Half Moon Bay offers a delicious pumpkin paradise

Pandemic restrictions and varying comfort levels have left many of us holiday-proof a bit this year. If you fancy enjoying those beautiful fall days away from home, can we suggest a day trip to the Bay Area?

The seaside town of Half Moon Bay – or Coastside, if you’re a local – promises seafood bites, pumpkins, and adventures your choice. Knowing how to navigate is the first step.

“There are two types of people who visit the coast – those who turn left and those who turn right,” says Colleen Henney, owner of the recently opened Jupiter & Main store downtown, describing the point where Route 92 meets the Pacific Coast Highway. .

Coastside offers two distinct areas: Princeton-by-the-Sea Harbor – turn right! – and the historic city center which welcomes turners on the left. The funny reality is that you can go all over the place, hitting the gems that are in any direction. So here’s what awaits you, from coastal paths to restaurants, distilleries, golden gourds and new hot spots.

Sea and land adventures

If you’ve chosen the ‘turn right’ option to head north on Highway 1, you’ll head to Pillar Point, where a sandy cove is home to two public piers and a bustling fishing industry – and them. seafood lovers who flock to the harbor to buy fresh fish on the boats or soup to enjoy now.

You’ll find an abundance of seafood-focused places to savor, including the venerable Ketch Joanne Restaurant and Harbor Bar at 17 Johnson Pier, where an old-fashioned menu offers eight variations on the fish and chips theme. Barbara’s Fishtrap, another local landmark right next door, offers take-out with ocean views. The Old Princeton Landing Public House & Grill – OPL in Coastsiders – is just around the corner. The OPL menu is slightly tropical and there is live music almost every weekend, with surprise guests every now and then (Neil Young!). Don’t miss the ever popular and perpetually crowded Sam’s Chowder House on Highway 1.

In Half Moon Bay, Farmer John’s and neighboring Andreotti Farms offer a one-stop-shop to browse for U-pick pumpkins and sunflowers. (Courtesy of Amber Turpin)

If you’re looking for pumpkins rather than chowder, you’ll find several farms teeming with fall goodies along this stretch. Nearby Farmer John’s and Andreotti Farms offer a one-stop shop for U-Pick pumpkins and sunflowers. (The hugely popular Arata Pumpkin Farm, established in 1932 and home to the legendary Minotaur Labyrinth hay maze, is across town.)

And if you’re still hungry, but not in a chowder state of mind, head to The Barn, a charming rustic stopover for artisan burgers, milkshakes, espressos, and fresh pies.

Details: Ketch Joanne opens at 11 a.m. weekdays, 8:30 a.m. weekends at 17 Johnson Pier; www.ketchjoannerestaurantharborbar.com. Barbara’s Fishtrap opens at 11 a.m. daily at 281 Capistrano Road; www.barbarasfishtrap.com. Old Princeton Landing opens at 11 a.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. Friday through Sunday at 460 Capistrano Road; www.oplhmb.com. And Sam’s Chowder House, at 4210 Highway 1, opens 11:30 am weekdays, 10:30 am weekends; www.samschowderhouse.com.

Find Farmer John’s (from 9 am daily) at 850 Highway 1, www.farmerjohnspumpkins.com; Andreotti Family Farm (10 a.m.) at 800 Highway 1, www.andreottifamilyfarms.com; and Arata’s Pumpkin Farm (9 a.m.) at 185 Verde Road, www.aratasfarm.com.

The barn opens at 11 am from Wednesday to Sunday at 3068, highway 1; www.thebarnhmb.com

The barn offers artisan burgers and pies in a rustic setting. (Courtesy of Amber Turpin)

New hot spots

Plump pumpkins are a definite draw, but it’s worth the walk to explore some of the new or lesser-known places in Half Moon Bay. You’ll find several in the quieter side streets of the Warehouse and Junkyard, where two distilleries have set up within a mile of the tourist link near the port.

Half Moon Bay Distillery – and its coastal vodka and gin – have been in the spirits scene since 2014. Now they’ve been joined by the new Jettywave Distillery, which opened in January. Perched on lovely landscaped corner grounds, the stylish Jettywave captivates with its outdoor seating and Swell Lounge menu of creative and vintage cocktails, kid-friendly lemonade and tasty bites from the Cafe’s former chef. Gibraltar, Jose Luis Ugalde. (An indoor tasting bar is slated to open by the end of the year.)

Kitty corner of here, Moon Mother’s Nursery offers a sweet escape to a green world of air plants, garden art and… more pumpkin stuff.

Details: Half Moon Bay Distillery opens at 11 am on weekends only at 103 Harvard Ave .; www.hmbdistillery.com. Jettywave opens at 3 p.m. on Fridays, at noon on weekends at 155 Broadway; www.jettywave.com. Moon Mother’s Nursery opens at 10 am Thursday through Sunday at 401 Prospect Way; www.moonmothersnursery.com.

Downtown attractions

Other temptations can be found along Main Street in the charming downtown area of ​​the city where the ‘turn left! Crowd gathers. Coleen and Kevin Henney’s Jupiter & Main is a hip mercantile and apothecary shop filled with a selection of things you never thought you needed, but now must have – plaid blankets, retro camp style plates , field guides, soaps, shaving brushes and more.

Don’t miss Gulino Gelato, Jean Paul Gulino’s pocket-sized scoop shop, which opened in 2019 and has already exceeded its space. (A larger location with expanded offerings will be available soon.)

And that little red caboose nearby is neither under the radar nor new, but definitely worth a visit. It’s Dad’s Luncheonette, where Chef Scott Clark (Michelin-starred Season) prepares delicious roadside dishes.

Details: Downtown, Jupiter & Main opens daily at 10 a.m. at 432-B Main St .; www.jupiterandmain.com. Gulino Gelato opens at 11 am Thursday through Sunday at 643 Main Street, Suite 6; www.gulinogelato.com. And Papa’s Luncheonette opens at 11 am Thursday through Sunday at 225 Highway 1; www.dadsluncheonette.com.

Coastal pleasure

Anyone fancy some time alone these days? At the southern end of town, perched on the edge of a cliff, the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay offers a classic resort feel, with soft colors and clear views of the crashing waves below. A stay here is, of course, madness (room rates start at $ 800), but you can enjoy some of the luxury amenities without reserving a room – a spa day pass ($ 100 for non-guests), for example, provides access to the hotel’s sauna, steam room, tub and other spa facilities for a day of relaxation.

And one perk is free: the coastal path that borders the property is open to the public, with coastal access parking on the south side of the complex and 25 spaces in the complex’s garage. And if you happen to jog near sunset, you’ll get a front row view of a bagpiper gracing the day’s outing.

Details: Find details about the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay, its rooms, spa and Navio Restaurant at 1 Miramontes Point Road, www.ritzcarlton.com.

About Thomas Thorton

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