Summer has worn out its welcome early, I think. Maybe it’s the vagaries attributed to climate change, or maybe, after so many years in Florida, I’ve lost all interest in heat. If I ever had any. But the moderating overcast last Saturday afternoon at Half Moon Bay reminded me that my favorite season, fall, is just around the corner. That soon, the leaves will put on their pre-winter display, the air will cool and when we walk the dogs we’ll hear the satisfying crunch of leaves underfoot. Yes, fall IS my favorite season.
Northern California beaches and their Central Coast parallels are notorious for their four-season overcast. The fog may or may not burn off in summer, wrapping a blanket of grey around the coast, keeping the weather moody and moderate.
When it comes to beach-going, I’ve always gone south. An easy half hour to Santa Cruz, 45 minutes to Capitola, an hour plus to Monterey. Living part-time on the Monterey coast for years was a dream I made come true and with it came a substantial amount of grey. But grey at the beach is just not the same as grey in, say, my hometown of Rochester, NY. Yes, Rochester is on Lake Ontario, but my experience of Rochester-grey was always the cold and monotony of it. At our northern California beaches, the very moodiness of the less than 50 shades of grey means that the romance of a fireplace is appropriate during all four seasons. It comes with the power of the Pacific roaring in the background and a sky full of cawing gulls and pelicans. Even in summer, a cozy sweatshirt is always appropriate.
Birds take flight during a brief clearing of overcast
But recently, we’ve gone a different direction for beach time. Half Moon Bay is a cute little oceanside community north of us known for a chowder house that serves up the best lobster rolls on the planet. Strolling on the jetty watching the sky dull and brighten again, I was reminded that summer is dying. I imagined checking into one of the rooms-with-fireplace along this coast and warming a chilly night with lit logs and a good book.
I took it a step further: Why not create my own ritual to welcome my favorite season?
Do you have a favorite seasonal ritual? Would love to know about it.
We’ve recently moved to Oregon from Colorado and you describe the grey and the gulls and the promise of a romantic fireplace just as I’ve experienced it here (last winter). While I love my home state of Colorado – I’m enjoying the differences here. For me, it’s just changing out the clothes from summer things to fall and winter layers and colors, changing some decor inside to note and celebrate the change, tending to repotting in the spring, dividing bulbs in the fall, noting and abiding with the rest in the winter and cutting blooms all summer for inside. Oh and getting outside to take it all in no matter the weather all year for my walks.
And the lobster rolls you mentioned? Where can one find them in Half Moon Bay?
Taking it all in is a must! 😉 Sam’s Chowder House is famous for its lobster rolls. An entire lobster cooked to perfection –not lobster salad. Seriously exquisite.
Florida does not have seasons, therefore I have no rituals. Here it is either hot or f——g hot. Noting those is as ritualistic as it gets.
My daughter just returned from Santa Cruz where she spent a week meeting her boyfriend’s family and childhood friends. She was almost misty describing the beauty of the region. It’s possible that she’ll spend (alot) more time there in the future, but even if she doesn’t, I may ,after listening to her and reading this.
Every time I’ve tried to move away I’ve come back. My ex and I had a weekend home at Aptos and I lived for years part time in Pacific Grove. It really is beautiful coastline. Come on over!
I live in Central Illinois. No beaches, no surf, no mountains. Just miles and miles of corn and soy beans. But I have favorite autumn rituals, nonetheless. Now I sit in the window at night and listen to the sound of the insects and tree frogs as summer wanes, eat homegrown tomatoes with every meal–even breakfast. In another month, the leaves will turn: red on the maples, gold on the ginkgo. I’ll take walks with my camera to capture the colors. Finally they will fall, probably amid the cold, misty rains of October. I’ll unpack my sweaters to wear when I take walks without my camera, content to feel the rain on my face and warm up after with hot mulled cider. We watch the weather carefully here in every season, but now not for tornadoes, blizzards or ice storms. Not yet. Now we watch for the first hard frost. Before it comes, we go pick all the tomatoes that have a slight blush on them. We wrap them in paper and store them in a dark place, checking now and then to pull out those that have ripened. If we’re lucky, we’ll have some left for Thanksgiving. These are some of my favorite things to do as another autumn rolls quietly into winter.
Half Moon Bay is one of my favorite places to visit. There is so much to see and do in Half Moon Bay. The quaint little shops, the tide pools, or visit some of the amazing restaurants. 🙂
Make some recommendations to me!