Packing a mixed bag for the Cities by the Bay

Packing a mixed bag for the Cities by the Bay

It looks like my brand fluffy new aran-gansey is going to get its first outing much sooner than I expected. Bob and I are headed to San Francisco and all the surrounding towns today. He’s doing the Alcatraz swim on Saturday! This has been in the works for a long time, and has been rescheduled more times than I can count, and I’ve honestly been feeling a little bothered that it finally landed in mid-September. The thing that made me craziest about living there (for almost 20 years; please note that I am very familiar with the place) was that it’s freezing all year and then September rolls around, and right when you’re actually in the mood for the sweaters you’ve been forced to wear all summer, it suddenly heats up! Sept and Oct are the only two months in which you’ll ever really get any warm weather when you’re by the Bay. So here I am in stinky hot Tennessee, about to take my first vacation to SF since we moved away, and fuming a little about the inevitability that it wouldn’t actually mean a break from the heat. But then by some miracle, the usual Indian Summer is nowhere in sight!

We are, in fact, going to visit some sweater weather today, and I could not be more delighted.

We’ll be all over the place — SF, Berkeley, Marin, Vallejo, Napa, possibly even Point Reyes — doing a hilarious variety of things (from the messiest to the most professional) in about a dozen different micro-climates, but all of the forecasts call for highs from the mid-60s to mid-70s. Those temps feel different there, with no humidity and that wind, than they do here. But I think I still have my Layering badge, and am taking the above (see the Summer closet inventory for details on the rest of the garments), which should cover all variables, along with a wool scarf, mitts, hat — and my trusty gore-tex jacket for over the sweater when I’m out on the water Saturday morning, watching Bob swim with the … nope, not making that joke.

Never fear: There will be no break in the blog action! There’s a full week of fun stuff queued up, and I’ll be checking comments as much as possible.

And of course Fringe Supply Co. is always open. Which, by the way, we have the new Mason-Dixon Field Guide No. 8 in the webshop today, featuring fun gifty accessory patterns by the always-delightful Thea Colman.

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PREVIOUSLY in Wardrobe Planning: Sweater inventory

28 thoughts on “Packing a mixed bag for the Cities by the Bay

  1. I was just in SF last week for a super fun holiday (one of my most fave cities) and boy was I glad I have a Layering badge (I live in Vancouver, BC where the weather changes every time you blink). The sun shone the blazes every day but dang it was chilly in the shade. And, duh, that wind! But of course I had a trusty go-with-everything grey cardigan and one of Jane Richmond’s yet-to-be-released sweet beanies in my backpack just in case. Can’t wait for the travelogue of your hilarious West Coast pursuits!

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  2. Welcome back to the Bay Area! I think we have perfect weather here. You can always find what you want somewhere in the outer regions. Beware, though, the traffic here has gotten increasingly bad over the last couple of years. Enjoy the trip.

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  3. As a Southern Californian (with no a/c), I can relate. It’s been a long hot summer even though I’m only 2 1/2 miles from the ocean. I have always loved visiting the Bay area…so nice and COOL. Enjoy wearing your new creation.

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  4. Marin and Napa should be warm. Pt Reyes, not so much. These places are my home base. Have fun and travel safe. Swim safe for your DH.

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  5. Bob is a warrior-I can’t imagine even dipping a toe in the bay so the swim is impressive! My dad used to kayak around there wearing a wet suit.

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  6. The weather finally broke last weekend!! Actually wore short sleeves and was only a little chilly at my home by the ocean :) I’ve got to say, the fog was starting to get to me and I’m so glad summer is finally here! Have a wonderful trip and best of luck to the swimmer!

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  7. I love seeing how others pack.
    I’m leaving tomorrow for my first trip to Tuscany with my sister. The cities are still very warm but we’re also venturing into the mountains where it can be windy and chilly in the evenings. Living in Vancouver, BC, as another person mentioned, gives us some expertise in the Art of Layering. I hope my Layering Badge does me well on my choices!
    A few posts ago, you asked us if we were flat-packers or rollers. I am rolling everything for the first time as a result of that post…amazed how much room it has given me in my suitcase!!
    Have a great trip, Karen, and a safe swim for Bob.

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      • I did a motorbike trip (1 pannier luggage allowance!) with my husband some years ago, to Nashville, Memphis, New Orleans and Savannah – I rolled everything and was amazed at how much stuff I could get into that pannier (weight was an entirely different matter lol!) and plus everything came out less creased. I roll always now. (I only wish one could roll shoes, sigh, Could only take two pairs plus my motorbike boots, and they’re not a great look with a summer dress on a sultry evening!)

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  8. I wish I could be there with you. I know what you mean by the heat. Every time we manage to visit SF, the weather warms up. I think the residents lie to us so we don’t move there. Same thing with Seattle. Enjoy your trip and good luck to your husband on the Alcatraz swim.

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