Forty minutes south of San Francisco rests the quiet seaside hamlet of Half Moon Bay. Here, along the aching Pacific coastline, you’ll find the expected cozy inns, farm fresh produce, golf courses, wine tastings, and hiking trails of small town beachside California. You’ll also find a sea of big wave surfers—one of the most famous surfing breaks in the world, Mavericks, is located nearby—and every fall you’ll come across a swelling sea of brilliant orange. Fondly regarded as the pumpkin capital of the world, Half Moon Bay raises 3,000 tons of pumpkins annually. Fall splendor is at its height here.
Perched on rugged bluffs overlooking the waves, the Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay is the oceanfront resort to visit in the San Francisco Bay Area, commanding the verdant grounds it stands on, frequented by seabirds and ringed with scenic walking paths. The property’s two classic Northern California golf courses have charmed golfers for over 40 years, offering a choice of playing either Arnold Palmer and Francis Duane’s classic American parkland-style course, or the Scottish-links-style green designed by Arthur Hills. In 2014, the resort earned the distinction of Golf Resort of the Year, North America by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators.
After working up your appetite on the links (or on the tennis courts or via the resort’s cruiser bike fleets), relax in the sunlit Conservatory Lounge with a homegrown cocktail and small bites, or wait for dinner at the upscale Navio restaurant, where chef Kevin Tanaka pairs his Hawaiian heritage with the Pacific’s freshest bounty in elegant seafood-centric cuisine. Spend some time in Eno, the resort’s cozy wine bar, as well. Wine flights take you on a tour of regions and grape styles, and are built on both comfortable (“Chardonnays of the World”) and curious (“Eye Openers”) tasting trios. The “Light Whites of the World” flight draws on Slovenia’s Goriška Brda, the Loire Valley’s Sancerre, and Spain’s Rías Baixas, and is paired particularly well with the local cheese and charcuterie board. Keen sommeliers are on hand to answer questions and direct selections; the resort has been a breeding ground for top California wine talent ever since Ian Cauble, one of the leads in the documentary Somm, held the position of wine director and lead sommelier at the property.
After the night’s retreat in your amenity-stocked contemporary-meets-conservative guest suite, schedule in a treatment at the resort’s Half Moon Bay Spa. For the full Half Moon Bay spectrum experience (especially this season) try the pumpkin facial.