Saturday, October 12, 2013

Day Trip- Top Things to Do in Half Moon Bay!

Here in Northern California a trip to Half Moon Bay to pick pumpkins is a fall ritual for many people. Half Moon Bay is a beautiful coastal town about 25 miles South of San Francisco that is also famous for it's wholesale nurseries, beaches and charming town.

We took a quick jaunt over there last week to have lunch at the gorgeous Ritz-Carlton there. It was such a sunny day and nary a jacket was needed, which was unusual for the Northern California coast.

The Ritz embraces it's town's pumpkin fame with it's liberal use of gorgeous gourds all over it's hotel.

We had a lovely lunch overlooking the ocean. You can have a window seat at their cozy banquettes or get cozy by one of the fires. Food was amazing. Many of the dishes incorporate pumpkin. I had yummy English pea ravioli. Max had a burger. Don't miss their fries! Presentation and service wonderful.

There is also a fabulous lawn overlooking the sea and golf-course, where you can grab an Adirondack chair and have a Pimm's cup (yes, they have them here!) or a cappuccino and a snack.

The particular day we were there, small ones were running about while moms sat on picnic blankets with champagne and chatted. The dads perhaps were golfing? Anyhow, wish I'd done something similar while my kids were young.

The hotel is just lovely and seems family friendly, but very luxurious. I haven't had a chance to stay here yet..Maybe another post soon? I hope. However, it's a wonderful stop when you are out here for the day and even on a foggy day would be fabulous for a cozy lunch by one of their fires...

There is a famous spa which has many pumpkin-themed treatments and luxe products. The autumn feeling is a given if you are here at this time of year. Maybe the moms get spa treatments after the men finish golf? Sounds like a good plan to me!

We love to take a walk to the left of the grounds along the golf course and down to one of the gorgeous beaches right there.

I always have to stop at the Half Moon Bay Nursery when this way, to putter about it's huge grounds and see what I could bring home. This place goes forever with one rickety green house after another filled with the most amazing plants, pots and a few cats..

I love their potted plants that they put together, This time I bought ivy for indoors and a few beautiful pumpkins and gourds.

They have a way of arranging things that is so gorgeous. How beautiful is this? Love the the ivy witch topiary!

Max has to usually drag me out of here.. Did I mention they have some wonderful olive trees, hydrangeas and oh my goodness the succulents? I do love the boxwood area...

If you get an opportunity to visit Half Moon Bay, there is so much to do.

Some of my favorites are:

Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival Held this year the week of October 19-20, this huge and historic event attract growers from all over California with it's contest for the largest pumpkin. Last year's winner was a 1,775 pound pumpkin! Pumpkin carving, eating, pumpkin foods are all part of the fun. Check out the link for details.

Fitzgerald Marine Reserve Lovely spot to tide pool and have a picnic. Make sure to check the tides before you go. Low tide is optimum for spotting anemones and starfish! There is also a short hiking trail here if you are so inclined with sweeping views.

San Gregorio This beach is about one mile South of Half Moon Bay and a popular spot for painters. Just a mile inland from the beach, on highway 84, is the town and the San Gregorio General Store. This spot is the definition of funky! In business since 1889, they sell books, clothes, groceries and all around cool stuff. It's a huge place where a live band is usually playing on a weekend afternoon. You can grab an ice cream bar or get a sasparilla, hot chocolate or a beer at the bar. It's fun stop on the way out of the beach communities here and a gorgeous drive on 84 back to the inland.

Via Pinterest

Sam's Chowder House is another must do when in this area. It was voted by the Today show for having one of the best 5 sandwiches in America- it's lobster roll. It's as good as they say and the clam chowder is also awesome. We like to come here after a wind-swept beach walk to get warm and watch the ocean birds from the windows. You can also sit outside if you want. They have a darling little souvenir shop with the usual shells and more.

Also close by is Mavericks, the famous surfing spot, which you may know about from the films Riding Giants and Chasing Mavericks. It's on the North part of town, by Princeton-by-the Sea. Mavericks is usually held during the winter and the surfing site is actually far off the beach, but it's cool to check it out and the surfing if you are here.

Marvereicks via Surfer magazine

Half Moon Bay Hiking Trail is one of my favorite hikes. It's a 6 mile flat path along the ocean and along some gorgeous scenery. You can spot the snowy plovers here, cross creeks and see some gorgeous flowers and beaches.

These picture are from a post Christmas walk on the Half Moon Bay Trail. Griffin making his mark above and  the boys liked climbing the crazy cypress trees.

One thing I highly recommend for this area is layers. Days can start out cool and foggy and get quite warm and also the opposite! Northern California coastal temps often change 30 degrees in a day. That's how they sell a lot of sweatshirts here! (Can you tell I have a lot of layers on here in December?)

This is only a smattering of all there is to do in this gorgeous area of Northern California! A super day trip or a weekend spot.

I wish you a wonderful fall weekend!


P.S. The blog is a bit under construction right now while I try out a new look, so bare with me while I get it together. Hopefully, it will be complete and pretty soon!

All opinions are my own and this is not a promoted post!


  1. Kim, I would love to live where you live! This is the most splendid post about pumpkins, the nursery, the beach, the hotel and the boys. Good job!!

  2. Oh, now I'm ready for a day trip to Half Moon Bay! Beautiful pics!

  3. Jeepers Kim, such a beautiful post. I would love an afternoon at the Ritz, straight into the spa, naturally.
    We don't big pumpkin fairs like these, I'm inspired and will definitely start growing pumpkins again next year.
    Love the ivy and of course Miss WitchyPoo at the nursery.
    Mavericks looks amazing. I am chomping at the bit to go surfing in the new year but I think those waves may be a little too big for me.
    Wonderful stuff Kim, I feel like I've been on vacation!
    Happy Sunday.

    1. Gee Paul thanks a ton..Yes, Mavericks may be a bit big. :D I'll send you to Santa Cruz first. Can't wait to see if you grow pumpkins. I bet they'd be beautiful! xo

  4. Hi Kim! we didn't stop at half Moon Bay when we visited last year. Next time, we will stop there and have some Pimm's at the Ritz. Those views are spectacular.

    1. Pam, Yes, worth a stop next time! With Pimms even better!

  5. Such great pics Kim!! Half Moon Bay is a gorgeous spot.. it's been WAY too long since we've visited. The Ritz is amazing!! and I love their fall decor. Everything looks so cozy and it looks like you had some fall weather too! Happy Sunday! xxleslie

    1. Leslie, We are getting some colors, but nothing as lush as up in Washington! Yes doesn't the Ritz do such a good job? Love that place. xx

  6. Wow! I've never seen so many pumpkins in one place (I've never seen a place like this in the UK). The Ritz Carlton is always welcoming wherever you visit them. You live in such a beautiful part of the world and so close to one of my favorite cities of all-San Fran ;-)
    Have a lovely week Sweets and thank you for your lovely comments over at mine xx

    1. Vanessa, Thanks so much! Yes, guess pumpkins are really a American thing, but I didn't know it! Hope you get to visit SF soon again! xx

  7. Hi Kim!
    Just catching up after another whirlwind weekend. Your photos are so gorgeous! That pumpkin patch-colors are so saturated. Your lunch looks delicious in such a perfect spot. I'm loving this tradition for your family. Yes, perhaps a stay at the Ritz but first, we have the Hotel Monaco. :) So excited for our upcoming city fun. Thanks for your sweet comments on Stylemindchic. Means so much to me.
    xx, Heather

  8. Love the name and love all the pumpkins! Want to visit! Xxxx

  9. I love this post and your blog. I'm from Mendocino County so it's fun seeing all your Nor Cal photos. Great site


  10. Just catching up on your blog after my holiday. What a great post - the first photo in particular is amazing as I've never seen such a variety of pumpkins before - all those autumnal colours together. The hotel is so beautifully decorated - so understated and classy as you would expect from this chain. We stayed in the Ritz Carlton in Dubai a few years ago and we still talk about it. The ivy witch topiary is so cute and I think it would be hard to drag me out of there too!

  11. Great post. I've got to come back to it to soak everything up. Great new look.

  12. I just came across your blog and love it! I am a new blogger focusing on northern california as well! Keep on postin the beauty of this wild coast :))

  13. OMG this post Is beyond AMAZING:) love your blog

    Check out my new blog post and....

    have a lovely day dear

    LOVE Maria at inredningsvis - inredning it's, Swedish for decor :)