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Best Meeting of Past and Present 

Fort Point

The Civil War era, complete with cannonballs, lives on at the most bone-chilling spot in San Francisco (since the Giants ceased playing night games at Candlestick, that is). Completed in 1861 as defense against a possible invasion via the bay, this brick fort in the Presidio still reeks of isolation and sacrifice. The major hook for tourists is the epic Golden Gate Bridge overhead; while there are countless other places to savor the orange span's elegant lines, Fort Point provides an up-close feel for its musculature and heft. Now a national historic site, Fort Point is only open Fridays through Sundays for the next four years while the bridge is being retrofitted. Visitors can glance around the building to the water side and summon the spirit of depraved romanticism from the spot where Scottie fished Madeleine out of the bay in Vertigo. (A stunt double, not Kim Novak, took the plunge.) You might linger and ponder the endurance of classic movies and military installations -- so long as the sun is out.

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