Tuesday, July 13, 2010

'Floating White House' Sails from Wharf

The USS Potomac, the 165-foot vessel that served as Franklin D. Roosevelt's yacht during his years in the White House, docked at San Francisco's wharf last week to promote its new ties to the Red and White Fleet, one of the city's oldest ferry companies.

Red and White, the family-owned company that was founded in San Francisco in 1892, is now marketing the Potomac for corporate events, weddings and receptions on the historic yacht as it sails the bay.

The Potomac, which at one point sunk near Treasure Island, was restored and is operated by a nonprofit group, the USS Potomac Association. Michael Roosevelt, FDR's grandson and a Bay Area resident, is association chairman.

The boat, now a National Historic Landmark, is berthed at Jack London Square in Oakland but, for special events, the Potomac will depart from the Red and White Fleet's Pier 43 1/2 at San Francisco's Wharf.

On board, you can tour the cabin where FDR slept (it's small and spartan) and have a drink and appetizers in the salon where Elvis Presley, Danny Thomas and dignitaries were hosted for receptions. Organizers can arrange for FDR (a local gentleman who dresses the part and plays the role) makes an appearance or joins groups on the sailings.

The same evening that the Potomac and Red and White announced their partnership, just a block away was another debut of new wharf happenings. Rodney Fong, grandson of Wax Museum founder Thomas Fong, unveiled the newest figure -- Mariah Carey -- which joins other female entertainers, including Madonna, Beyonce and Gloria Estefan, in the museum galleries. Buxom Mariah will be out in front of the museum for a while greeting passersby.

For more on what to do at San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf, see my travel app on Fisherman's Wharf and North Beach, on sale at iTunes for .99 cents.