I'm heading out to the SF/Bay area in a couple of weeks to shake off the winter with my Sister's family, the Normal Normans. Three adults (mostly) and two young boys (11-13?) and a week to kill. I've been putting together a list of activities so we have something to pick and choose from as the mood/opportunity strikes.
I used to travel to the valley on a regular basis for business and have discovered lots of good places for hiking, biking, eating and so forth. Then again, it's a large place and I barely tapped the potential. My brother in-law Andy lived there for a couple of years and pitched in with some recommendations, as did my friend Pedraum, whom I'm looking forward to visiting at Apple.
Here's the list so far. It's a growing, transmogrifying thing that I'll be updating (and moving to the current day of the weblog) at least until we leave. Feel free to pitch in! Leave a comment, send an email, call me on the phone, and I'll add your suggestions to the list as well. When the trip is over I'll post the list somewhere permanent for others to use.
Tips on places to stay in the silicon valley area are also welcome.
There is a great park/hike I recommend south of Carmel along route 1 called Ventana Wilderness take the long path up to the top overlooking the ocean- I would check the road conditions before heading anywhere near the coast - lots of wash-outs, even during "normal" years. For winter I prefer to spend my time south of SF where it is warmer, Santa Cruz mountains, Henry Coe, Ventana, etc.
My favorite Thai restaurant: the Regent Thai (1700 Church St, SF) - if you go there be sure to order the mieng kum appetizer (spinach leaf with toasted coconut, lime wedges, peanuts, onion. peppers, tamarind sauce) which is the best thing I've ever eaten - also golden bags? anyway great place. Cupertino has some great Dim Sum places too. If you're in Chinatown in SF stop by the fortune cookie factory (Golden Gate Fortune Cookies 56 Ross Alley) and there is a very old Taoist Temple (How Taoist Temple 125-129 Waverly Pl./Washington St) also in Chinatown.
For hiking I would drive up Page Mill Rd and turn left on 35 (Skyline Blvd) go about 1/2 mile and park in the large lot on the right - hike up to either Black Mountain or if time is short, straight up (west) for great views and weather - it will be warmer and sunnier there this time of year than Big Basin. Also, Henry Coe is fabulous this time of year.