Archive for the 'Life in the USA' Category

Where’s the largest Irish Event west of the Mississippi?

Irish Eyes Are Smiling in San Francisco

San Francisco’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Festival is the largest Irish event west of the Mississippi, which certainly merits a sip of Irish coffee or a romp through the Oxalis (which is a fancy word for shamrocks).

“Giving Back” is the theme for the 160th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Festival. The parade is one of a series of events which commenced on March 4 with the raising of the Irish flat at City Hall and extend through March 25, 2011.

On Saturday, March 12, the St. Patrick’s Day parade will begin at 11:30 a.m. from Second and Market streets; more than 100 floats, Irish dance groups, marching bands and thousands of participants will make their way down Market to the reviewing stand at Civic Center Plaza. For information visit

They’ll be representing more than one million Irish descendents in the Bay Area and some four million statewide. Grand Marshals Maureen and Mike Moriarty are being honored for their contributions to the Irish community.


The festival in Civic Center Plaza on March 12, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., will include Irish cultural and retail booths; a “healthy” selection of Irish food and beverages; Irish dancing; live music; children’s activities such as pony rides, and a number of community enterprises. For information visit

The eighth annual Crossroads Irish-American Festival, through March 25, will feature literature and oral history. The 21-day festival includes 11 events. Among the highlights are a walking tour illuminating the history of San Francisco’s famed waterfront  with an emphasis on Irish-American workers on March 19, and a concert by Patrick Ball, one of the world’s premiere Celtic harp players and a captivating spoken word artist, at St. Patrick’s Church, 756 Mission St., on March 25. St. Patrick’s Church is celebrating its 160th anniversary in 2011. There will be additional events for the anniversary celebration; for details visit Complete details on all Crossroads events are available at

Visitors are encouraged to walk, bike or take public transit to all events. For regional transit information, telephone 510-893-8729, call 511 within the nine San Francisco Bay Area counties or visit For information on public transit within San Francisco, telephone 311 or visit

Looking for some additional green gladness for March? Visit or check out some of these suggestions:

March 12 and 17

Ride the Ducks San Francisco and Classic Cable Car Sightseeing, or

Wear green and each of these sightseeing firms will give riders $5 off each ticket purchased; not valid with any other offers.

March 17, 9 a.m.-10 p.m.

Wipeout Bar & Grill

Pier 39,

Wipeout will be offering corned beef sandwiches all day.

March 17, 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m.

Half Moon Bay Brewing Company

390 Capistrano Road, Princeton-by-the-Sea,

An Irish-themed menu offered all day; evening entertainment from 7-10 p.m. features Claddagh with Shana Morrison, Kevin Brennan and Grant Walters.


March 17, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 a.m.

Pied Piper Bar & Grill

2 New Montgomery St.,

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in one of San Francisco’s most famous bars and enjoy a St. Patrick’s Day special —  a delicious corned beef sandwich and a Guinness for $20.

March 17, 6-9:45 p.m. at SFMOMA, cocktails at XYZ Lounge until 1:30 a.m.

How Wine Became Modern Featuring Pop-Up Magazine, and

California Academy of Sciences

55 Music Concourse Dr., Golden Gate Park,

This St. Patrick’s Day sip on a whiskey cocktail or a dark, frothy Guinness, and take in a bit of Irish culture at the greenest museum on Earth, the California Academy of Sciences.  Cast in an ethereal green light, NightLife will feature Irish step dancing, and performances on the Celtic harp and nyckelharpa, a lyrical instrument with 16 strings and 37 keys that has been around for more than 600 years. Music by DJ Nako.

Thanks to San Francisco Travel

Join the more than 300,000 people who follow SF Travel on Facebook at Follow “OnlyinSF” on Twitter at


Banish Bad Hair Days – Dos and Don’ts

Can you beat back frizz, control cowlicks and tame unruly hair when you’re traveling? Yes! Bad hair days do not have to be part of your travel plans.

Hair Beauty Dos and Don’ts

1. See your stylist and have your hair done the day before you leave. Planning, packing and closing up the house are stressful enough. You’ll need the quiet time and relaxation which having your hair done affords.

2. Get a good cut and have it styled for comfort and ease. Once you have a masterful cut, there are many ways to punch up your look.  If you have long hair, be sure to take scarves, clips, and ties. The humidity and heat in Thailand or Bali can turn normal hair into frizz.

3. Plan ahead, particularly if you are going to be gone for awhile. Purchase the correct hair formula for you hair color so someone else can do it for you without making mistakes. TAKE IT WITH YOU. If you need to  have your hair done when you’re in Tuscany or Provence, for example, take a digital photo of your hair style before you leave the salon. Carry the photos with you to show the new stylist how they like their hair, so there’s no room for error. Unless you want to try purple hair and a buzz cut.

4. Brush thoroughly before going to bed so you get all the spray and residue out.

5. Buy a silk pillow cover and use it. I have to admit that when I use my silk pillow cover my hair keeps its shape, bounce and body.

6. Consider using bottled water when you do the final rinse of your hair. Why?

My stylist told me she had a client who traveled to the Amazon and when she rinsed her hair with the water on the ship, her hair turned a brass color, due to the minerals in the water.   Don’t trust the local water if your hair is treated or delicate.

7. Hair pieces are in. Don’t miss a morning train or pass up a decadent breakfast of warm French pastries and coffee because you are hassling with hair preparation. Have you had days when you don’t have time to style your hair between afternoon activities and dinner? Here’s the solution — pull your hair back and add a hair piece or a flower. It’s simple, easy and the end result is a sophisticated look.

8. Hair gets sun burned too. Apply a spray hair sunscreen before you go sailing, tanning by the pool or golfing. The hair spray is good for your skin too.

A good hair day can help a woman (or man) ooze confidence and poise.



Would I do it again? Bike across America?

Six months after our return from the 3,115 – mile bike trip, I am repeatedly asked if I would do it again.

NO!  Biking across the USA is not an easy achievement. A year of my life was dedicated to training 6 hours a day, then riding the 3,000+ miles and then 4 months of recuperation and catch-up.

What were the best parts?

The two months my daughter and I spent together biking across the USA, but it was not a vacation; it was a rigorous physical challenge as well as a test of managing stress, maximizing patience and pulling together as partners. We lived through a “rite of passage” in our relationship. We took care of each other on the road bicycling and in many other ways too. At times JC “mothered” me; bringing me ice packs and massaging my sore shoulder and insisting I eat more and sleep longer. I depended on her to map our directions, fix the computer, compress photos and lift anything heavy. We calmed each other in the face of potential tornadoes, heat stroke and semi-trucks blasting us off the road.

The mother/daughter hierarchy we knew at the beginning of the trip has been forever shattered. My role as mother has shifted from authority to partnership. We are equals and friends and I like it that way.

We both feel a great sense of accomplishment because, through the bike trip and donations of $1 a mile, we were able to raise $52 K – that’s right, $52,000 for Bone Health Awareness and research, donated to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.

Women who have osteopenia or osteoporosis (like me, my mother, and sisters) became friends as we pedaled, and via email.

What did I learn?

One, two or three women can make a difference, from a grass-roots level. Choose your “cause” and work with passion.

We can impact our bone health, learn how at the Osteoporosis website.

More details:

About Marybeth Bond

Marybeth Bond is the nation’s preeminent expert on women travel. She is the award-winning
author-editor of 11 books.

Marybeth has hiked, cycled, climbed, dived and kayaked her way through more than seventy countries around the world.

She was a featured guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show. Marybeth has appeared on CBS News, CNN, ABC, NBC, National Public Radio and National Geographic Weekend.