It was Sunday, March 19, 2017. I figured that this would be a great time to go on the outing since it was the last weekend before Spring Break, for which I had a big trip planned. It was a gloomy day, but that didn't stop me. I actually like gloomy days because I get tired of being in the sun all the time. For a few hours, my parents, my sister and I drove around Half Moon Bay to see some of the great sites there.
The photos and videos on this blog were all taken on our phones during the trip. I'm sorry for any photos or videos that didn't turn out so well. I'm also sorry for anything I don't have a photo or video of.
To get to Half Moon Bay, we first drive down 101, then we switch to 92, which becomes a narrow, winding road after the intersection with 280. It crosses over the Crystal Springs Reservoir, and then it goes into this huge forest with so many tall trees. It then comes to a giant U-turn where you can see the rest of the road way down below. And when we drive down the road down below, there are these big rock walls on the side of the road.
And this marks the transition to the agricultural area along the section of 92 leading up to the main town. This area has so many places you can visit and so many things you can buy.
This first thing you will see in that area is this:
When I was a little kid, I thought they just looked like Christmas trees. However, this is actually a Christmas tree farm, where trees are actually grown for that purpose.
My family used to have this tradition where we all went to Santa's Tree Farm each year to get a Christmas tree. We would spend the whole day looking for a good tree, taking family photos along the way. When we finally found a good tree, we would cut it down with a big saw and tie it to the top of our car. And as we exited the farm, the people who worked there would give us mini candy canes for the road. Unfortunately, we don't have this tradition anymore, because we found a way to have Christmas trees delivered to us each year, but driving by the Christmas tree farm still brings back memories.
The next thing you will notice is that there are horse ranches in the area. I don't really know much about horses, but people ride horses everywhere in Half Moon Bay.
And then there's the Half Moon Bay Nursery, where you can buy so many different kinds of plants. I don't know if I have ever been there, but it looks like a nice place.
After that, you'll find that there are some houses in the area! It's great to have a comfortable home while working at a farm, but I feel like that's a strange place to see a couple of houses, probably because not much goes on in this kind of area. Or maybe I'm just used to living in a big neighborhood in a busy city. There are also big fields next to these houses, where crops are grown.
The next major stop is Sun Studios, where you can buy big, hard garden decorations like fountains, flowerpots, trellises and even animal statues.
After driving past more fields, the La Nebbia Winery comes into view. It's nice to see a good old winery in the farmland with big barrels and all.
But it's not just wine that they have to offer. You can also buy glass pumpkins here! In fact, there are signs along the fence that advertise the glass pumpkins. These glass pumpkins are made using a technique called glassblowing, in which hot, melted glass is blown into a bubble using a long pipe. Many years ago, my family went here to see the glassblowing technique in action, and then we bought a few glass pumpkins. I think we still have some of them in our box of fall decorations that we put in our house each year.
Just after the winery, there are two important places that are right across the road from each other! On one side is the Lemos Farm, which is not much of a real farm but more of a farm-themed place. But it's a great place for families to enjoy, with pony rides, train rides and hay rides.
And during the fall, they have pumpkins everywhere! When I was a little kid, my family actually had a tradition where we bought pumpkins at the Lemos Farm every year to use as jack-o'-lanterns for Halloween. Nowadays, we always get our pumpkins at Bob's Vegetable Stand & Pumpkin Farm, which is in a part of Half Moon Bay that we did not stop by on this particular outing.
The other place across from the Lemos Farm is Pastorino Farms, which a huge series of flower shops that extends really far! They have a pumpkin farm active in the fall that is for just as much family fun as the Lemos Farm, and we went there for pumpkins once.
For a while after that, there's not much to see, save for a few pumpkin patches that return every fall (whose names I don't have a way to know), as well as the G Berta Fruit & Vegetable Stand.
But when you finally do reach another major site, it's Firewood Farms. My family used to get firewood there all the time, but, just like what we did for Christmas trees, we started ordering firewood to be delivered to us. I still remember visiting Firewood Farms and seeing all the huge wood carvings they have there.
Next door to Firewood Farms is Spanish Town, which is similar to Sun Studios, but they have these giant dinosaur statues!
And that's the last stop along the agricultural road before you finally reach Half Moon Bay's welcome sign!
This is where it all transitions from a farm to a city. Before you reach Main Street, there is one more important site, and that's the Odd Fellows Cemetery.
And then you finally reach Main Street, where you can now choose which way to go. After driving along 92 and seeing all the sites mentioned above, we decided to drive along Main Street to see the downtown area.
There was another fruit stand right next to Main Street, called Tom & Pete's Farm Fresh Produce. You should always expect to see a bunch of fruit stands in a small agricultural town.
And then we drove over a bridge that led right to the downtown area. At this point, we were finally ready to get out of the car and walk around. (This was the first time we got out of the car on the trip, in case you thought I was implying that we actually stopped and got out at all the sites above, which we didn't do because it would have taken way too long.) I like walking down a busy street with so many stores because I can look inside them and see so many things. This downtown area also had some nice old buildings.
Here are two murals we saw in the downtown area, along with their descriptions:
Here's the city hall:
Then we saw that there was an old bakery in town.
We went inside to see what HMB Bakery had to offer.
Each of us got a few desserts from here that we would save for later. I decided to get one cookie and one pice of cake. The cookie I got was a moon-shaped chocolate chip cookie. You can see those moon cookies on the second tray on the third row from the top in the first photo above. The cake I got was some sort of Italian cream cake, from the fourth tray on the top row in the second photo above. I got that kind of cake because it was a kind that I did not think I had ever had before, and I like trying new things.
When we walked out of the bakery, we noticed that the place next door to it was a psychic's place.
And when we got to the end of the block, I saw this little church down the street:
Then there was this little pirate-themed place called Oddyssea, where you could do a bunch of activities like making sand art or panning for gold. I wasn't interested in going there until I noticed a sign that said "World's Largest Marble Run." I love marble runs, so I became excited, and we all walked into the place. The marble run looked like this:
There are two marble tracks so that two people can race against each other. Here's a diagram I drew on an online drawing sandbox to show how the marble run works:
The turning wheels remain locked when the marble run is not active. Someone unlocks them for you when you pay to do the marble run. At Oddyssea, you pay to do the activities using tokens that they call "doubloons." Since my sister and I were interested in marble racing, we went inside the building to buy some doubloons.
While we were in there, my sister got a fortune from Zoltar at the mini arcade they had there. You may remember this guy from the movie Big.
Then we walked back outside, along with a woman who worked there. She unlocked the turning wheels for the marble run, and away we went!
As you can see, the pulley system wasn't working properly, so our mom and the woman who worked there both had to assist us. But I won the race! Yay!
To make up for the marble run not working, we were given some free doubloons to do more activities. My sister was more interested in other activities than me, but I did do one other activity. I decided to break a geode, and so did my sister. A geode is a hollow rock with crystals lining the inside. Oddyssea has a station where you smash a geode on a stump with a hammer, and you have to wear safety goggles when you do it. The first video below is me breaking a geode, and the second video is my sister doing it.
We then put our smashed geodes inside bags to take home with us. My sister continued to do more activities, and I got bored. While waiting for her to be done with her activities, my dad and I walked further down the street to see what else there was to see. But after the block Oddyssea was on, the rest of the street was just a plain old neighborhood.
When we were all ready to take off, we headed back down the street the way we came, except we were on the other side of the street now. When we got back to the city hall, we noticed this little building down the road next it:
It was an old jailhouse.
It wasn't a real jailhouse anymore; it was just a museum now. We couldn't go inside, but the inside looked like this:
And the plaque on the jailhouse said...
There also happened to be haunted house decorations on both sides of the jailhouse for some reason. It was weird seeing this in March.
As we walked back over to Main Street, we noticed the building for the Half Moon Bay Review, which is the city's newspaper publisher. It happened to be exactly one century older than me!
And then we continued walking down the downtown area. We spotted some glass pumpkins in the window of one of the stores, just like the ones made at the La Nebbia Winery. The store was called Silk & Stone, by the way.
A bit further down the street was the Half Moon Bay Feed & Fuel Co., which is a place to buy food and equipment for your horse. Half Moon Bay needs that kind of store because it's the kind of town that supports the presence of horseback riders.
In fact, we actually went inside that store, just to look around. I'm no horse person, but I have another sister who once went to horse camp, so she probably would have liked this store if she had been on this outing with us.
After that, we walked all the way back to the Main Street bridge. Here's a picture of the creek that ran under the bridge:
We were now done visiting the downtown area, so we got back in the car and drove down Kelly Avenue. Our next stop was the beach.
Along the way, I noticed an old bed frame that was repurposed as part of a garden at one of the houses. I think it's interesting to see and old thing with a new purpose.
The beach at the end of this road was the Half Moon Bay State Beach. It was the kind of beach where you can go camping, either in a tent or in a motorhome. My mom and I both had to go to the bathroom, so we walked to the bathroom at the campground, even though there was a sign saying that only campers could set foot in the area. The whole area was covered with ice plant, which is an invasive plant that can be found at many beaches in the Bay Area.
After I got out of the bathroom, I got my phone out and filmed a 2-minute video of the beach. You should watch the whole video, because I unexpectedly caught a surfer making waves! I caught a few seagulls too.
I didn't want to step on the beach because I was wearing tennis shoes, and we didn't have time to spend a day at the beach anyway, so we got back to the car and drove off. Sure enough, just as we were driving out of the beach parking lot, we saw some horseback riders.
We were now headed towards Barbara's Fishtrap, which is a small seafood restaurant in the northern end of Half Moon Bay, known as El Granada. We saw some more interesting sites along the way, starting with this overgrown school building that looked abandoned:
And then we passed by another old thing that had been repurposed. It was an old caboose that had been converted into a mini restaurant. It's no big surprise to see a converted caboose, because those things aren't as useful now as they were in the early years of the railroad. This site was nothing new to us, because we see it almost every time we go to Half Moon Bay. Located at a retail center called Shoreline Station, this caboose restaurant used to be yellow and used to be called Daddy-O's (both of which are still visible on Google Street View at the time I'm writing this), but it was recently painted red and renamed Dad's Luncheonette. We have never eaten there before.
We didn't take any pictures for a while after that, but we did see some interesting houses on the way to El Granada. And then we finally made it to Barbara's Fishtrap. I was the one who picked that restaurant, by the way. I wanted to eat there because my mom told me that I went there when I was a little kid, and I wanted to see if I could recognize the place.
While we waited for a table in the restaurant, we walked along a jetty that was right next to the restaurant. This jetty was protecting the docks where people kept their boats.
The walkway on the jetty didn't go all the way to the end. Instead, it ended at a wooden platform that reached out to the side. There were other people there, and I wasn't sure what they were doing at first. Then we heard a splash in the water below. We looked down, and there was a sea lion! In fact, there was more than one sea lion. Here are a few videos we took of the sea lions swimming:
Yes, those are sea lions. I looked up the different between a sea lion and a seal. Also, in that last video above, you can hear me say "Those are really straight waves." I thought it was weird that the wave pattern in the water was so neat. I also thought it was weird that were little waves among big waves.
And then we headed back to the restaurant. I looked at the big rocks next to the jetty walkway entrance, and I saw something that looked like it had once been part of a flowerpot or a fountain or something like that. It's not unusual to see that kind of thing among big rocks at a coastline.
We went into the restaurant, and, unfortunately, I must have been really little when I went there, because I didn't recognize it at all. We sat down at a table in the front area of the restaurant, which had big windows. It was an unusual time of the day to be eating a meal, because it was about halfway between lunchtime and dinnertime. (We call it "linner.") At first, I didn't consider ordering fish and chips, but the menu said that they were award-winning, so we all ended up getting fish and chips. We also got a wedge salad to share. That food was good.
By the way, when I went to the bathroom at the restaurant, I noticed that the bathrooms were unisex, but the doors still had paintings left over from when one was the men's and the other was the women's. I ended up using what used to be the women's bathroom, but that was okay since it had been changed. I then noticed a tile in that bathroom with a funny message on it:
I already knew that saying, but this was the first time I had actually seen it in a bathroom.
When we got back to the car after enjoying our meal, we were ready to eat the deserts we bought earlier. I ate my moon cookie in the car, and it was a good cookie, but I couldn't eat my cake because I didn't have a fork.
At that was the end of our trip. We didn't see anything new on the way back, although we used that time to take pictures of things we hadn't taken pictures of earlier. When we got home, I ate my cake, and it was delicious! I also put my geode bag in the bottom drawer on my dresser, and it's still there now.
My family hardly ever does anything like this. We usually just sit around the house because we're lazy. Going on a family outing is fun, because there is so much stuff to see. Each time you go to a certain place, you will notice something you never noticed before!
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