Favorite Frugal Destination

These past few days have been a whirlwind and I’m now so far behind it doesn’t pay to catch up. But I’ll make the first try. This is another entry I should have posted weeks ago.

Matt Gross’s Frugal Traveler column, a regular feature in the NY Times, always contains terrific ideas. It’s the one place I can count on to make me feel as though Times-inspired travel is within my means. The prices are great but there’s always some other drawback: It involves some impractical destination or ridiculous commitment of time such as the three-month cross-country trip in a dodgy Volvo. Or the $55 a day cruise aboard a schooner in the Caribbean, under the command of an ex-con from Liverpool.

After years of reading longingly of his adventures and occasional misadventure, I was finally able to bond over “Frugal San Francisco.” Even though I lack the requisite year-old daughter, I enjoyed their interactions and drew extra pleasure from having seen many of the locations he described.

The decision to take a stroller up the hills led me to question his sanity, but I commiserated with the struggle in the downpour. In my case it was wind that threatened to tear my sweater off my shoulders and put a beach’s worth of sand behind my contact lenses.

The Mission was the favorite part of the city for father and daughter. It was mine, too. It felt warm, welcoming to outsiders. The murals apparently kept the child as entertained as they did me. And I’m definitely headed to the Museum of Modern Art on my next trip.

Thanks, Matt, but I think I’ll skip the free drinks in New York. Sounds scary.

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