After our dazzling adventure in Half Moon Bay Saturday, we headed down Highway 1 to Santa Cruz. We did not stop in Pescadero for artichoke anything, and we did not stop at Pigeon Point to look for whales, and we did not stop to watch the kite surfers — we just wanted to get to the beach.
We tried out Natural Bridges but it was a bit nippy so we ended up at the boardwalk — it’s a bit more inside the bay so more sheltered and warmer. Oddly, this is the first time Chad and I have set up camp on the boardwalk beach together.
We ate, then went for a stroll down the boardwalk. It was insanely crowded and took us ages to get to the far end.
Then we decided to go ahead and walk out to the end of the pier.
We saw a rockabilly beach wedding and battling sea lions and an awesomely cool X-wing kite.
By the time we started walking back, the sun was already setting.
Our beach blankie was practically the only thing left — everyone had packed up and gone home already.
We watched the sun set over the parking lot from the beginning of Lost Boys.
Then we headed downtown.
Saturday we went on a date day down the coast [I know, I know, you’re all shocked]. We used our new Fastrak gadget [a debit thingy that allows you to zip through the toll lines at the bridges here] on the San Mateo Bridge for the first time, then sat in lots of traffic going over the peninsula hills because it was Saturday and gorgeous out and who wouldn’t want to go to the ocean. I mean, really, this is why we all live in California.
Our friend George had a gig at a café in Half Moon Bay that we tried to catch but we were late because of the traffic and me screaming STOP HERE!!!! when I spotted the BERRIES 99¢ sign at the honey + produce stand.
99¢ is a third what blackberries and blueberries cost over on our side of the bay and corn was 10/$1 so you’d better believe we stocked up. In case you didn’t hear me, that’s TEN CENTS FOR AN ENTIRE EAR OF CORN.
And there was lots of local honey.
When we got downtown, George was already headed out, so we said hi then picked up some picnic provisions at the deli and did a little window shopping on Main Street. I loved this under the sea wedding cake:
While Chad was picking out cheese, I ran across the street for a fix at The Posh Moon, which is a lovely little boutique run by a seriously francophilic [?] mother and daughter and is wall-to-wall floor-to-ceiling romantic neutral bohemian etc. clothing and accessories and some housewares, many of which are made by locals — I’m just in love with this girl Effie’s line that they carry. Anyway. It is the sweetest place and I just love walking in there. I bought a green silk summer blouse and a tiny pewter blowfish made by an artist in Rhode Island — I’ll try to take a picture of it later because it’s about the cutest little figurine ever.
I snapped a shot of their ribbon flower hair clips as a reminder, there’s an excellent book at our library about making these and it’s something I keep meaning to do. But you should go buy some, they’re very affordable.
I shall return with part two of our day.
Carmel was lovely lovely lovely. LOVELY! Chad was more relaxed that I’ve seen him in years. Seriously. The boy is always worrying about this or that he has to do. He swam with me and smiled at me and kissed me all weekend and was generally sweet and calm and happy.
So we took this last-minute overnight trip to Monterey. We drove down 101, which goes through farmland and took a break at Mission San Juan Bautista [the climax of Vertigo takes place here] and saw more than a few hens and chicks and roosters and a wedding. We arrived at our cute little cabin —
An aside here, if you are going to be in the Monterey-Carmel-Big Sur area, you could do a lot worse than staying at the Carmel River Inn. It is not super fancy but it is the cutest little green cabins with cut-out shutters and they are very reasonably priced — ours was $110 for a summer Saturday night, which is chump change in that area. There are lots of flowers and frogs and crickets and the staff is nice and it’s a short drive from anything you want to do.
— which turned out to be the one I have been eyeing since the first time we went there, it is the most removed and sits at the edge of a field and has an enclosed patio and gets great light. We took a swim — it was a hot day but the water felt nice and warm — then we went down to Carmel Beach [white sand, pale blue-green water, very sexy!] to watch the sunset and another wedding. That’s *the* Lone Cypress out there on the point.
We tried to go to Vivolo’s for dinner — they have the most amazing clam chowder — but they close whenever they feel like it, which that night was just as we arrived, so we went to a BBQ joint and I ate SO. MUCH. MEAT. Then went back to our cabin for some stargazing from the hammock out back and went to bed early.
Saturday morning we woke up super-early — very unlike us, we can barely drag ourselves out of bed before check-out — and I went for a swim, then made a quick stop in Carmel-by-the-Sea to stop by the Cottage of Sweets, home of the World of Licorice, because we needed to stock up.
We had breakfast at Toastie’s in Pacific Grove and there was some kind of bicycling extravaganza that started with a race between a hundred or so children, followed by grown people doing a zillion laps around downtown for the rest of the day.
We headed over to Cannery Row in Monterey [yes, the Steinbeck one] to find the sea glass beach I’d read about. Turns out there is a little public access beach right in the middle, it’s a sweet little yellow-sand cove with tidepools, and on the south/east end there are quite a few tiny bits of sea glass.
I met a woman from Arizona who was just beside herself with glee over this. I wanted bigger pieces so Chad and I ventured underneath the boardwalk — you can clamber over the old pieces of older iterations of the boardwalk, rusty old pipes and hunks of ancient concrete, almost all the way down to the aquarium. It was very dark under there but I found a few larger pieces of glass and gave the biggest to the Arizona lady since she doesn’t have her own ocean to explore whenever she feels like it.
We drove down Sunset, which goes around the point at the end of Monterey past a bunch of tidepools and a golf course and an old lighthouse, and stopped at Asilomar State Beach [check out the Julia Morgan Architecture just over the dunes]. Asilomar is another of those white sand, pale blue-green water beaches like Carmel. We had an hour or so of sun before the fog rolled in and lolled in the sand and it was really, really, really nice. Just super.
Chad went in the 55° water because he is crazy. We went for a walk almost all the way down to the next beach over, which is along 17-Mile Drive and a hop-skip from Pebble Beach Of Golf Fame.
We got a ticket because there is a sign that says “no parking between this and the next sign” then there is another sign five feet away but I guess that is not the next sign they mean.
We had ice cream at this wacky little parlor that is covered floor-to-ceiling with Beatles collectibles. We stopped in Castroville, home of the Giant Artichoke, on the way home and got the most amazing food, which is deep fried artichokes. Seriously good stuff. It was a very good weekend.
I am still working on the photos but most of them are up here.
Musical accompaniment: Tinashe – Zambezi (Fool’s Gold Remix)
Summer is obviously coming, a bunch of my friends are posting open road-type photos. I am working every day and it’s going to be ages before I get out like that, so I am living vicariously.
by Kevin Collins, one of flickr’s finest and an island neighbor of mine.
by Gordon Edgar, author of Cheesemonger: A Life on the Wedge, which you should check out.
by harpy, queen of the polaroid and all things summer.
Write-up forthcoming…how are you doing?
We went to see our friend George and his friend Lisa play in Half Moon Bay yesterday, sat and crafted and enjoyed the music and ate, then walked down Main Street [it’s a total little tourist town over on the coast, everything is kind of unnecessary and charming]. THEN we went to this artist enclave where Lisa’s dad rents a space to write in, it is this crazy set of wooden buildings the one guy started 40 years ago right on the shore, I have some photos that I will get around to. Really cool though. I daydream about the kind of life where people are always inviting me places like that. Oh, there are some photos here [the Miramar beach entries].
I’ve been doing more New Orleans photos. According to my widget, it is 227 days since we came back.
This was the 25th. Two days before we left. I went for a photo walk with Gary. We drove out to St. Bernard Parish for these ridiculous po-boys [and Neapolitan cheesecake SAY WHAT!] while Chad and D went to the aquarium. A storm was coming in and blowing the signs sideways. There’s a really long stretch of the St. Bernard Highway where most everything is abandoned, malls with grass growing in the parking lot and marquees touting something that never happened from years ago. While everyone else went to the zoo, I rode up in the glass elevators then took the streetcar up to the end of the line then caught a bus across town ALL BY MYSELF and thrifted a little and sat in a café. Then headed over to meet everyone for sno-balls. We had dinner at the tiki place my sister recommended and it was delicious. Walked around the French Quarter some more. THEN went swing dancing at the rock ‘n’ bowl.
That chandelier’s in the bathroom at the rock ‘n’ bowl. That place was so awesome, I would totally hang out there all the time, there’s a bar and bowling and a live band and all kinds of retro goodnesss and people who dance and don’t give a shit about it. People are not like that so much here. The lack of self-consciousness is probably what I liked best about the people there.
Anyway. There are more photos from that day. I just have the 26th and the piddly bits of the 27th before we went to the airport and then I am done. Which means it’s time to go back. I miss it a lot.
I finished sorting through the photos from our date day at the pumpkin farm. Here are some of my favorites:
I love the handmade signs along Highway 1 advertising this farm or that.
Arata’s Farm has been in the pumpkin business since 1932. They have a really big hay labyrinth and you can wander around the grounds admiring all the corn and pumpkins. It’s very picturesque.
I don’t know what these pumpkins are called. They make me think of Cinderella’s carriage, and the color changes from grey to blue to green as you move around. The owner told us they are the best for making pumpkin pie — they’re orange inside. I picked one out to bring home but haven’t cut it open yet.
This is mine. Is it not the best pumpkin ever?
Pumpkins come in all sizes!
Do people still call this Indian corn? Is there a more PC name for it? Native American corn? The colors are amazing. We bought some tiny ones to bring home for the mantle.
I came very close to bringing this one home, too. But I only need so many pumpkins.
Chad of the Corn!
This made me think of me and Chad. That’s me on the left.
We went on our quasi-weekly date yesterday. It was supposed to be very cold [mid-60s!] but ended up warmer, we went to Half Moon Bay, which is across the bay and over the hills of the San Francisco Peninsula.
Half Moon Bay is the local pumpkin capital, this weekend is the annual Pumpkin Festival. I haven’t actually been to that one, it’s enough of a nightmare driving down that one little road that goes over there on a normal weekend without adding in tens of thousands of families who want to see record-breakingly large pumpkins.
It is perfectly fine going over there on a Thursday in early October. There are enough people doing the same that the numerous pumpkin patches and all the corn mazes are open but you are not spending an hour in traffic to go three miles.
Once in Half Moon Bay, we stopped at my favorite bakery for a carrot cake mini-bundt then headed further south to Arata’s Pumpkin Farm where we wandered around the corn fields and admired pumpkins and took photos. I picked out a Cinderella-style flattish green-blueish pumpkin and Chad got some mini-gourds and Indian corn. The owner told us we can put it in a bag when we’re done and stick it in the microwave and it’ll pop.
Next stop was Pescadero for the Arcangeli market’s amazing artichoke garlic bread [note to self for next time: buy a couple of the par-baked loaves to bring home because HOLY CHEESE, THAT IS SOME GOOD BREAD] and a little salami, then we popped over to Harley Farms to gorge ourselves on samples and buy some goat cheese to go with the bread. It was the end of the day for them and we were the only ones there, the owner and another woman were happily chatting in the back the whole time we were snacking then popped out exactly when we were ready to go.
I wanted to go sit in the cemetery but Chad has a thing about that so instead we continued driving down that little road that goes the other way from the highway, thinking we’d find a little place to sit down, but it quickly turned into shoulderless hillside and we drove all the way over to San Gregorio and the beach was right there, so that’s where we ate.
Then we sat admiring the ocean, which was that perfect silvery-blue with the sunlight reflecting a huge swath of gold down the middle, until Chad had to head back for his tennis class.