Thursday, January 31, 2008

Pescadero

Where the sea meets the grass. That's a way to describe Pescadero, a quaint small coastal town surrounded by pastures and green hills. Amazingly enough, Pescadero benefits from a sunny micro-climate allowing the presence of berry fields during the summer at Phipps Ranch.

Just an hour south of San Francisco along a stretch of sandy shores and big waves, Pescadero is in the middle of nowhere. Literally. Up north the closest village is San Gregorio, then Half Moon Bay. Down south, it's Santa Cruz with nothing much in between. Once you reach Pescadero State Beach, make a left on the only road. It'll take you to downtown Pescadero.


While food options are not plentiful, they are nevertheless worth the trip. During summer time, the country store grills all sorts of meats on its outdoor barbecue, which you can then enjoy on the big lawn or picnic tables. If you fancy a cosy nook in a family restaurant, Duarte's Tavern has got to be your choice. Known for its artichoke-dishes, Duarte's serves a wonderful cioppino and casual comfort food. It's great for the kids and they sure won't mind if you're slightly noisy or squiggly.


If you have time, there are cute little antique and thrift shops right next to both places just on the same block. Once you're ready to hit the road, continue on Stage Road until you hit a sign with a goat and a little girl. That's where you want to make a right. All of a sudden, you'll notice the painted wooden houses, big yards, the funny lighthouse looking bed and breakfast and you'll feel miles away from city life.


Take in the slow pace, walk if you want and you'll soon reach Harley's Goat Farm. This place has got to serve one of the freshest goat cheeses of the Bay Area. The cheese and soap selection is displayed in the basement of a white-washed barn, while the groovy upstairs room can be rented out for parties and was featured in Sunset magazine last year. Not only is the flower cheese delicious but it is the prettiest thing ever with its flower patterns on top. For animal lovers, you need only step outside to say hi to the chickens and goats in the back. They're not shy and obviously love company. They might even try to jump the fence in front of you, in which case you have to go inside the barn and warn that there's a runaway goat!

A little further when Stage Road meets Pescadero Road, Phipps Ranch provides another type of country escape, particularly interesting if you're a bean lover. These guys carry over 75 different varieties of quality heirloom beans and each time we go there, we stock up on beans for chilis, cassoulets and the like. During the summer months, you'll meet families coming for the pick-your-own berries (strawberries, olaliberries and boysenberries) on the weekend. Young children will enjoy a funky nursery, a variety of farm animals (mostly of the flying kind) and lots of fluffy bunnies.


On your way back to the Bay Area and if it's a gloomy day, stop for a drink at the San Gregorio General Store. This place is amazing. Part saloon, part bookshop, part coffeeshop, part general store, it's all wooden floors, kick-back tables and new-agey feeling. Plus, they feature live music every single weekend so you might need to come back for a late brunch another time.

1 comment:

Ricky Peterson said...

Very informative post. People who are very fond of domestic animals specially goats should definitely visit the famous Harley Farm. You can have the delicious cheese and learn the mthods to make it. The goats graze the verdant pastoral lands especially planted for that purpose. There are lots of attractions to look for in this farm. For more details refer Harley Farms Pescadero