several weeks ago I stood beside my wife at the edge of the golf course in the cold wind. Wait for the pipers to appear as the waves hit the rocks below. What we’re missing is single malt whiskey.
No, we’re not in Scotland. We visited Half Moon Bay. It’s about 380 miles north of Los Angeles and just 30 miles south of San Francisco.
The city feels very distant from the two big cities. Thanks to the green and rugged hills. which are of modest size and measured walk rates within the city and in the city. While the number of weekend visitors and remote workers from San Francisco and Silicon Valley is on the rise. But Half Moon Bay is also a community rooted in agriculture. There is a pet food shop on Main Street. and the population has remained at about 11,000 over the past 20 years.
Oh, and that’s the Ritz-Carlton, about three miles south of downtown, where pipers are booked to play every sunset.
in other words If you visit You’ll find a coastline that feels like Scotland. (Especially in February) and a town reminiscent of Mayberry, the pretty neighborhood with the traffic lights from “The Andy Griffith Show.” Of course, it’s not that simple. But if you’re looking for a few days’ getaway between LA and SF heading in, this is a good place to start.
If you don’t start at the water’s edge You may head straight for Main Street. Which we did the next morning. There, just 100 steps from Half Moon Bay Feed & Fuel (established in 1911), you’ll find a few art galleries, a fine olive oil retailer, Barterra Winery tasting room and Garden Deli. A beloved Cafe where locals line up before opening time at 10am for fresh bread and sandwiches.
A block south in Mac Dutra Park on Main and Kelly Avenue, we found dozens of flowers with condolence messages in English, Chinese and Spanish, in the aftermath of the worst crime in Half Moon Bay. suffered in many years
late January The farm worker, who appeared angry at being bullied, charged $100 for damaging the forklift. He was accused of shooting and killing seven people at two mushroom farms. He later pleaded not guilty and a trial is pending. The death sparked a heated debate about the spread of mass shootings across the United States. and the hardship faced by farm workers in communities where a two-bedroom apartment rents for $3,000 and the median home value rises to $1.26 million.
after death Investigators found that the California Terra Garden, one of the filming locations, was With about 27 workers and their family members living in unlicensed conditions, California Terra Garden has vowed to build new housing with the right permits. But substandard farm worker housing remains a statewide problem. which is now exacerbated by winter floods.
We spend quiet moments in the garden with flowers and notes.
Later, we join several hikers on the 7.5-mile Half Moon Bay Coastside Trail, watching surfers surf and thinking about Mavericks, an offshore phenomenon near Pillar Point that depends on the tidal conditions at depending on tide conditions and not visible from the coastal highway.
Getting to Mavericks Beach is a bit tricky. (Read more about it.) But when the conditions are right. Surfers paddle a half mile beyond the beach to catch waves as high as 60 feet. A wave killed famed surfer Mark Fu in 1994, and its destructive power has inspired documentaries including Stacy Peralta’s “Riding Giants” and books like “The Voodoo Wave.” Mark Kreidler’s ”
Even if you never get your feet wet. But standing beside Pillar Point Harbor’s southern wharf is alluring. and watch the waves as the surf at Surfers Beach rise and break.
Afterwards, dine on seafood at Sam’s Chowder House, which features a large dining room and deck overlooking the waves. Your dietitian might not recommend the crab-stuffed, bacon-wrapped shrimp at Sam’s, but I do. It’s a riot of flavors at its finest.
Tourism heats up here in spring and summer. And traffic can be jammed during the weekend. just like autumn When the Half Moon Bay Arts and Pumpkin Festival ends with the pumpkin weighing in.
Since our visit, the storm has toppled trees and caused other damage to the area, briefly closing down California 92, possibly the busiest route in and out of the city. The path is open again But in the next few weeks You should check the Caltrans website for highway conditions before driving anywhere in Santa Cruz or San Mateo County.
Half Moon Bay may be a small town. and a slow city But it’s overweight — there’s more to explore (and eat) than most destinations. Sunday afternoon jazz at the Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society? Pint at Cameron’s Pub? we will be back soon