|My photo here and below.|
photos via Eating Rome and also Northerncalstyle
|My photo here and below.|
photos via Eating Rome and also Northerncalstyle
Rarely does a getaway combine nature and luxury at the same time. Hiking seldom involves cocktails overlooking the beach after. Biking along the sea followed by a gourmet dinner isn’t the norm. However, that is the charm of The Ritz-Carlton at Half Moon Bay, which has the best of both worlds. You can commune with nature and feel pampered as well!
Half Moon Bay has been one of my favorite spots in Northern California for so many reasons. I love it’s wind-swept beaches with some of the most picturesque dunes and wide-open expanses. The tide pools of Fitzgerald Marine reserve here are the some of the best in the world. The biking and hiking paths meander for miles over charming bridges, beautiful fields, and around sand dunes and hidden beaches. The trees alone here charm me. The downtown is unspoiled and uncommercial, still a small sleepy beach town. I love it all. This is also home to Mavericks, location of one of the most famous big wave surfing events in the world.
This charming and romantic spot was a foggy Northern California beach town when the Ritz decided to build a world class resort around an historic golf course and nestle it’s property right on one of the prettiest coastal views anywhere. The Ritz here is a destination resort. You go to Half Moon Bay to get away from it all, and the resort coupled with nature is perfection.
The resort attracts a varied group. There are couples getting away for a few days, families hoping to enjoy some quality time with each other, as well as men on golf trips and women doing girlfriends spa getaways. You also get travelers from all over the world, who have heard of the charms of Half Moon Bay.
My husband and I got down here last in October, during the famous pumpkin festival. I loved how festive the resort was with pumpkins and gourds all over. We enjoyed lunch in the Conservatory, overlooking the ocean. It was one of the nicest days and I knew we had to come back and experience this spot as a family. Last week. during our boy’s winter break from school, was the perfect time.
Driving up to the Ritz, you get the feeling of being of being in Cape Cod.
Right away the loveliness of this resort surrounds you…
It’s designed like a East Coast shingle style beach home, which I love.
Inside it’s all whites and blues.
Cozy nooks to relax are by the many fireplaces.
There are several public rooms that open on to each other that have spots for reading or having a cocktail or cappuccino. It reminds me of the design of the Lodge at Pebble Beach in that way.
We were thrilled about our guest room, which looked over the Pacific and the 18th hole of the golf course. There was a balcony and quickly everyone got their relax on.
Case in point.
Our room was spacious and pretty. There were chairs and a table just right for activities. We really wanted a place to reconnect with the kids and brought cards and games. The hotel concierge has board games as well.
After we all kicked back a while, we explored the property and took in the ocean views.
We ended up at the indoor pool house. The very large pool was great for the kids to mess around. Max and I chilled in the jacuzzi, while we debated about cocktails by the fire pits after or before sunset.
Walking to the pool.
The Ocean Terrace, with fire pits, is popular for evening drinks or hot chocolates. Their bagpiper plays at sunset every evening. The sunset couldn’t have been more beautiful that night!
The Ocean Terrace is alfresco dining and it is open all day for drinks and light bites. The view is my favorite here looking towards a little hidden beach, and you can see golfers finishing their 18th.
When we came back to the room, the boys were excited to find the resort had left them a s’more kit for the fire pits after dinner! A quick dry off and we all headed to the terrace to watch the sunset….
Then to dinner at Navio, the resorts’ lovely main restaurant…
Dinner at Navio, was a treat. I loved the blues and ocean inspired hues. There is a real feeling of being on an elegant ocean liner, and even the ceiling is curved like a ships hull.
There was so much to choose from, seafood is the specialty and there were many interesting and unique dishes. The boys were excited when the chef, Kevin Tanaka, came out to chat and we got to learn more about some of the original creations on the menu.
Jackson, my gourmet had snapper, and it’s his new favorite. I had salmon from Scotland that was finished with a butternut squash and cocoa relish. It was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten! Max loved his butterfish. Griffin had the macaroni and cheese and chicken fingers that we all stole a bit of.
I also loved my market salad with it’s beets, goat cheese and pistachios. I believe this was one of the best meals we have ever had. The view of the ocean was the capper. I was happy to sit there with my champagne all evening if I could…However, the boys couldn’t wait to get out there and make s’mores.
Boys + fire+ sticks- Of course they loved it!!
We warmed ourselves by fire pit and made our gourmet s’mores. I have never tried this kit before, but will again! The homemade marshmallows and chocolate plus graham crackers crusted with sugar made for very decadent treat. You can purchase this kit at the Ritz.
I think you can see I couldn’t help myself! Thank goodness for the little wipes that come in the set!
We then took a morning stroll along the beach paths.
After our delicious breakfast, the boys did a special bike tour with the Ritz Kids program.
The winding trail that begins along the ocean here, goes as far as 5 miles into the town of Half Moon Bay, and beyond.
The boys went with Sean, a fun guys and great guide who took them for an hour and a half along the trail, across meadows and into the quaint town..
Sean took a pic of Griffin that he Instagramed. 🙂 They had a blast!
Bikes are available as well as segway tours for adults. The Ritz Kid program has special bike tours and fun activities geared to many ages. They have a kids night out program on Friday and Saturday nights, so parents can dine at Navio or try the wine bar, and have a relaxed evening, while children can get dinner and a movie with crafts. Kind of genius. You can read more about it here.
I was glad to know Jackson and Griffin weren’t too old, at 15 and 12, to do something like this and still have fun.
It was great to have some time to play tennis with just my husband and I on their courts.
We even took some time out to hang out on the Ocean Terrace and have our coffee with a view.
Next time, I think I would love to check out the beautiful spa and have a treatment for myself!
I also want to get to this hidden beach, that is to the front right of the resort…
Some other nice points at this beautiful hotel were the baths. Love the bathrooms! They are luxurious, spacious and have many spots for your toiletries. That isn’t always the case.
The products in the bath are Asprey from the U.K. These were totally new to me and I loved the whole mess. I’m especially crazy about the hair products of this Purple Water line.
I didn’t get a chance to see if they are sold on site. They are wonderful and I am hoarding the last bits at home now.
I also appreciated how they designed the room with pretty and roomy closets to store your luggage, jackets and shoes out of sight. So smart. Hotel rooms feel so much more spacious when you can walk about without tripping over someone’s bag or shoes, right?
After check-out, (I always hate that part), we popped over to downtown Half Moon Bay to check out some of the cute shops and grab lunch.
Downtown is home very good bakeries, home shops, a wine and cheese store, a cooking store and a cool spot called Earth Impact with all Earth friendly finds! Always excited to find stores like that.
These cool California cutting boards were at Abode. Also fun is The Half Moon Bay Wine & Cheese Company.
Colorful graphic aprons and more at this darling cooking store, Toque Blanche.
Some of my other favorite stops on the way in or out to the resort are Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, for tide pooling, The Waterfront Coastside Trail, for bikes or hikes, the Half Moon Bay State Beach for unmatched vistas, and Sam’s Chowder House, for world famous lobster rolls and a great beach scene.
You could easily spend a weekend or a week here, so many things to see and do along this coast!
We are all already talking about the next time we get to go back again.
Special thanks to Kaitlin Crawford of Ritz Half Moon Bay for making this trip possible and tailoring it to my family of four! Thanks also to the staff at Navio, and the chef Kevin Tanaka, who made our night. Last, but not least, the Ritz Kids program and Sean, who made some great memories for my boys. A media rate for accommodation was provided by the Ritz, but the experience and opinions are solely my own.
Photos all Northerncalstyle except for the top and bottom photos, courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton.
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.
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.
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!
I’m a native Northern Californian who lives for travel, books, fashion, and design. Exploring the joys of a greener life and showing the natural beauty of Northern California and it’s fabulous destinations are a few of my passions.