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Many of us know about Ocean Beach as we’ve probably been there at some point, whether day or night. This beach is highly popular with Bay Area residents and rightly so-it’s local and easily accessible. What you might not be aware of is what looms above to the north. You may have noticed that big hill before but do you know what’s at the top?

If you take a short trip from the beach, around the hill and past the Cliff House, you’ll find a parking lot. Pull your car in there and behind the lot, across the street from the Sutro Baths’ ruins, you’ll find Sutro Manor. Once a grand castle-like mansion, this is where the Sutro family used to reside. They held extravagant parties, galleys, and social events here. If you were anyone significant in San Francisco, you would have attended one or many of their galas. Unfortunately, the house no longer stands there today and the foundation is all that remains of the once glorious building.

These days, the surrounding area has been converted into a park. Lush green grass spreads over the ruins and there are majestic trees and beautiful flowers along the sides of the park; it is nearly closed in by vegetation.

Set up primarily for dog walking, you may run across a number of happy-faced, fuzzy, four-legged park lovers. But there is plenty of room for people and dogs to share in their enjoyment of the park. It is a great place to play Frisbee, picnic, walk or just lounge under a tree.

For those of you who like to learn while having fun (we are out there!), the park is filled with amazing and juicy history. Take a stroll around the front of the old building; there are a number of small plaques with pictures, accounts and interesting facts about the property. If you then turn around, the house has the most amazing view in front of it. It’s a beautiful place to see the sun set, perhaps with someone special (hint hint).

All in all, this classic piece of San Francisco’s painted past has something for everyone. You will leave feeling refreshed and perhaps even a carefree.

It’s a quick drive from Skyline; just head north on Great Highway and keep going past the Cliff House. You will not be disappointed-that’s my guarantee.