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Why Burleigh H. Murray Ranch is Definitely Worth a Visit

March 15, 2016 by Mill Rose Inn

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Dating back to the mid-1800s, the Burleigh H. Murray Ranch was donated to the state of California in 1979 and is now preserved as a natural environment and piece of history. It serves as a local timepiece of the past, standing almost the same as it did over a century ago. The California Department of Parks and Recreation still owns the land today, and the historic ranch is open to the public for self-guided touring and exploration.


There is a main house, unique dairy barn, and surrounding outbuildings that make up the Burleigh H. Murray Ranch. The dairy barn definitely stands out, designed by pioneer Robert Mills to look like those of the English Lake Country where he was raised. This “bank barn” is unlike any other in the state of California. It has two stories and is built hillside, so that both floors can be open at ground level. Just across the creek is the farmhouse, which was built in the 1920s as the replacement for a Victorian-style house that burned down.

History of Burleigh H. Murray Ranch

Robert Mills was an Englishman who traveled to California during the famed Gold Rush. He acquired land in the foothills of Half Moon Bay, and there constructed a house, dairy barn, and outbuildings against the hillside. Mills and his descendents leased the land to ranchers for over a century until Mills’ grandson and heir Burleigh H. Murray died in 1978. Murray’s father was a successful dairy farmer on the land, raising sheep and cattle and putting the land and structures to proper use. Named in his honor, the Burleigh H. Murray Ranch was put on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989, 100 years after its construction began.

Burleigh-Murray Ranch Trail

An old ranch road winds its way beside Mills Creek for a mile up to a 1930s bungalow as the premier hiking trail. Access is granted from the ranch entrance off Higgins-Purisma Road, where parking is available. The path traverses through groves of old eucalyptus, red alter, and buckeye trees until reaching the prominent barn and wooden water tank. It then continues through a narrow valley between hills, finally fading away into the dense undergrowth. The trail is a favorite spot for not just outdoor exercise and scenic sightseeing but also for birdwatching. Many unique species are attracted to the creekside habitat, and native plants such as red flowering currant, twinberry, salmonberry, and woodland wildflowers can be observed. Be sure to bring your camera and take some beautiful pictures of the rustic farm and any nature you can spot along the trail.

Ranch to Inn

Located just a 15 minute drive away from Burleigh H. Murray Ranch is Mill Rose Inn. Head from the ranch toward the beach and stay at this beautiful seaside bed and breakfast in Half Moon Bay, which offers amenities such as a flower garden Jacuzzi and gourmet breakfast each morning. For more to do in Half Moon Bay and surrounding areas, download Mill Rose Inn’s free vacation guide!

Half Moon Bay Hiking Trails You Should Experience

December 15, 2014 by Mill Rose Inn

Half Moon Bay hiking

A Half Moon Bay hiking trail / Photo By H. Grimes via Flickr

Now that the cooler weather is setting in here in beautiful Half Moon Bay and there are fewer days where sitting on the beach is going to be comfortable – though sometimes we get those days mid-winter – there are plenty of great ways to see this gorgeous stretch of Northern California coastline while keep your blood warm. The area has diverse terrain ranging from coast-side cliffs and marshland, to sizable seaside mountains. If you have imagined a particular way to observe the Pacific you can almost certainly find along one of the many Half Moon Bay hiking trails. If you’re staying with us here at the Mill Rose Inn we’ll be sure to send you off well-fed and ready for a great day of exploring.

Wavecrest Open Space is one of the newest additions to Half Moon Bay hiking. It was purchased in 2008 by the Peninsula Open Land Trust and opened for public use with many great trails offering sweeping views of the coast to the west, and the steep ascent of the mountains to the east. Nestled between Route 1 and the seaside, this is an easy-t0-access beauty that you don’t want to miss.

If you’re looking more to get up into the beautiful peninsula hills then check out Burleigh H. Murray Ranch Park located between Higgins Purisima road and Skyline Blvd. This unique California State Park offers more than just lush eucalyptus groves and an assorted wildlife, but its also a local historical experience. The hike stretches for a few miles along the old ranch road and takes you winding through the old ranch buildings including the bungalow home and various barns. The short drive up here will also get you some great coastal views.

Pillar Point Bluff is a famous Half Moon Bay hiking trail, and is an quick and easy 1.2 mile round trip walk to the tip of this Pacific ocean point which creates the Half Moon Bay. The brevity of the hike is complimented by the unique rock formations along the beach. This small parking lot is usually full of the surfing crowd’s vehicles as they head out to catch the famous Mavericks wave. At the right time of you day you may catch a surf show of locals hitting the water. This is a unique Half Moon Bay experience, and Pillar Point is the place you are most likely to participate in it.

If you’re looking for a walk that will incorporate the town experience with a beautiful oceanside hike, then you definitely want to head out to the Half Moon Bay Coastal Trail, stretching for 6 miles right along the water. This can be a leisurely stroll with the family after a meal at the Half Moon Bray Brewing Company, or a few hours hike.

If you’re in town for a weekend getaway or a family vacation of exploring the California coast, you definitely want to hit one of these Half Moon Bay hiking trails. It’s the perfect way to experience our out-of-doors lifestyle here in Half Moon Bay, while taking in the beautiful views.

Where is Half Moon Bay and Why Should I Visit?

November 24, 2014 by Mill Rose Inn

Half Moon Bay

Half Moon Bay / Photo By Chris Gin via Flickr

Half Moon Bay is a small coastal town in Northern California. Located in San Mateo County, which covers about half of the San Francisco Bay Peninsula, it is home to just under 12,000 people. This quaint California town offers the best of the north coast views and culture without the bustle of the city. You’ll find world class surf, fishing, and food in a quiet atmosphere. Half Moon Bay is a great getaway from California city life, as well as a wonderful destination for those traveling from out-of-state.

Half Moon Bay is 45 minutes from San Francisco, San Jose and Palo Alto making it a very accessible from two international airports for vacationers, and an easy day trip for the residents of Bay Area metros. It also just over the hill from San Mateo, from which you can get on the San Mateo Bridge and be in the East Bay in about 30 minutes. It is a prime location for anyone Bay Area bound, and easy stopover if you’re not planning on staying.

You’ll find those famed rocky California shores in Half Moon Bay, which you can see from any number of the great hiking trails, none of which are far from downtown. The Purisima Creek Redwoods trails are popular and offer unique canyon hikes. Pillar Point Bluff trails will take you soaring above the wide open Pacific Ocean, and give you both northern and southern views of the gorgeous coastline. The San Pedro Valley Park is a breathtaking hike that will get you up in the mountains that run down the middle of the Peninsula, featuring views of the San Francisco Bay on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other.

Half Moon Bay is also home to one of the most famous waves in the world, known as Mavericks. This surf spot, named after a famous surfer’s dog, is the destination for the annual world class, invitation only surf competition, which is also called Mavericks. Surfers and spectators alike travel from all over the globe to participate in this event, which is always a somewhat impromptu competition because it depends completely on the weather. If you’re not quite at the pro-wave level there are plenty of other great beginner and intermediate surf spots around including Santa Cruz, which is just another hour down the coast.

This great little town is also home to some wonderful dining options. Chez Shea is fabulous french restaurant that will put you in the small town mindset with its petite, welcoming dining room. The Half Moon Bay Brewing Company is another favorite amongst both locals and visitors for its great craft beers and reputable menu. Cameron’s British Pub is another local favorite hangout with hearty food and drinks.

The charming Half Moon Bay offers everything California is known for in one small, walkable package. You can reside small town style and drive up to San Francisco for the day, returning to the quiet of our little bay at the end of the day. If you’re looking for a great vacation come and stay with us right downtown at the Mill Rose Inn. We’d love to have you!

Plan These Half Moon Bay Tours

April 23, 2014 by Mill Rose Inn

Half Moon Bay ToursAt the Mill Rose Inn, we know that we’re lucky to live in such a beautiful place.  Half Moon Bay is alive with adventure and activity all year long, and summer is a great time for you to plan a visit.   If you’re curious about the area and all it has to offer, you might want to plan on taking one of these Half Moon Bay tours during your stay.


Coastal Elegance Tours

Coastal Elegance Tours offers eco cycling tours or intertidal nature hikes guided by local experts.  These Half Moon Bay tours practice Eco Tourism, which has the goal of “practicing good stewardship of our environment while leaving no footprint behind.”  But don’t be put off by the cycling or hiking if you’re worried about keeping up.  Tours are designed to move at the guests’ pace so they get the utmost enjoyment out of their day.  These Half Moon Bay tours are a great way to see the beauty of the Pacific coast from a new perspective.  Hikes and rides can take as long as a full day to complete, so you can be sure you’ll get to see a lot!


Half Moon Bay Adventures

Satisfy your inner adventurer with Half Moon Bay Adventures.  These Half Moon Bay tours show visitors the rugged beauty of the area.  Scenic horseback riding tours with an experience guides will take you along the coast or through the backcountry.  If getting out on the water is more your style, choose a kayak or stand up paddle board trip.  These Half Moon Bay tours take place in the safe waters of Pillar Point Harbor.  Stand up paddle boarding is a great way to get a “top down” view of the sea life in the harbor.  Other Half Moon Bay tours offered by Half Moon Bay Adventures include redwood forest hikes, downhill mountain biking  and even surf lessons from a local pro.


Pillar Point Harbor Tour

Get out on the water with Half Moon Bay Kayak Co. for a tour of Pillar Point Harbor. This guided Half Moon Bay tour takes guests through the calm waters of Pillar Point Harbor.  Guides will point out sites of interest as well as marine life such as the harbor seals and sea birds. And get local insider information on history and local landmarks such as Mavericks. This is a great Half Moon Bay tour for those who want to get out on the water while they take in the amazing natural beauty of the area.  And the guides are sure to have some entertaining and interesting tales to tell.



Half Moon Bay Coastside Tours

For a customized tour for you or your group, try Half Moon Bay Coastside Tours.  They work with guests to create the perfect Half Moon Bay tour experience depending on individual interests, budgets and how long they’ll be in the area.  Whether you want to cycle, see all the beaches, hike, kayak, or just experience some of the areas best dining, Coastside Tours can help you out with their knowledge of “hidden gems and local hotspots.”


When planning which of these Half Moon Bay tours to experience, don’t forget to book your stay at the Mill Rose Inn.  Our elegant guest rooms and suites are the ideal place to relax and recount your Half Moon Bay adventures.  Each is sumptuously appointed with luxurious furnishings  and amenities that will make your time with us an optimal time to renew your spirit.  Your stay always includes a full gourmet breakfast each morning, so you’ll be able to take on the day’s schedule.  We look forward to seeing you soon!



Photo courtesy Geoff Livingston.

About Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve

April 17, 2014 by Mill Rose Inn

Purisima Creek RedwoodsThe natural beauty of Half Moon Bay, California is truly something special.  From pristine beaches to stately forests and colorful wildflowers, the area offers a variety of landscapes for visitors to enjoy.  The Mill Rose Inn is surrounded by beautiful flora year round, but be sure to venture out and see the redwoods, one of nature’s greatest achievements.  If you want to experience one of California’s true wonders, a visit to Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve is a must.


The Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve is located on the western edge of Kings Mountain in Woodside and gets its name from Purisima Creek, which flows through the area along with several tributaries.  The preserve is part of a series of 26 Open Space Preserves in California, which together total almost 62,000 acres of land. Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve has great views overlooking Half Moon Bay.  The coastal redwoods are the most notable residents of the forest, but other hardwood trees such as tanoak, Dougas firs and madrones.  The 3,360 acre preserve has over 21 miles of trails in the preserve for hiking, biking and horseback riding.


There are several possible hikes to take through the Purisima Creek Redwoods. The Redwood Trail is an all-access  path measuring a .3 miles one way.  The Redwood Trail is well shaded, making it a great place for a hike on warmer days. The Craig Britton Trail winds through the redwoods and joins with the Harkins Ridge Trail, which is a steep drop back to the trail head, making a 7 mile loop.  The Bald Knob Trail is an extremely quiet and  hike of 3.6 miles that takes hikers through the woods and offers views of the ocean.  The North Ridge Trail is another 3.6 mile hike that will take you to a meadow with fabulous views of the redwoods as well as the Pacific Ocean.  In Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve, it is easy to find the hike perfect for your needs.



If hiking isn’t your style, Purisima Creed Redwoods Open Space Preserve is also an ideal place for cyclists and equestrians to ride the trails.  Whittemore Gulch Trail is a singletrack cycling trail with rides of up to 10 miles.  Riders love the descent of 1000 feet as well as its tight turns, and of course the views of the redwoods.  Guided bike rides like the Banana Slug Redwood Ride take you through the forest to scenic viewing points.  For a calendar of activities in all the Open Space Preserves including the Purisima Creek Redwoods, click here.


When planning your visit to Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve, 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 full champagne breakfast each morning, so you’ll be ready to take on whatever the day has in store, whether it be a visit to the Purisima Creek Redwoods or one of Half Moon Bays many other attractions.  We look forward to having you with us soon.


Photo courtesy Paul Hamilton.

Half Moon Bay Trails Adventure Guide

February 26, 2014 by Mill Rose Inn

Half Moon Bay TrailsGuests staying at our Half Moon Bay bed and breakfast, Mill Rose Inn, have access to a bounty of natural beauty.  Not only is our inn surrounded by lush and colorful gardens, but the Half Moon Bay area is an ideal place for hiking and exploring. Half Moon Bay trails cover a variety of landscapes along  the coastline and ocean views are plentiful. There are several places in the area you can visit to enjoy the outdoors.  To help you plan your trip, we’ve put together a short Half Moon Bay trails adventure guide.


One of the most popular Half Moon Bay trails is the Waterfront Coastside Trail. Part of the Half Moon Bay State Park, this trail is around 6 miles roundtrip and is great for both hiking and biking because it is paved. There is also easy access to the beach if you want to walk on the sand for part of your hike. This is a fairly easy hike with picture perfect scenic views of the beach and wooded areas.  There is also a horse trail alongside the Waterfront Coastside Trail. Picnic tables, benches and restrooms are available along the trail. This trail goes along some of the best beaches in the Half Moon Bay State Beach.


Purisma Creek – Whittmore Gulch is one of the longer Half Moon Bay trails measuring about ten and a half miles log.  The hike is moderate and is best for those looking to spend at least half a day hiking. This trail goes through might redwood forests as well as having areas that open up to the ocean.  Banana slugs are something hikers on this trail need to look out for and bringing plenty of water is a must.


For a shorter oceanfront hike, try Mavericks Cliffs Trail.  See one of the most famous surfing locations in the world as you walk this two and a half mile trail. During the Mavericks competition, the trail is crowded by surf enthusiasts looking to take advantage of its stunning views of the waves. This trail along the cliffs is easy and has very little elevation change.  However, if you want, you can continue along the harbor to a rock pier where you may be able to view seals and other marine life.


Blufftop Coastal Park trail is another easy hike.  It will take you about an hour and a half or less to make the loop which measures in at just under three miles.  You can choose to take the paved or dirt path, but be aware that the dirt path is frequented by horseback riders.


In nearby Boulder Creek is Berry Creek Falls. There are three routes to choose from, all measuring ten miles or more. Hikers should allow for four to six hours of hiking roundtrip but when you get to the falls, the trip is well worth it. And if you’re looking for a mountain hike, Montara mountain offers a an elevation gain of almost 2000 feet above the beaches. Hiking Montara mountain from Graywhale Cove State Beach will provide you with a hike of almost five miles.


When you’re mapping out which Half Moon Bay trails to explore, don’t forget to book your stay at a local Half Moon Bay bed and breakfast. Mill Rose Inn has a beautiful selection of rooms and suites to choose from. Many rooms have garden views, claw foot tubs and fireplaces.  And your stay comes complete with a delicious full champagne breakfast so you’ll have the fuel to hit the Half Moon Bay trails. Find your perfect room and start planning your trip today!


Photo courtesy Steve Jurvetson.