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Category Archives: Outdoor Adventures

Buy Local at Half Moon Bay Farms

March 20, 2015 by Mill Rose Inn

half moon bay farms

Photo Credit: Catalin Petolea/iStock/Thinkstock

While many attribute the local food movement to west coast cities like San Franciso, these movements wouldn’t exist without their agricultural periphery – towns like Half Moon Bay. Home to many farms and a culture that embraces eating local meat, produce and dairy, this small coastal town is a haven for fresh farm products. Half Moon Bay farms are selling all the sustenance you need, giving residents the option to truly be living off their neighbor’s land.

Experiencing this unique aspect of the community is one of the many things that draws visitors to the area. If the local food movement is something you’re interested in or passionate about, consider coming to visit some Half Moon Bay farms and the eating at the restaurants they supply, including the Mill Rose Inn. These are some of the places you definitely want to check out in the area.

Potrero Nuevo Farm

This charming farm just a mile inland from the Pacific Coast in the Tunitas Creek Valley of Half Moon Bay is not simply a beautiful spot to visit, but is inspiring as well. Committed to ecological land management, sustainable agriculture, and accessible food, this unique 300-acre farm is doing things right. Through crop rotation and cover cropping, their land stays healthy without the use of chemicals. Devoted to their local community they host a U-Pick Club for local families, and frequently offer farm tours for groups. Growing 40 crops throughout the season, they also raise chickens who help to increase the land’s fertility, as well as produce eggs for sale.

Arata’s Pumpkin Farm

Arguably the most famous among the Half Moon Bay Farms, and a tourist attraction in itself, Arata’s Pumpkin Farm is a staple in this coastal town. Specializing in, you guessed it, pumpkins, this isn’t exactly the place you’ll be headed to pick up your weekly veggie order, but nevertheless encompasses the farm-life culture of the area. A harvest season attraction and home to many Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival events, Arata’s is worth the trip if you like corn mazes and hay rides for some fall fun.

Repetto’s Greenhouse Florist

Another great opportunity to support Half Moon Bay farms is through your home decor budget. If you love to have fresh flowers at home every week or they’re your favorite kind of gift to send, then you’ll love Repetto’s and their spectacular assortment of year-round fresh cut flowers and exotic arrangement options. Whether it’s a special occasion or just time to rotate that mantelpiece, you’ll love shopping at their gorgeous store.

Coastside Farmers’ Market

If you want a more comprehensive picture of the region’s farm scene, then stop by Coastside Farmers’ Market on Saturdays from 9AM to 1PM May through December. Carrying everything from local cheeses and preserves to grass fed beef, and more fresh produce than you can imagine, this is a foodie’s dream. Voted the Best Farmers’ Market in the Bay Area, you’ll be in for a real treat, and can even pick up some gifts to bring home with you.

Exploring Half Moon Bay farms is a great activity when you’re in the area, as you’ll not only see a great, down-to-earth economy, but meet the exceptional people who are devoted to running it.

Take a Half Moon Bay Kayak Trip

December 22, 2014 by Mill Rose Inn

Half Moon Bay Kayak

Half Moon Bay Kayaks / Photo By John K via Flickr

The most quintessential way to see our little California Bay on the sea-side of the San Francisco Bay Peninsula is to take a Half Moon Bay Kayak Trip. If you want to see the entire coastline from the water, then a leisurely paddle along the shore is a great way to do it. This is ecotourism at its best!

You’ll be shocked by the famed rocky cliffs of the Pacific coast when you see them from just a few feet above the water’s surface. The mountains that run lengthwise down the peninsula, dividing the small coastal towns from the busy world of Silicon Valley and blanketed in redwood and eucalyptus groves are similarly breathtaking. The sandy beaches running along the coast are great resting points during your trip on the high seas. You’ll get the chance to glimpse wildlife like sea otters and whales. There are also miles of salt marshes in the area to kayak through for a more mellow trip.

Here are some local Half Moon Bay Kayak companies where you can rent equipment and sign up for tours.

Half Moon Bay Kayak Company

This company boasts numerous great trips, including team building trips for an out-of-office adventure. At very descent prices you can be outfitted with all the equipment you need and led over varying waters to explore Half Moon Bay. Sign up for an easy coastal paddle, or explore the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve – one of the most diverse ecosystems on the entire West Coast. Famous for being the safest harbor in the United States Pillar Point by sea kayak is another favorite tour. They also offer two different full moon paddles, one of which includes a stop for dinner. Or end a day of sightseeing with a lovely sunset paddle.

If you like fishing from a sea kayak then be sure to pack your fishing gear because this is your spot. You can rent a Cobra kayak with fishing rod holders. If you’re a competitor you should definitely come in July for the Nor Cal Kayak Angler’s Half Moon Bay fishing derby.

California Canoe and Kayak

Another local favorite and one of California’s oldest paddlesports company, California Canoe and Kayak will provide a great Half Moon Bay experience. Not only do they offer numerous rental options – including tandems! – and tour choices, but they also offer numerous sea kayaking classes. If you’re considering planning a long kayak trip this is a great opportunity to start studying up on this great sport. You can start with a beginners course and work your way up.

Getting our for a Half Moon bay kayak trip is worth very minute. The great thing about the above companies is that they offer multiple paddlesport equipment and tours so you can continue your sea adventures. If you’re staying with us here at the Mill Rose Inn this is a great daytime activity that will leave you ready for a meal at one of our great local restaurants. You’ll sleep well after a few hours out on the water!

 

 

Devil’s Slide Trail Isn’t So Scary Anymore

September 29, 2014 by Mill Rose Inn

Devil's Slide TrailTake in the beauty of the great outdoors at the new and improved Devil’s Slide Trail located between the cities of Pacifica and Montara.  About 20 minutes south of San Francisco, this 1.3 mile trail opened this past March with freshly paved walking and biking trails safe for pedestrians and bikers.  Visitors to the area can overlook picturesque views of the Pacific Ocean while either riding or walking and without the worry of cars flying by.  The Devil’s Slide Trail is a segment of the California Coast Trail that will eventually allow visitors to enjoy 11 miles of the coast from Mori Point to Pillar Point.

Highway 1 was transformed from a highway to a trail because of how impractical and dangerous the road was for drivers.  The road was often the site of car accidents, landslides and was sometimes closed.  Devil’s Slide was originally named for its narrow and twisting road that tightly hugged the mountainside.  The drive was a nightmare for travelers and commuters and was extremely unsafe.  It took about one year to complete the 2 million dollar construction which included paving the area and including parking, public restrooms at both ends and three overlooks.  The trail includes 12 benches great for enjoying a picnic lunch or for taking in the sights of the marine life below like dolphins and seals.  Panels can be found along the way to educate visitors on the history of the area.  The panels also include information on the plant and animal life that flourish in the area.  The Devil’s Slide Trail is perfect for biking and walking.  There are two six foot bike lanes and a 12 foot pedestrian lane with three foot concrete barriers along the side.  The trail will also be wheelchair accessible with the exception of one part in the middle where assistance might be needed because of the steep part of the road.

The only downside to the trail is the lack of pedestrian routes to the trailhead since it was made out of Highway 1.  A narrow shoulderless stretch of highway gives access to the trail.  On weekends, a free shuttle runs once an hour from Pacifica State Beach or the Sam Trans Route 17 bus stops at the trailhead.  The parking lot opens at 8:00am and the park closes at different times depending on the season.  Dogs are allowed on the trails if they are kept on a leash.  It is also not uncommon to see horses on the trails since the trail is also shared with equestrians.

After an exhausting day spent exploring the trail, find the perfect room to unwind at Mill Rose Inn.  Mill Rose Inn is a Four Diamond AAA award-winning bed and breakfast in Half Moon Bay.  The Inn is the ultimate in pampering as its spacious rooms, elegant décor and lush gardens set the tone for a most relaxing retreat.  A gourmet breakfast of fresh juices, French pastries, omelets and homemade breads is served each morning.  Even though the B&B is tucked away, it is still within walking distance of many of Half Moon Bay’s galleries and restaurants.

Photo courtesy of Daniel Clanon

Explore the Half Moon Bay Coastal Trail

September 17, 2014 by Mill Rose Inn

Half Moon Bay Coastal TrailBy foot or by bike, spend the day exploring the Half Moon Bay Coastal Trail.  Family members of all ages will enjoy the ease of the flat paths and the amazing views at the stops along the way.  The trail is 11.5 miles long and can easily take a half of a day to complete.  The trail opens up to bluff side benches for watching the ocean waves and has access to great State beaches for quick dips in the sea.  Experience a morning or afternoon on the trail and uncover all the beauty of Half Moon Bay.

The summer months are the busiest times to visit the trail as the paths can become crowded.  The spring, fall and winter seasons seem to have fewer visitors and the weather is more likely to cooperate. Any season and any time of year, the Half Moon Bay Coastal trail is the ideal day trip when visiting the area.  Layered clothing is recommended as the ocean breeze can create cooler conditions depending on the time of day.  Half of the paths along the trail are paved with the other half consisting of dirt.  Despite the terrain, they still create a great ride for biking, running or walking.  The paths are dog friendly and even horses can be seen on the dirt paths.  The trails can become clouded with fog on many days but when the fog clears, the paths are perfect for meandering and taking in all the views.

There are spots to have lunch or drinks along the way, or bring a picnic to enjoy on the beach.  The end of one path will lead you to a ride through the beautifully manicured Ritz Carlton property and the trail runs adjacent to the golf course.  For stunning views of the ocean coast and an easy walk, the Half Moon Bay Coastal trail creates quite the experience.  There are many places to begin the journey.  The entry at the end of Poplar Avenue has access to the beach where dogs are allowed.  When walking the trails versus biking, begin at Francis Beach.  If biking first, begin at Magellan Road.  Other points of interest along the trail are the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company, Moss Beach Park and Half Moon Bay Harbor where fresh fish and crab can be purchased right from the boats depending on time of year.

Half Moon Bay, California is home to the award-winning B&B by the sea, The Mill Rose Inn.  The Inn is not only close to shops and dining, it is situated right on the ocean.  This beautiful and elegant bed and breakfast with its antiques and lavish décor, will have you feeling relaxed and ready to unwind.  There are six guest suites complete with private entrance and filled with items like a stocked refrigerator and Japanese dressing robes.  A gourmet breakfast is served each morning with items including French pastries, homemade breads, omelets, fruit and fresh squeezed juices.  After breakfast, take a stroll in the lush gardens filled with hundreds of roses and tropical flowers.  When booking your stay, there is a 20% discount for same-day reservations.  Room availability and nightly rate can be found on their website.

Photo courtesy of Tracy Vierra

Huddart Park Hiking Trails

August 20, 2014 by Mill Rose Inn

Huddart ParkDue to the mild year-round temperatures and varied landscapes, the Half Moon Bay area is a popular destination for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. There are countless places to enjoy the natural world near the Mill Rose Inn. From miles of sandy beaches, to redwood lined paths, you’ll find that San Mateo county has many striking backdrops for endeavors such as hiking. Huddart Park in nearby Woodside, CA is a wonderful place to explore the trails and get in tune with the natural wonder that is the Pacific Coast of California. Here is a bit of what you can expect when you visit Huddart Park.

 

The Environment of Huddart Park

Huddart Park in San Mateo County, CA encompasses over 900 acres of land which includes several different ecological features. Most of the park is covered by a mixed evergreen forest of douglas fir, laurel, and oak trees. This forest is bordered by coastal mountain and chaparral regions. The evergreen forest is home to black-tailed deer, squirrels, raccoons and a variety of birds. The coastal mountain environment has streams and gullies shaded by the famous redwoods of the region along with a variety of other leafy plants such as ferns, creating a cooler environment. The park also includes chaparral areas populated by shrubs like chaparral pea, yerba santa and manzanita. The wildlife in this region includes brush bunnies, jackrabits, chipmunks, and lizards. Finally, the lower end of the park is a foothill woodland with large oak and bay trees.

 

Huddart Park Hiking

Huddart Park Hiking trails have varied lengths and degrees of difficulty, allowing you to customize your hiking experience. The Crystal Springs Trail is the only trail that goes from the top of the mountain to the bottom. It has a gravel surface and is fairly challenging at 4 miles long. The Dean Trail connects to many of the other park trails, making it a great place to base your hike around. For an easy hike that will take you through each of the ecosystems mentioned above, try the .7-mile-long Chickadee Nature Trail that is mostly level. From there you can also connect to the Redwood Nature Trail, which is partially paved and features markers for plants.

 

Other Activities at Huddart Park

In addition to hiking, many of the trails in Huddart Park are open for equestrian use. If you feel like just kicking back and enjoying the beautiful surroundings in the park, there is ample space for that as well. There is a grassy meadow that is popular for picnicking, games, and just relaxing. Picnic areas and shelters with tables are also available for use within the park.

 

 

When making your plans to visit Huddart Park, booking a stay at our Half Moon Bay bed and breakfast will provide you with a fantastic getaway experience. Our elegant and comfortable rooms and suites are the ideal place to retire after a day out on the trails. If your muscles are sore after hiking, you can schedule a massage or a soak in our garden jacuzzi. And our full gourmet breakfasts each morning will have you fueled up and ready to take on whatever the day has in store for you. We can’t wait to see you soon!

Photo courtesy Miguel Vieira.

Visit Beautiful Crystal Springs Reservoir

August 3, 2014 by Mill Rose Inn

Crystal Springs ReservoirThere is seemingly no end to California’s natural beauty. The varied landscapes of the state the Mill Rose Inn calls home is indeed wondrous to behold. One point of interest you may be inclined to visit during your stay at our Half Moon Bay bed and breakfast is Crystal Springs Reservoir. Activities such as nature observation, hiking and more are popular endeavors at Crystal Springs Reservoir. Read on to find out the potential fun you can have if you choose to visit.

 

 

History

Crystal Springs Reservoir is actually a pair of artificially created lakes in San Mateo County. Upper Crystal Springs Reservoir in the south was formed first when construction caused an earthen dam to collapse and joined Laguna Creek and Laguna Grande. The Lower Crystal Springs Reservoir was created when Crystal Springs Dam was constructed. The two reservoirs were connected in 1924. After passing from owner to owner, Crystal Springs Reservoir is no the property of the city of San Francisco, and for safety reasons is not open to the public.

 

Crystal Springs Park

Just because the reservoir itself is not open for boating, swimming and the like, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the beauty of the area and surrounding forests and ecosystems. Crystal Springs Park is a county park located between San Bruno and Woodside, California. It has recreation areas, hiking trails, and an abundance of beautiful plants and wildlife to observe.

 

Flora and Fauna

Crystal Springs Reservoir contains several environments for important local animals and plants to thrive. Several endangered plant species grow around the reservoire such as Marin Dwarf Flax, San Mateo thornmint, and San Mateo Woolly Sunflower. Two notable residents of the area are a pair of Bald eagles who built a nest there in 2012.

 

Hiking

Crystal Springs Reservoir is home to the Crystal Springs Regional Trail, which is separated into three connecting segments. The San Andreas Segment has a paved portion that is often used by bicycle riders, but the lower part is gravel so if you want to hike without worrying about cyclist, this might be a good option for you. The Sawyer Camp Segment is probably the most well known of the trail segments, and is therefore the most frequently hiked. Sawyer Camp is paved and has lanes for two way traffic. Jogging, cycling, walking, and horseback riding are popular on the trail and it is also handicap accessible. The Crystal Springs Segment is a bit more remote, but no less enjoyable. It passes several points of interest including the Phleger Estate, Edgewood County Park, Pulgas Water Temple, and the Filoli Center. Hikers, joggers and equestrians have access to this trail.

 

When planning your activities for your visit to Crystal Springs Reservoir, be sure to book your stay at the Mill Rose Inn. You can continue to enjoy the wonders of nature in our gorgeous gardens and relax in our lushly decorated guest rooms and suites. After an active day, you can book a massage or a soak in our garden jacuzzi. The Mill Rose Inn is the ideal place to pamper yourself while surrounded by the natural beauty of San Mateo County. We hope to see you soon!

 

 

Photo courtesy Marc Smith.

Windy Hill Open Space Preserve

July 28, 2014 by Mill Rose Inn

Windy Hill Open Space PreserveThe state of California is full of many wonders. From white sandy beaches to snow caped mountains, California is a place where you can do everything in one trip. Snow skiing, white water rafting, and surfing, are just a few of the amazing things to do. When you come to stay with us at Mill Rose Inn, you will have the opportunity to explore one of the many gems that the beautiful state offers, the Windy Hill Open Space Preserve. What does this preserve offer you might ask? Well, we have written a brief overview of what the Windy Hill Open Space Preserve is and what it has to offer you!

 

The Mid-peninsula Regional Open Space District of California operates the regional park, which is located in San Mateo County. The area is easily identifiable from the flatlands of the South Bay, being the only bare part. The Preserve rises from the valley road to the 1905 ft. summit from which it derives its name. Windy Hill Open Space Preserve stretches from Portola Valley, at the base to the crest of the Santa Cruz Mountains town, to Skyline Boulevard, at the crest of the mountains. The area also has some of the Bay’s most attractive woodland, including Douglas-Fir trees and the distinctively bald ridge that’s rises up to Windy Hill itself.

 

The Preserve offers exceptional trails that are perfect for a morning hike or afternoon mountain bike ride! Because of Windy Hill’s low elevation, summertime fog often spills over the ridge into the park, making the forest much more lush than those just a few miles to the south. The beautiful sight of the fog rolling of the ridge will take your breath away and also serve as a warning that the Skyline Ridge is going to be cold, damp and windy. For those wishing to hike around the Reserve, the most enjoyable hike to climb is the Lost Trail. Starting from the Preserve’s main trailhead on Skyline Boulevard, Lost Trail winds south through beautiful grasslands and lush green forests. Hikers will enjoy a fantastic view of the southeast on this trail.

 

If hiking doesn’t sound like the thing for you, the Windy Hill Open Space Reserve is also great for flying a kite, hang gliding, paragliding, and remote control gliding! Please see Permit Information for details. Visitors can also wander through an array of habitats along the preserve’s 12 miles of trails. There are also picnic tables scattered throughout the area, offering a place for you and your family to munch on a treat while enjoy the preserve.

 

When planning your visit to Windy Hill Open Space Reserve, don’t forget to book your stay at Mill Rose Inn. Our elegant guest rooms and suites offer travelers classic European elegance with the modern conveniences they expect in their home away from home. And don’t forget each stay includes a delicious breakfast each morning, so you’ll be ready to take on whatever the day has in store, whether it be a visit to the Windy Hill Open Space Reserve or one of Half Moon Bays many other attractions. We can’t wait to see you soon!