Coastside Fishing

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House Half Moon Bay San Francisco half-hour

If San Francisco evokes the image of a city with crowded streets and the density of population, you'll be surprised know that a few miles south and west is Half Moon Bay, an oasis of rural charm set along a scenic stretch of pristine coast of California.

It is in this small town you'll find quaint shops and a bit more relaxed pace that Bay cities less than half an hour to the northeast. There are lighthouses and farms nearby flower markets, spectacular tide pools, and a port with fresh crab, salmon and halibut, which find their way into the tables in some restaurants excellent local.

Half Moon Bay is really special, and probably all due to his name – how could a place called Half Moon Bay to be anything but a dreamy enclave overlooking little fairy tale about the sea?

Our most recent visit to Half Moon Bay was reinforced by our accommodation options – a called the Beach House which offers 54 colorful loft suites perched on a cliff with panoramic views of the coast. The suites are spacious and comfortable, designed as open studios to take advantage of ocean views. Each unit includes a private patio or balcony and separate bedroom and living room. All the amenities are there: wood burning fireplace, wet bar, microwave, refrigerator, goose down comforters – whatever.

The Beach House is one aspect of Cape Cod, which fits well with the nearby beach and the marina. You can walk the paths wide to the marina or the beach and they feel that they are really far from the big city.

For Of course, the spa services we remind you that you are not exactly in Kansas – there's a full menu of available spa enhancements, including the Paris-based firm Lavender Wrap reiki and aromatherapy massage.

With only five minutes away is the downtown business district of Half Moon Bay, a place to roam and explore while looking for something special for friends and family. Numerous shops, restaurants and cafes along historic Main Street, not to mention more bakeries per capita than any small town we visited.

A restaurant called Cetrella was recommended to us and described as a "casually elegant Mediterranean bistro" with perhaps the building's newest and most impressive in the downtown shopping area. The menu was amazing for its variety, however, still providing simple choices between seafood, beef, pork, lamb and rabbit, even. Among our favorites are mesquite grilled dry aged ribeye Creekstone Farms Black Angus and seared salmon Cypress Island – both cooked to perfection. Vegetables, served in a dizzying array of different dishes, were the freshest we can remember – it should be a surprise considering there are farms within walking distance of the restaurant. All and all, Cetrella was a hit with our family and apparently everyone else in the city, too – this great restaurant was about the capacity, even on a weeknight.

Another fun place to eat in Half Moon Bay is Sam's Chowder House is in our hands lunch on the second day. This restaurant is fairly new just steps away and offers fantastic views of the bay. Our favorite topic: clam chowder.

Once you've purchased and eaten as you like, the next step is the exploration and that starts with the beaches of Half Moon Bay right. There are about 55 miles of beaches along of this part of the Coastside area – the area just on the west side of the mountains of San Francisco Bay cities – and it seemed a good number of them were right in Half Moon Bay. Take a path along the cliffs and then went another way that the level of beach, where wind on this day we had miles and miles of beaches ourselves. Indeed, with less wind more visitors now enjoy these wide, seemingly endless beaches.

Many state parks and trails coastal all varieties are found in almost all the communities along Highway 1. McNee Ranch State Park is one of 700 acres near Montara Mountain, which offers the Sea of Dreams and hillside views. San Pedro Valley County Park is a park of 1,150 acres in Pacifica that offers several short routes, scenic.

Ecotourism is big in this area a few minutes from downtown San Francisco and among the activities that made contact with his planet are the visits to the area of nature reserves and farms. Pillar Point Harbor, near the beach house, is a fishing port where you can interact with the fishermen and women and learn how to make a living by the sea. In fact, you can go fishing yourself one of the charter boats, or take a boat to see whales traveling to the Pacific coast from December to April.

And how's this for an option interesting: Spend part of your visit stay in a local family-owned farm where you can get a closer look at how farmers make their living from the soil or products animal. You can also visit a farm if you do not have time to stay. Phipps Ranch in Pescadero has over 100 varieties of organic vegetables, plants and herbs, while Harley Farms Goat Dairy has an edible flower garden, and visits to cheese-making room.

Addition Beach activities such as beachcombing and tide pooling, there are a couple of bird sanctuaries in the area. The Pescadero Marsh is where about 200 species of birds rest and feed each year and the trail leads along an old dike marshes offer some views. At Pillar Point, bird watchers have spotted a 20 percent of all species of North American birds such as herons, snowy egrets, loons and grebes.

Finally, be sure to visit the two historic lighthouses located along the coast. Lighthouse Point is in Montara and just off Highway 1 – despite keeping a watchful eye, or forget to find the detour. It was built for seafarers sometimes foggy San Francisco on the coast and goes back to 1875. The current 30-foot tower and lens have been in operation since 1928. The land is currently leased to the American Youth Hostel, Inc. and are open from 7:30 to 9:30 am and 5 pm to 9:30

Pigeon Point Lighthouse State Historic Park is located south Pescadero on the way to Santa Cruz. The lens of the lighthouse was lit for the first time in 1872 and this particular lighthouse is one of the two highest on the West Coast. The land is open every day from dawn to dusk, with guides and teachers available 10 am-4 pm weekends. There is a shelter in the lighthouse as well.


WHERE: Half Moon Bay is about 25 miles from San Francisco and access using the two-lane road driving along the Pacific coast or the Interstate 280 south of San Francisco and west motor last few miles down the road 92, a two-lane road. Half Moon Bay is very rural, probably because it has some coastal mountains separating it from San Francisco.

WHAT: Half Moon Bay is an ideal choice for a short break which offers a wide variety of accommodation good local restaurants, quaint shops, beaches and plenty of beach activities such as tide pooling and sea kayaking.

WHEN: Any time year. Package tours for winter, summer and sometimes even months are quite cold on the beach.

WHY: Lots of natural beauty that can be combined with visits to the city.

HOW: For more information about the Beach House, phone 800-315-9366 or visit www.beach For more information on Crescent Bay and eco tours of the area, visit or call 866-558-6823.

About the Author

Cary Ordway is a syndicated travel writer and president of Getaway Media Corp, which publishes websites focused on regional getaway travel. Among the sites currently offered by GMC are , covering California beach vacations and other Golden State destinations, and , covering Northwest travel .

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