IC and Google http://bit.ly/2o9sWKJ)
An Author’s Perspective on Independent Publishing: Why Self-Publishing May Be Your Best Option (book and ebook)
Minnesota Boy: Growing Up in Mid-America, Mid-20th Century (book and ebook, a re-publication on his 1970 book Just 25 Cents and Three Wheaties Boxtops)
Back Roads California (publisher DK, Dorling Kindersley, book)
Three Sutro Media travel apps: San Francisco Travel and Photo Guide, Berkeley Essential Guide, and Washington DC Travel and Photo Guide (all now no longer downloadable)
Northern California Travel: The Best Options (book, ebook, and website book, plus available as translated into a Chinese ebook and soon as a Chinese printed book)
The Photographer’s Guide to San Francisco (publisher Countryman Press/Norton, book and ebook)
The Photographer’s Guide to Washington DC (publisher Countryman Press/Norton, book and ebook)
Travels in an American Imagination: The Spiritual Geography of Our Time, a literary travel book with 25 essays about places in Lee’s world travels and his perception that we live in both the wondrous and the most horrific time ever to be alive. Each place is an essay with a photo (book, ebook, audiobook, and translated as an ebook into Chinese)
Northern California History Weekends (publisher Globe Pequot, book, will be revised and published as a book and ebook in 2018)
His earlier books, still visible and available as legacy books on his Amazon Author Page, include:
The Message of April Fools, a novel about the tumultuous 1960s, being young, at Stanford, in the midst of the LSD/pot drug revolution and the anti-Vietnam War movement.
Just 25 Cents and Three Wheaties Boxtops, a writing/photo memoir about growing up in a Minnesota of the 1950s-60s. This book of literary sketches and photos was re-issued recently with the title Minnesota Boy as a book and ebook.
Note from Lee:
Aside from this ebook/app, I publish other books/ebooks about San Francisco and Northern California. One is titled The Photographer’s Guide to San Francisco. My main book/ebook on Northern California is Northern California Travel: The Best Options. Those volumes, including some more on California, can be seen on my Amazon Author Page. My further books on Northern California are Back Roads California and Northern California History Weekends. One of my California books, Northern California Travel: The Best Options, is now available as an ebook in Chinese.