There’s a sublime moment that occurs when I reach the top of the Brooklyn Bridge – a marine breeze whiffing up from the East River, traffic rattling along on the roadway below, hundreds of people shuffling, loping, toddling, jogging, moseying, and biking past me, smartphones and selfie sticks raised in all directions, the American flag hoisted high overhead, the Manhattan skyline working its magic in the background.
The fifth-largest city in North Carolina could have easily been named Zinzendorf-Pottendorf – the way Charleston was named for Britain’s King Charles II and Asheville was christened after a long-forgotten N.C. governor.
Like many great love affairs, mine began in childhood. The details are sketchy, drawn from memory and from photographs in a family album, old Super 8s. Our two-toned station wagon is loaded up in the driveway of the Altadena, Calif., home, room for five, our gear and a black Labrador named Sheba.
Best times to visit the Golden Gate National Recreation Area - or not: December, January and February are the wettest months, bookended by November and March. If you want dry, June, July and August are your best bets. If you want warm, go in September.
The busiest unit in our national park system isn't a park at all. In fact, plenty of visitors never notice that they're in it - not when they're half-lost in the redwoods of Marin County's Muir Woods, not when they're deep into a conversation about robots at San Francisco's Fort Mason, not when they're roaming the vast beach flats of Fort Funston, near the San Mateo County line.