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Celebrate the Holidays in Half Moon Bay

November 20, 2016 by Mill Rose Inn

Celebrate the Holidays in Half Moon Bay


The start of the holiday season is a very special time, a time to give thanks and be merry. At the Mill Rose Inn of Half Moon Bay it is a time of transformation. With the addition of delightful European holiday decorations, the Inn offers a magical experience for all to enjoy. The feelings of love and warmth fill the Inn during November and December. Relax and be delighted by our magnificent Christmas Tree. Cozy up by one of our many fireplaces and indulge with a delicious beverage, hot chocolate, holiday cookies, and other tempting treats. Showers of tiny white lights adorn all interior rooms and the gardens. For your celebration of the season, even the individual guest rooms have a small decorated tree and stockings hung from the chimneys with care in hopes that your company soon will be there.


As December fills the air the Mill Rose Inn will warm you up as the holiday chill comes your way. Enjoy the many enchanting holiday decorations as the Mill Rose Inn of Half Moon Bay is magically transformed into the most perfect escape from urban congestion to a rural winter wonderland. Loaded with charm and relaxing clean, fresh air, and the ocean nearby, the Mill Rose provides true detox as well as a total mental work-break.

In December, the first Friday holds the annual ‘Night of Lights’, an old-fashioned holiday event in our historic Main-street downtown area. With a parade, tree lighting ceremony, shops, refreshments, and live music, it is fun for the entire family. Have a chance to do holiday shopping, cut down a Christmas tree, and take in a myriad of month long local activities. Dungeness Crab season opens mid-November and boats in Half Moon Bay Harbor are lit up with colorful Christmas lights. On December 15 in nearby Ano Nuevo in Pescadero are guided tours of Elephant seal activities are highly recommended.


Half Moon Bay Activities This Summer

April 17, 2015 by Mill Rose Inn

half moon bay activities

Photo Credit: Kim Steele/Digital Vision/Thinkstock

Now that spring is here and it’s time to start dreaming about your summer vacation, I’ll bet that Half Moon Bay is on your list of potential places to see. Northern California is the ideal place for a trip in the warm summer months as it never gets too hot, yet you can expect 80-degree temperatures accompanied by lots of sunshine. It’s perfect beach weather, and you’ll find many of those right here among the other Half Moon Bay activities waiting to be explored. Relax and enjoy a good book on the beach, or take an adventure in a kayak or even tackle the gnarly West Coast surfing.

This list of summertime Half Moon Bay activities will certainly tip the scales and have you California-bound for your next getaway.

Salmon Fishing

Pillar Point Harbor in Half Moon Bay is one of the biggest King Salmon fisheries in the whole world. With the season just vamping up, anglers can expect to take home their fair share of fish, weighing in anywhere between five and fifty pounds. There are numerous options for fishing charters, most of which leave early in the morning. If you’re looking for a cheaper, or perhaps more challenging day, consider renting a fishing kayak to paddle out and reel in your day’s catch.

Bach Summer Series

People from the Bay area to Silicon Valley look forward to the Bach Summer Series all year long, and it begins on May 31st! Taking place on Sunday afternoons, these concerts make for the perfect relaxing Sunday, post-brunch and just in time for evening cocktails. Just off Highway 1 in Half Moon Bay, with your general admission ticket you can look forward to a buffet and wine bar, or a picnic on Miramar Beach, where the series takes place. Make sure to bring layers, as you may get chilly while the day winds down.

Tour des Fleurs

Half Moon Bay is the perfect place to enjoy the spring and summer flowers, and on July 25th anyone will have the chance to go on this great flower tour around the city. Visit nurseries, farms, flower shops, and wineries and learn about what’s growing and how the experts are caring for their plants. Be sure to call ahead and make your reservations for the Tour des Fleurs!

Pescadero Arts & Fun Festival

Just north of Half Moon Bay in the town of Pescadero on the weekend of August 15th and 16th, this free festival will take place in their quaint, oceanside downtown area. Dubbed an “Old Fashioned Country Festival” it promotes local artists and raises funds to benefirt youth programs. You can look forward to vendors selling everything from fresh local food to handcrafted goods, live music, and many fun activities for the kids!


We have hardly scratched the surface of Half Moon Bay activities that you’ll have the chance to experience while visiting here this summer. Another great experience while here is a stay at the Mill Rose Inn located right downtown within walking distance of the town’s best shopping, dining and entertainment establishments. Book your trip now and see this beautiful Pacific coast gem for yourself!

Our Half Moon Bay Winery Preferences

March 26, 2015 by Mill Rose Inn

half moon bay winery

Thomas Fogarty Winery
Photo Credit: Naotake Murayama via Flickr

Northern California is known as wine country throughout the world. While Half Moon Bay isn’t in Napa Valley, there are many winemakers producing exceptional wines with grapes from the famed valley to the north. Being such a culinary centered town, every Half Moon Bay winery is a great addition to the food and beverage scene in the area, and make for great things to see while visiting the area. Whether you’re a wine connoisseur or just enjoy the occasional glass with dinner, you’ll enjoy exploring these small establishments and their great knowledge about the age old craft of making wines.

Here is a Half Moon Bay winery list that you should visit on your stay here at the Mill Rose Inn:

  1.  La Nebbia Winery
    Located in the hills of Half Moon Bay, the La Nebbia tasting room is open daily from 10 AM to 5 PM. A classic five wine flight is a mere ten dollars and comes with light snacks, as well as the complementary glass to take home. Guests are encouraged to bring a picnic and enjoy the beautiful outdoor area with bocce ball. If you would like to tour the winery you can do so by appointment only, so be sure to call ahead. La Nebbia has great events throughout the year, including Barrell to Bottle days when you can bring your own bottles and get them filled.
  2. Tojak – Knier Winery
    Started by two lifelong friends and wine lovers as a home wine making project, this winery has grown over the years to produce 350 cases annually. Located in a coastal warehouse, this Half Moon Bay winery is open for tastings every day from noon to 4:30 PM. While starting with Zinfandel and Cabernet, they now have numerous award-winning wines.
  3. Barterra Wines
    Started by an Italian immigrant who came to California to make a better life for himself, founder Bartholomew Colucci developed a number of award-winning wines that are only for purchase at this charming Half Moon Bay winery. Located right downtown, this is a great place to walk to from the Mill Rose Inn where you can enjoy wine tasting Thursday through Monday from 12:30 PM to 5:30 PM. If you like what you taste, your visit will be your only chance to purchase a bottle or case to take home with you.
  4. Thomas Fogarty Winery
    Located on the famous Skyline Ridge, this Half Moon Bay winery is both a beautiful place to visit and a chance to taste some of the area’s most unique and delectable wines. Having been the first people to plant Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in the Santa Cruz Mountains, founders Thomas Fogarty and Michael Martella are true pioneers in winemaking. Stop by their winery to taste on Mondays from noon to 4 PM and every other day from 11 AM to 5 PM.

Any Half Moon Bay winery is a great choice for an afternoon of enjoying the beautiful weather and views of the area. If you have limited experience in wine tasting, don’t be intimidated, these hospitable establishments will teach you the ins and outs of a new travel pastime.

The Half Moon Bay Flower Market: A Thing of Beauty

March 12, 2015 by Mill Rose Inn

half moon bay flower market

Photo Credit: anskuw/iStock/Thinkstock

Half Moon Bay is more than its cliffs sweeping out to see, it’s rolling hills to the east and its miles of Northern California beaches, but it’s a unique coastal community whose sense of place is as beautiful as its natural landscape. The annual events that celebrate the town’s culture, history and beauty are chances to appreciate all that this corner of the coast has to offer. Weekly events are similarly great times to grasp what makes this oceanside have different. Every third Saturday of the month locals from around the Bay Area head to the Half Moon Bay Flower Market where they appreciate the community and it’s small businesses by purchasing beautiful and locally grown flowers and plants of all kinds.

The market is open every month except for October when the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival takes over town. November through April, it is held indoors at La Piazza and May through September the Half Moon Bay Flower Market can be found at the intersection of Main Street and Kelley Avenue. It runs from 9 AM to 3 PM, and when the farmer’s market is happening simultaneously there is a hayride shuttle that transports patrons between the two free of charge. The market typically has live music, and oftentimes live art as the downtown mural is repainted frequently.

The Half Moon Bay Flower Market is a great family outing where people are united around a love for beauty and a creative eye. A purchase at this market is more than just a chance to bring home beautiful flowers, but it’s a boost to the local economy and chance to enhance the community by interacting directly with local growers. As farmers now move beyond the popular flora of roses and chrysanthemums and incorporate a diversity of native plants that capture the spirit of the land in every bouquet, you also have the chance to learn about the area’s natural history from the people who have been working on on the land the longest.

Winter holidays are a great time to visit the Half Moon Bay Flower Market with vendors making themed crafts and bouquets with their bounty. Before thanksgiving you’ll find tall colored grasses that can be piled in tall vases to give your home a harvest feel. The market will be stocked with fall colors and pre-arranged centerpieces for your parties. Christmastime is beautiful with evergreen bouquets that will make your home smell like a Christmas tree, and wreaths and bows and all varieties for that will put a lively touch in your decorating. It’s inspiring to see how growers are more than their green thumbs, but they are artists at taking what was once wild, reforming it into another beautiful thing.

There’s not better view or smell in the area than a stroll through the Half Moon Bay Flower Market. If you are yourself a connoisseur of flowers and their various arrangements then you’ll love our rose-themed rooms and garden at the Mill Rose Inn, located right downtown in Half Moon Bay.

Our 8 Favorite Half Moon Bay Shops

February 26, 2015 by Mill Rose Inn

half moon bay shops

The Bay Area has long been known for being on the frontier of culture, which includes its retail sector. Though the small coastal town of Half Moon Bay is a few miles south of San Francisco, its landscape can be expected to be just as exciting and progressive. You’ll find world-class cuisine from many different ethnicities, award-winning bed and breakfasts and, of course, a vibrant shopping climate, making it the perfect place for vacation or even a day trip.  If you’re staying with us at the Mill Rose Inn the best thing about Half Moon Bay shops is that they are within walking distance, making your excursion all the more convenient and enjoyable.

Here are 8 of our favorite Half Moon Bay shops:

  1. Savvy Skirts is a fun, eclectic clothing and accessories store for women. This shop supports local artisans and entrepreneurs and carries a wide selection of products made for women by women.
  2. Toque Blanche is the ultimate cooking store for the home chef. As the Bay Area is known for its culinary scene, you can be sure that this great kitchen store sells only the best in cooking tools.
  3. The Half Moon Bay Wine & Cheese Company is one of the most necessary establishments in town. Their selection of California and international wines and cheeses is the subject of many foodie dreams. If you’re planning on spending time at any of the Half Moon Bay beaches, you definitely want to make a stop here on the way.
  4. For a taste of the California surf, head over to Mavericks surf shop, which belongs to one of the town’s most legendary surfers, Jeff Clark. Whether you’re interested in taking a lesson or not, this is one of the Half Moon Bay shops that will give you some great insight into the town’s culture.
  5. The Bay Book Company is a one-stop shop for a great read and a quality imported cigar. Depending on your tastes, this could also be a great place to stop by on your way to the beach or one of the many beach-side patio bars.
  6. Fengari is the local fiber arts store selling only the best in quality yarns and knit products. If this is a hobby you enjoy, get ready to be inspired.
  7. The Posh Moon is a boutique carrying only unique brands and styles. It was recently voted the Best Place to Buy Clothing on the Coast.
  8. Rouge Boutique is another great shop for rare finds in women’s clothing and accessories, music, men’s shirts and humorous gifts.

If you’re heading to this charming Northern California coastal town in the near future, no matter your motivation, be it surfing, hiking or just straight relaxing, you’ll enjoy exploring a few of these Half Moon Bay shops. The experience of staying right downtown at the Mill Rose Inn with the ability to walk to all these great shops and the town’s wonderful restaurants is unmatched. You’ll love your downtown Half Moon Bay experience, no matter the time of year or the reason for your visit.

Ponder the Ocean’s Expanse at Poplar Beach in Half Moon Bay

February 20, 2015 by Mill Rose Inn

Poplar Beach in Half Moon Bay

Photo Credit: Xiaodong Ye/iStock/Thinkstock

Half Moon Bay has the quintessential Northern California coastline of bluffs, cliffs, and beautiful, yet cold waters. Unlike some of the area’s other popular beaches Poplar Beach in Half Moon Bay is off the beaten path, making it a nice alternative to the more populous spots. Located in a residential neighborhood, it’s easy to get to while being just enough out of the way, and without free parking, that it is typically a quiet beach.

This is one of the best places to experience the whole Half Moon Bay. As you look out from Poplar Beach you’ll see cliffs to both North and South as the horseshoe shape of the bay curves in around you. To the north, you’ll see Pillar Point Harbor, with Mavericks out to sea from there. There is no view that compares to it on the West Coast, so be sure to appreciate it while there.

There are more advantages to this beach than its habit of being sparsely populated. Poplar Beach in Half Moon Bay is the only dog-friendly beach in the area, attracting dog lovers and their furry friends who love to splash after sticks or balls in the waves. If you’re interested in taking a long walk with your pooch this is the perfect destination, as the bluff above the beach is home to a leg of Half Moon Bay’s Coastal Trail. This great recreational trail stretches most of the length of the town and is a great place to get some exercise.

If you’re into bird-watching this Poplar Beach bluff has been known as an exceptional place to sight rare and large birds. Hawks are frequently seen nonchalantly perched on the railing at the edge of the bluff, probably stalking prey on the beach below. Bring your binoculars for other potential wildlife sightings. This is a great vantage from which to spot whales out at sea as well.

While Poplar Beach in Half Moon Bay is in a quieter part of town is its still just half a mile down the coast from the Half Moon Bay State Beach where many of the area’s popular restaurants are, including the pier where you can buy fish fresh off the boat. You walk up the beach to get to the bustle of Half Moon Bay’s coastal attractions, or take the Coastside Trail if walking in the sand isn’t your thing.

If you’re looking for a truly unique beach experience Poplar Beach in Half Moon Bay is frequented by seasoned equestrians and beach trail rides. Check in with the Sea Horse Ranch to see about available trail rides and pricing. This is a fun way to explore the Bay, and you don’t need to have any experience to have a great time.

If you’re looking for the perfect Northern California vacation any time of year, the Mill Rose Inn offers the perfect small town retreat. Located right downtown by all the best restaurants and shops in this charming beach town, you’ll love our Victorian style rooms, famous gardens and gourmet breakfasts.

The Ritz-Carlton’s Oceanside Half Moon Bay Golf Course

February 13, 2015 by Mill Rose Inn

half moon bay golf course

Photo Credit: Can Balcioglu/iStock/Thinkstock

If you’ve ever experienced golfing on the Pacific Coast cliffs then you probably have an idea of the breathtaking views at a Half Moon Bay golf course. The Half Moon Bay Golf Links at the Ritz-Carlton resort are some of the country’s premier courses for both quality and beauty. The Golf Links offer 36 holes of bliss with some of the best hospitality around. San Francisco and Silicon Valley residents who love to golf will frequently make the trip to play these legendary courses.

If you love to golf but want to get a feel for the town of Half Moon Bay then you ought to stay at the Mill Rose Inn, located right downtown. Offering luxurious accommodations in a reasonable price range, this is definitely the place for you. Mill Rose guests are frequently in town just to play this regal course, and enjoy the California coastal town experience offered by staying downtown as opposed to at the more remotely located Ritz.

As some of Northern California’s only luxury golf courses, the Half Moon Bay Golf Links attract avid golfers from around the world. They are a treat for anyone who loves the game as they pay homage to its heritage while embracing the new technologies. The blufftop landscape is surrounded by cypress trees and the thick morning fog offer unique challenges to the competitors who walk these greens.

If you love playing new courses than tackling this Half Moon Bay golf course pair is definitely for you. The Ritz-Carlton’s two 18 hole courses are both equally renowned in the Bay Area and nationally, and offer their own unique landscapes and challenges. The Ocean Course is more on par with the fast fairways and greens of modern links while the Old Course is more akin to the traditional parkland style of true Scottish links. Both are equally beautiful and enjoyable.

If you are planning a trip to Half Moon Bay to do some golfing, rest assured that there are plenty of other things to keep you, or the family, busy on your stay. From a myriad of outdoor adventures, to numerous gorgeous Northern California coastal sites to witness, this is a great vacation destination. If you enjoy other outdoor activities like hiking, biking, boating or fishing after a game of golf, you’ll find no shortage of options in this part of California. Both San Francisco and Silicon Valley are within an hour drive from Half Moon Bay and make for easy day trips on which you can experience the Northern California urban life.

Don’t miss an opportunity of a lifetime at a Half Moon Bay golf course. Either of these Ritz-Carlton courses will be a treat to any golf-lover. If you are a beginner you can rent clubs there,  sign up for a lesson and take advantage of the short game practice facility. After your round check out some of the Half Moon Bay restaurants or Pillar Point. Be sure to book your stay at the Mill Rose Inn and your tee times soon for your epic golf getaway.

A Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip is a Once in a Lifetime Experience!

February 5, 2015 by Mill Rose Inn

Pacific Coast Highway road trip


The California Pacific Coast Highway has long been reputed as one of the most scenic drives, or rides, in the whole United States. Stretching from the Northern California border with Oregon down to San Diego, there are few routes more beautiful and, at times, frightening. Hugging the coastal cliffs that are often blanketed in fog, the drive can sometimes be unnerving, but worth it for every corner you swing around only to have a new breathtaking view down the coast, so similar yet so unlike the one that came before it. Whether you head from north to south or vice versa here are some places to see on your Pacific Coast Highway road trip.

San Francisco

The northernmost big coastal city in the state, San Francisco is known as the City of Seven Hills, and can be quite the workout to walk around. That said there are so many great places throughout its beautiful neighborhoods that you don’t want to miss on your epic road trip. The Presidio, the Golden Gate Bridge, Chinatown, Fisherman’s Wharf and the old cable cars are the typical places to visit. For something a little different, head to the mission and explore the more alternative part of the city with a visit to Tartine.

Half Moon Bay

Just down the coast from San Francisco, this quaint coastal town is home to the luxurious Mill Rose Inn, situated right downtown where you’ll find great shops and restaurants serving only the finest local California foods. Half Moon Bay is known for being the home of one of the world’s biggest surf contest, Mavericks, as well as its simple charm, quiet coastal life, and great places to hiking and biking.


Home to the famed Monterey Bay Aquarium, this coastal town was inspiration for many of John Steinbeck’s books. Point Lobos State Natural Reserve is a great place for a hike, or explore the old Cannery Row, the scenic 17 Mile Drive or head over to the neighboring village Carmel-by-the-Sea to do some shopping.

Big Sur

One of the most famous National Parks in the country, Big Sur has earned its name. Home to one of the tallest single span bridges in the world, the Bixby Bridge, it is full of numerous photographic opportunities. This rural mountain community is full of great little hippy hangouts like the hot spring pools.

San Simeon

This sleepy little coastal town is a great resting place as well as home to Moonstone Beach and the Pidras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery, and Cambria Village. The most famous sight in the area is the Enchanted Hill, which is home to the famous Hearst Castle, a 250,000 acre mansion.


Don’t forget to pack lots of snacks for your Pacific Coast Highway road trip, along with great tunes, maps, and a list of great car games to play. Be sure to book your stay at the Mill Rose Inn for your stop through Half Moon Bay. This trip down the California Coast is an experience like nothing else, and is absolutely worth considering the next time you are planning a vacation.

The Moss Beach Distillery Offers Relaxed Dining in a Beautiful Setting

January 19, 2015 by Mill Rose Inn

Moss Beach Distillery

Moss Beach Distillery / Photo By Tony Chang via Flick

Along the cliffs of the San Mateo coast, you’ll find a multitude of dining options, but none so pleasing as the relaxed atmosphere and unmatched view found at the Moss Beach Distillery. Not only is this one of the best places to dine in the area – located directly north of Half Moon Bay – but it also has a rich history dating back to the Prohibition Era and is known to be one of the most haunted properties around. If you’re visiting the area this will be one of the best meals you can get both for the quality of the food and the ease of the experience. It’s a quick drive from Mill Rose Inn located in downtown Half Moon Bay.

Moss Beach Distillery Food

The Moss Beach Distillery has a variety of menus with the ability to meet the desires of all their customers. Whether you’re just popping in for a drink and a snack at the bar, a full dinner or Sunday brunch, you won’t be disappointed by the delectable options here. Their menu is certainly coastal fare serving delicious renditions on chowders, oysters, and fish tacos, but you’ll find plenty of options if seafood isn’t your favorite. There is also an extensive kids menu if you’ve got the little ones in tow. Their cocktail, wine and beer menus are impressive serving things from local producers and famous importers alike. If you want to bring your dogs along for a sit on the pooch-friendly patio the kitchen even has a menu for them!

Ocean View Patio

Moss Beach Distillery is known to be one of the best happy hours on the coast, and not just for its half-price drinks, but because of its stunning views. This is a favorite among dog owners, as well as those seeking renowned views of the San Mateo coastline. Known as Seal Cove Patio, the view overlooks the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve and is one of the best places to watch the sunset. The patio is a relaxed experience, offering a full self-service bar menu, and is first come first serve. It’s just a great place to kick back and breathe in that salty Pacific air.

“Frank’s Place” History & “The Blue Lady”

The site of the Moss Beach Distillery was built in 1927 and was known as “Frank’s Place”, named for the owner who was a black market business man making a killing on illegally importing alcohol from Canada during the prohibition. Boats would pull up onto the beach below and crates of bottles were carried up the precarious cliffs to be distributed up and down the coast. Left from these days of mystery is a reported ghost known as “the Blue Lady”.


While in Half Moon Bay we certainly recommend a trip to the Moss Beach Distillery. Whether you’re just looking for a great happy hour special or a wonderful meal out with your sweetheart, it comes highly recommended. If exceptional food is something you look for in a vacation then you’ll love staying at the Mill Rose Inn bed and breakfast. We’ll make sure your days starts gourmet and see to it that you hit all the best restaurants around.


There are Several Excellent Restaurants in Half Moon Bay CA

December 29, 2014 by Mill Rose Inn

restaurants in half moon bay ca

Sam’s Chowder House / Photo By Ben Husmann via Flickr

It’s that time of year again. Either you are traveling to this beautiful California coastal town, or you’re relatives are coming to see you. Whichever boat you find yourself in this holiday season a list of the best restaurants in Half Moon Bay CA will be a handy thing to have around. Despite our small size, this quaint town has some world class menus that are all-around palate pleasers. Whether you’re in the mood for a hearty american pub-style meal, a fresh dish form the sea, or a homey Mediterranean food you’ll find what you’re looking for here.


The fisherman gave our lovely little half-moon-shaped bay its name. To this day Half Moon Bay has a harbor where restaurants and locals buy fish right off the boat. Barabara’s Fishtrap is a local favorite and is perched right on the coast with beautiful views out over the Pacific and delicious, local food. Sam’s Chowder House  serves more than just chowders, but a myriad of other great fish dishes. If you want to experience the bustle of the Pillar Point fish market, head to Princeton Seafood where you can buy fresh fish and dine-in. Don’t forget Sushi Main Street for a classic sushi night out and their great sake list.


Cetrella Bistro is an award-winning restaurant known for its great classic food menu, classy California wine list, delicious cocktails and live music. For an authentic Mediterranean experience head to Cafe Gibraltar for great food and a great view. This is a Michelin recommended spot with the highest Zagat rating in San Mateo County. For a trip through Tuscany you should try It’s Italia where you can enjoy their charming courtyard patio. Pasta Moon will serve you farm-to-table comfort dishes and leaving you feeling just right.

Comfort Food

If you’re in the mood for some good old American comfort food you’ll be able to find it among the restaurants in Half Moon Bay CA. You can always depend on the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company for a great, homey meal and a delicious pint of their craft beer. You won’t mind their oceanside patio either. If you’re a coffee lover then head over to Half Moon bay Coffee Co. for a classic cup of joe and wonderful basked goods. Flavor, a wonderful restaurant with a lounge feel to it, serves delicious coastal classics, and will surely warm your belly after a day on the water.


The spectacular thing about our little coastal town – besides the views – is that it has numerous nationally recognized establishments that will make you feel like your sitting in a fancy San Francisco restaurant. Restaurants in Half Moon Bay CA follow the California standard of focusing on local farm-to-table, or in this case sea-to-table, options that will leave you feeling not only satisfied, but connected to the land and its people. You’d be hard pressed to find a spot you don’t love among our many dining choices. Visitors will be impressed and leave feeling like they got an authentic West Coast experience. If you’re planning on staying at the Mill Rose Inn, many of these options are also within walking distance!