Categorized | Northern California

Good Day Sunshine in Haight Ashbury, San Francisco

Haight Ashbury T-shirts

Haight Ashbury - where it all began....For those who come to San Francisco

Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair

If you come to San Francisco

Summertime will be a love-in there

From: San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)

Well, it is indeed summer and the 3rd of July was one of those rare San Francisco phenomenon – a summer day in the traditional meaning of such: warm weather and sunshine.

Haight Street

Haight Street is colorful and busy

“The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” is a quote attributed to Mark Twain, although some cursory internet research has indicated that he may not have actually said this.  The sentiment, however, is correct. I didn’t have any flowers for my hair, but I did have a flowered head scarf.  The only thing missing was a love-in, but I had total faith that it would happen.  My companion for the day, Joshua, came by to pick me up in the morning and off we went.

Haight Ashbury legs

You never know what you are going to see next in the Haight

Classic Haight Ashbury starts around Buena Vista Park, east of Divisadero, and ends at Stanyan Street and Golden Gate Park.  West of Divisadero is a quieter version of Haight Street, there are some nice restaurants, shops and a marijuana dispensary that I thought was a cigar store.  Because I really am that dumb.

We arrived around 11:30 am and found a great parking place on Haight Street.

Haight Street Musician

A Haight Street Musician

Parking was free on Sundays, so that was far out, because neither of us had any quarters for the meters.  The street was already in full swing: shops were open and pedestrians were swarming.  Tourists in buses were gawking at tourists on the street and the tourists on the street were gawking at the tourists in the buses.  So everyone’s needs were met.

Joshua and I felt quite hip at the time, because several people asked us for directions – thinking we were locals.  Actually, in retrospect, is this a good thing? I don’t know.

Haight Street Hippy Store

All Flower Power, All Day

When I think back on my morning in Haight Ashbury, I think “color”.  “The Haight” is the most colorful place I have been to so far in The City.  The storefronts are colorful, the window displays are colorful, the merchandise in the stores is colorful. Color is good!

We stepped into a lot of stores – maybe because I wasn’t afraid of them.  The stores were friendly.  Do you suffer from retail trauma? I do. Certain types of stores terrify me.  I feel like I need a makeover in order to go inside. Or a cultural chaperone who can explain to the clerks that I am “just looking.”  Didn’t have the feeling in the Haight, I felt at ease.

Altar at the Tibetan StoreMy favorite stores were the Tibetan stores and the hippie stores.  I like Tibetan stores because they always smell good and they are jammed to the brim with scarves and jewelry and beads and candles.  I like listening to the calming music and smelling the incense. In one of the Tibetan stores, there was an altar set up in the back with water, fruit, flowers and an old, faded picture of Jesus Christ. There were a couple of chairs so we sat for awhile.

Storefront in the haight

The Haight is full of colorful storefronts

We also strolled into several of the hippie stores.  I tried on some hippie clothes, astonished to see that they somehow didn’t look quite as hip on me now as they did 40 years ago.  What’s that all about?  Obviously they are not making hippie clothes like they used to!

In the middle of our walk I started hearing voices in my head.  Loud ones.  I looked around and no one else was stopped in the middle of the street like me.  So I knew I was the only one hearing them.  Was I having a bad trip? Was I having a Summer of Love redux?

Haight ashbury shoes

The voices in my head made me do it.

I decided to go with my instincts and listen. Here’s what the voices were saying.  They said “You need to step into the John Fluevog Shoe Store at 1697 Haight Street.”   So I did, with Joshua in pursuit.  Then the voices said “you must go to the side of the store, on the left side of the cash register by the front window.”  So I went to the side of the store on the left side of the cash register by the front window.  And then I saw what the voices were talking about.  A pair of yellow leather shoes with a grey strap.  Oh. My. God. They were in my size, they were on sale, and they are sooooo fab!  So my request for a love-in was answered!  I had a love-in with a pair of shoes!

Haight Street Market

Joshua heading in for lunch at the Haight Street Market

The shoe drama behind us, we decided to get some lunch at the Haight Street Market, a grocery store in the middle of The Haight.  We split a roast beef sandwich from their deli and sat outside at one of the tables.  It was one of the best sandwiches I have ever eaten. Not sure what made that so, maybe just it was just the stunning simplicity: good roast beef, mayonnaise, iceberg lettuce, tomato, rye bread.  I would go back for that again – definitely.

We were running out of time and energy, so it was time to go.  Haight Ashbury was outta sight!

(Much thanks to the 60’s Official Site for their groovy 60’s vocab list!) (And much thanks to Joshua for letting me use some of his photos for this posting)

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