A Grand Day Out

I drive up Highway 1 to Año Nuevo at least once a month, and there are lots of meaningful landmarks which I usually pass at speed. So this past Thursday, since I was driving up to Pescadero to pick up beans for the fundraiser dinner, I decided to take it easy and photograph the sights on my way up.

This time of year, it’s pumpkins, pumpkins, pumpkins.

Rodoni is set back from the highway. It’s the first pumpkin patch north of Santa Cruz.

Fambrini’s is a bit further along. They put in this objet earlier this summer. It looks as though it should be used for pagan rituals, but I guess it’s just art.

Then we get to Davenport.

For years and years, this was where we would eat fried calamari after New Year’s walks at Año Nuevo. They’ve also got good pastries, excellent ollalieberry pie and yummy artichoke bread.

North of Davenport is Seaside Pumpkin Farms, where I bought a Jarrahdale pumpkin, in case we don’t have enough winter squash for the dinner.

(They’re the grey ones in the background.) Next farm in line is Swanton, home of strawberry U-pick, both here and at Coastways, just across the highway from Año Nuevo.

Note that these are just the farms with stands open to the public. The entire marine terrace between Santa Cruz and Half Moon Bay is farmed intensively, with artichokes, brussels sprouts, leeks, strawberries and pumpkins.

Waddell is the last beach before Año Nuevo. It’s named for the last person in California to be killed by a grizzly bear (in 1875.) When I first moved to the Bay Area, these pocket beaches at the mouths of creeks seemed incredibly exotic to me, used as I was to So Cal beaches that go on for mile after sandy mile. On a windy afternoon, Waddell is alive with kite surfers. You can just make out Año Nuevo island on the horizon.

Pigeon Point is named after the Carrier Pigeon, which ran aground during a storm in 1853. As I relate in my guided walks, Col. Albert Evans testified in 1874 about the need for lighthouses along the San Mateo County coast, saying “It is a place where black reefs of rock rear their ugly fangs, like wild beasts waiting for their prey.”

Further north is my favorite of these pocket beaches, Bean Hollow, as much for the name as for its cozy size and climbable rocks.

Even though Pescadero means “fisherman,” the town is a couple miles inland (along a tsunami evacuation route, in case you ever need to know.

It lies behind Pescadero Marsh.

At the crossroads is Duarte’s, home of cream of artichoke soup, cioppino, and another great ollalieberry pie.

There are farms scattered around the town itself, including Harley Farms, maker of lovely goat cheese.

These goats across the road came running up to the fence when I stopped my car to take a photo.

Finally, at the end of Pescadero, you come to Phipp’s Country Store.

Inside, indeed, are more dried beans than you’ve ever seen together in one place.

I got about 12 lbs of Arbolito, which originally came from El Salvador,

but are now grown in the Phipps bean fields.

And since I was having such a nice day out, I had lunch at Gabriella Cafe in Santa Cruz.

And I visited Mission Santa Cruz.