Ocean air, delicious eats, and a small-town feel await along the California coast.
Named for the broad arc of the Pacific Ocean lapping its western edge, Half Moon Bay served as a 19th-century hub for the ranches and farms that still dot the area. These days its sandy beaches, fishing harbor, and classic small-town Main Street have blossomed into a lively dine-shop-play destination. Area code is 650.
Create your own multi-colored paperweight at Half Moon Bay Art Glass. If the idea of handling molten glass makes you nervous, you can browse the choice selection of whimsical glass pumpkins, orchids, and pendant lamps with tentacled jellyfish. 12341 San Mateo Rd. (Hwy. 92), 283-5626, hmbartglass.com.
House-made ravioli might come stuffed with salmon or butternut squash at Pasta Moon, where the Italian offerings showcase local produce, fish, and goat cheese. 315 Main St., 726-5125, pastamoon.com.
Old-timey Half Moon Bay Feed & Fuel carries hay, live chicks, and saddles. You'll also find items ranging from pink cowboy hats to dozens of backyard bird feeders. 331 Main St., 726-4814, halfmoonbayfeedandfuel.com.
Global flavors shine on the menu at Chez Shea. Try the South African fruit-and-beef curry called bobotie, or opt for more familiar dishes like corn chowder, paella, or ceviche tostadas. 408 Main St., 560-9234, chez-shea.com.
Half Moon Bay Kayak Company offers kayak and stand-up paddleboard rentals, classes, and tours for all skill levels in the calm waters of Pillar Point Harbor. Keep your eyes peeled for harbor seals and pelicans. 2 Johnson Pier, 773-6101, hmbkayak.com.
Looking for a brownie mix, chef's knives, or a mesh bag for making almond milk? Toque Blanche stocks these and hundreds of other kitchen must-haves, and plenty of cookbooks. 604 Main St., 726-2898, mytoque.com.
At the outdoor fire pits of the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company, an end-of-day pint of award-winning Mavericks Amber Ale comes with a view of the sun dipping slowly into the Pacific. 390 Capistrano Rd., 728-2739, hmbbrewingco.com.
Photography courtesy of Robert E. Nylund/Wikipedia (Pillar Point Harbor); by David H. Collier (HMB Glass)
This article was first published in May 2013 and updated in April 2014. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.