Lisa Vegan's Reviews > Peaceful Places: San Francisco: 100+ Tranquil Sites in The City and the Greater Bay Area

Peaceful Places by Raynell Boeck
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's review
Jan 04, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: non-fiction, san-francisco, reference, reviewed
Recommended for: visitors or those new to San Francisco (not long time residents and) not as only resource
Read from January 12 to 17, 2011 — I own a copy

This book is so hard for me to rate because while I found it very disappointing and it certainly didn’t live up to my admittedly high expectations, there is some wonderful information here. The problem is that I already knew virtually every place, and some don’t qualify for me as tranquil or peaceful, either the locations or the getting to the locations. I was hoping to find many, many new ideas for places to go. Also, there are only 110 places featured; I could think of so many that aren’t included. I wanted more.

Readers are encouraged to get to the vast majority of places via public transportation. I can’t think of much that’s less tranquil than taking city busses. Ferries are wonderfully peaceful but they’re not easy for me to get to, especially without my car.

However, I did find or remember a few gems, the short sections for each location are well written, and there is plenty of helpful information given for each site. Included are maps, a very useful table of contents, peacefulness ratings (3 grades), categories of types of places/experiences, general transportation information, some black and white photos, and “essentials" at each place and that includes address, phone number, web site, cost if any, hours, and public transportation options if any. There are many outdoor sites, though fewer than I expected or had hoped for. There are also lots of churches, cafés & stores, libraries, museums, and other indoor locations.

For all my complaining and the letdown I felt, I see that there are also Peaceful Places books for New York and Los Angeles, and I think I’d be interested in reading those before I visited those cities. I assume I might find appealing places I would not be likely to find otherwise. I also expect that I will at least occasionally use this book if I feel like getting away without going away, if only to remind myself about some available options. I think that either visitors or those new to the area would best appreciate this book, and even then not as their only resource. As someone who knows San Francisco and the Bay Area fairly well, it didn’t provide enough new information to make it worth the purchase.

2-1/2 stars
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Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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message 1: by Kathryn (new)

Kathryn Sounds lovely! I hope you get to visit many of these peaceful places in the new year.

Lisa Vegan Me too but so far I'm a bit disappointed. I know most of the places, many aren't right in the city, some I don't find all that peaceful, and they concentrate on ones that can be gotten to by busses (the least peaceful things on earth ;-) ) and ferries, etc. none of which are near me unless I drive, or take the horrible busses. Some are near me, but I know them. I haven't found too many new places yet. But, I perused the book only so far and haven't gotten that far into my cover to cover read. I'm hoping to find a few new gems or rediscover forgotten ones. But so far I can think of dozens of places that AREN'T INCLUDED in this book. So, disappointed so far.

Oh, re the facebook discussion, a friend of mine gave me another 2011 calendar last evening: a Wolf Kahn one. Beautiful! A mini wall calendar.

message 3: by Kathryn (new)

Kathryn Oh, that DOES sound disappointing. Bleh. Well, I hope you will find a few new gems at least.

And the wall calendar looks beautiful--and very peaceful ;-)

Lisa Vegan Yes, very peaceful, and pretty.

message 5: by Cathy (new)

Cathy Douglas It does sound promising, but probably just as well not to let people know about the really peaceful places. I certainly wouldn't trust a book on the topic that has the Palace of the Legion of Honor on the cover! Last time I was there, trying to eat lunch on a park bench, I found myself sharing the space with high school kids on class trips, preschoolers feeding ducks, and about a hundred tourists (who kept getting me in their photos).

Lisa Vegan Asymmetrical, Exactly! Many other places such as that too, places where you're likely to run into crowds or are too near ultra busy places.

Lisa Vegan Susan, Well, I"m sure many will appreciate the book. I was looking and expecting something different. And, I do like other areas of the SFBA, and there are some good places mentioned in the book, but I was hoping to find some PEACEFUL, truly peaceful, places that I hadn't know about, and I didn't find them. I think my review is very clear and very balanced, and informative enough for people who haven't read it yet.

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