Full time paradise in Half Moon Bay
Tuesday, 18 September 2012
First class destination with an eco-view and a sophisticated culinary journey
Text and photos by Lina Broydo
Named by USA Today as one of the 15 “Happiest Seaside Towns” in America, Half Moon Bay is a place where life is supposedly a smiley face.
It certainly makes me happy when there, somewhere over the mountain of the San Mateo Road (Hwy 92) and only 30 minutes drive from my home in Los Altos Hills I am welcomed by the miles of white sand beaches, spectacular coastline along the blue and green Pacific Ocean, redwood forests, beautiful state parks and colorful fields of wild and cultivated flowers.
It’s a place of joy for modern explorer like me as I watch the harbor seals and otters, jelly fish and migratory birds all gravitating to this tranquill life in this stunning slice of the Golden State’s Half Moon Bay which boasts an unrivaled combination of coastal town friendliness, charm and natural beauty.
Dating back to the 1840s the community that is today called Half Moon Bay, which derives its name due to the crescent shaped harbor, is the oldest community in San Mateo Country.
The result of old and new, where fifth-generation local farm families – of the region’s colorful history remain deeply integrated into this small town.
The small town of Princeton-by-the-Sea was laid out in 1908 and is noted for its streets named after famous colleges.
A short drive ahead is The Pillar Point marsh, a well known bird-watching area, as well as the home to the legendary Mavericks surf spot.
Everywhere here is casual - the hikers, horseback riders on the beach, fishing, kayaking, the families with kids in strollers, and dogs who together with their adoring owners appreciate the town’s hos-pet-ality.
The local restaurants offer a gourmet journey featuring seafood, vegetables and fruits as well as locally produced cheeses and wines, creating the farm-to-table experience.
Starting with aromatic coffee and freshly baked muffins (try the pumpkin) at Moonside Bakery and Café, located on the town’s picturesque Main Street, followed by lunch at the popular with spectacular ocean view Sam’s Chowder House (Lobster Roll, voted by NBC’s The Today Show as “Top 5 Best Sandwiches in America”) located on Cabrillo Hwy with an additional entrance from the beach.
With a night cup in a comfy chair beside fire pit and an ocean sunset at the Moss Beach Distillery Seal Cove Patio, a onetime favorite of author Dashell Hammett.
Or listening to the sounds of waves rolling onto the beach while enjoying top-caliber jazz and classical musicians performing at Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society, is the grand finale to my full-filling visit to the dreamy Half Moon Bay.
My regular weekend escape to Half Moon Bay does not include an overnight, but just in case you are exhausted by the miles of energetic hiking in the fresh air or an extra taste of local wines you may decide to spend a night in one of many hotels, Inns and B&Bs.
The accommodations range from the luxurious Ritz Carlton Hotel to the unique stay at Pigeon Point Lighthouse, one of the tallest and most photographed Lighthouses in the country, which is now a hostel.
For additional information visit www.visithalfmoonbay.com or www.halfmoonbaychamber.org.
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