DAY TRIP :: HALF MOON BAY TO PIE RANCH

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After you read this, I will know what you will be doing next third Saturday of the month. Namely you will be driving the Highway One south; stopping for incredible beaches and ocean views at Half Moon Bay, award-winning goat cheese at Harley Farms in Pescadero and best potluck dinner plus a crazy good square dance party at the Pie Ranch. This is what we have done on the third Saturday in July. First let’s clarify why on the third Saturday. Our primary destination was the Pie Ranch directly on Highway One. The folks over at the Pie Ranch love good, organic, local food and they love gathering people together on every third Saturday to join for a big poluck dinner with following square dance jamboree in a real barn! And let me say, it was one of the best events we have ever attended. So mark this date in your calenders and let’s go back to beginning of the trip.

Our journey begun in San Francisco by picking-up our friends. This time we didn’t take any provisions for the trip itself only a trunk full of food for the potluck dinner. It was way too much, but we wanted to make a good impression. I think it worked. So we fastened our seat belts, turned the music on and hit the road to Half Moon Bay. It’s about 40min drive south from SF on the Highway One. Passing by the cute Pacifica and farms – with the ocean always on your side.

Half Moon Bay is one of these small, dreamy, coastal towns with a Main Street where you can find everything you need. From your friendly bakery to a old fashioned tailor with pop ups of good selected design shops and wine bars. It became my favorite quick-escape-from-the-city destination.
Although we just had a breakfast we couldn’t resist to get some pasties from the Half Moon Bay Bakery. They have dangerously good baked goods and bracing normal prices compared to San Francisco. Favorite: Dounut with maple glaze and bacon. We strolled the whole Main St. while sipping on cafe latte and making stops in small stores. It was so relaxing. Some of my shopping favorites:
Abode : natural, unique pieces for you home
Half Moon Bay Wine & Cheese : no explanation needed
Toque Blanche : everything for the cook in you.
Oddyssea : succulents, old school games, things I haven’t seen before and some other stuff.
And as for the food, honestly I haven’t tried that many food spots in Half Moon Bay, only Barbara’s Fish Trap and I can definitely recommend grabbing some clam chowder or fish and chips and enjoying it outside with the view of the Marina. After you are done strolling, it’s time to go to the beach. And the Half Moon Bay Beach is one of me most beautiful and calm beaches I have ever seen. It’s never really crowded and it seams you have miles for yourself. The best way to access the beach is to drive the Poplar St. towards the ocean. So don’t miss it, make a pit-stop in Half Moon Bay and if you want to learn more about HMB and its locals, I recommend check out the Project “Meet the Moon” and “The Ultimate Local’s Guide to Half Moon Bay” by lovely photographer Simone-Anne.

Pescadero is a small, or even a mini town with lush fruit and vegetable fields and an award-winning goat cheese farm. It’s definitely worth the detour inland to enjoy some art galleries, thrift stores and incredibly delicious fruit stand where I bought tomatoes and strawberries of my life.
And of course the stop at the Harley Farms. I cannot stop thinking about that goat cheese; the honey-lavender chevre, the cranberry-walnut round or the garlic-herb fromage blanc. It’s a paradise for every goat cheese lover. Even the exterior and the interior of the farm are so adorable. You can also have a tour. Good to know, they deliver to your home! One thing I would love to try at Harley Farm is their farm-to-table dinner at the restored, victorian hayloft. We were able to have a peek into the loft and it’s amazing. If you are interested too, click here for more details and schedule. Now it’s time to go to the Pie Ranch.

It’s time to eat and dance! We were a little bit early so it didn’t look like there will be many people attending the potluck dinner and the square dance. Think again. In the next 30 minutes the potluck table was full of delicious home made meals – somebody even brought two crates of fresh strawberries. Yes! Oh boy, I get hungry while I’m typing this. Our contribution was this super easy eggplant caponata from The Kitch and this spinach rolls. Give it a try, they are both easy to make. So after eating and chit-chatting with other Pie Ranch lovers the square dance fun started at 7pm. And it was really fun! Three hours of non-stop dancing; I don’t have to mention it was my first time, so not every step looked well accomplished, but nobody matters, it’s all about having fun and jumping around. I can highly recommend adding this to your #fallbucketlist. And if you are interested in helping out on the ranch, you can do this too, on their monthly work day. Read a little bit more about Pie Ranch and what they do here and here, because they are a really cool people striving to provide us with more local, sustainable food. The guidelines for the potluck dinner are here. So if you don’t know what to do on a third Saturday of each month this is your plan. I would love to hear, is this how you could spent your Saturday?

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6 Responses
  • From Foothills to Fog
    September 26, 2013

    You always have the best ideas for activities around the bay area! I just love your posts, beautiful pictures and fun places to visit. Thank you :) I’ll add this to my list of things to do for sure!

    • Ana Kamin
      September 30, 2013

      So glad that you like it Theresa and that you find inspiration for your Bay Area Travels. :)

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  • Kat Walks
    October 11, 2013

    oh mann, ich will auch!!!

    • Ana Kamin
      October 29, 2013

      Du bist doch die ganze Zeit unterwegs! :)