One Fine Weekend: Half Moon Bay
Fall is a hoppin’ time for the World Pumpkin Capital, so here’s how to make the most of your weekend away.
The golf course at The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay.
Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay
HALF MOON BAY ART AND PUMPKIN FESTIVAL
See why this coastal town is known as the World Pumpkin Capital from October 14 to 15, when the Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival comes to town. At the 47th annual celebration, visitors can view the winner of the Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off. Usually around the size of a small car and weighing in around a ton, this megagourd is a marvel to behold. Afterward, taste the fall squash in everything from chicken pumpkin sausage, to pumpkin sticky buns, to pumpkin-flavored Jack-o-tinis. You can also peruse more than 200 booths featuring locally made artisanal wares, enter a pumpkin-carving contest, or venture into the Haunted House. miramarevents.com/pumpkinfest.
HALF MOON BAY STATE BEACH
While the water may be cold, no trip to the coast would be complete without a visit to the beach. With its large bluffs and soft stretch of sand, Half Moon Bay State Beach is perfect for a leisurely stroll along the shore and, if you’re lucky, the occasional dolphin or humpback whale sighting. Pack a picnic, and camp out on the sand for the afternoon, but be sure to bring plenty of warm layers, as the weather can get chilly. parks.ca.gov.
In a little red caboose along the Cabrillo Highway sits Dad’s Luncheonette. Started by culinary power couple Scott Clark (aka “Dad” and former three-Michelin-starred chef at San Francisco’s Saison) and Alexis Liu (aka “Mom” and owner of Beacon Coffee and Pantry in North Beach), this eatery offers fresh takes on the classics. Try the hamburger sandwich made with grass-fed beef, a fried egg, cheese, pickled red onion, and savory “Dad’s Sauce.” Drooling yet? dadsluncheonette.com.
HALF MOON BAY BREWING COMPANY
Step into this local haunt for some award-winning brews and ocean views. This season, the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company released three fall beers, including the full-bodied Pumpkin Harvest Ale made with local sugar pumpkins. Pull up to the wood bar, or take your pint out back to the Mavericks Beer Garden to enjoy the cool sea breeze. hmbbrewingco.com.
THE RITZ-CARLTON, HALF MOON BAY
After a day of exploration, The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay is the spot to unwind. If you’re in need of pampering, head to the spa for a special pumpkin facial available through October. The resort also offers a monthly Global Cuisine Series, inviting acclaimed chefs to lead guests through a hands-on cooking class and tasting menu. From October 28 to 29, chef Manish Tyagi from San Francisco’s August 1 Five will give a lesson on crafting contemporary Indian cuisine. If you don’t feel like cooking on vacation, reserve a table at Navio restaurant, where you can enjoy a seasonal menu of pumpkin-centric dishes. But if you’re all pumpkined out, you can just play a round of golf or listen to the sounds of a bagpipe at sunset. ritzcarlton.com/hmb.