Happy Año Nuevo

Each year, the Beloved runs a big scientific meeting during the first week in January. It’s the most time-consuming thing that she does all year. It’s a little bit of a bummer that it hangs there on the horizon during the holidays, but that’s the way things go sometimes.

Because it’s a pretty big deal and fairly stressful, we often try to take a day or two afterwards for something fun and to give her a chance to unwind. For example, last year we went to Disneyland for a couple of days.

This year, the meeting was held in Santa Clara, so we decided to head over the coast range to, well, the coast for a few days of peace and quiet. We chose a resort near Año Nuevo State Reserve (first sighted by the Spanish > 400 years ago – around New Year’s Day, hence the name) that seemed to specialize in “down time” – no cell phones, no TVs, plenty of hiking and clean air.

Coastal Prairie

Often central California can be pretty wet in January, but we caught a serious break by having clear skies and temperatures in the upper 60s and spent a day hiking around Año Nuevo State Reserve – a gorgeous area of coastal prairie, rich in wildlife and native coastal grasses.  Just stunning.

Ano Neuvo Coast

Franklin Point

On our getaway day, we slowly drove up the coast, stopping in the small towns of Davenport and Pescadero and trying to decide if they could go on the “we could retire here” list. Along the way, we stopped at the Pigeon Point Lighthouse (named for the 19th century ship, Carrier Pigeon which wrecked nearby) – the tallest lighthouse on the Pacific coast – and you know I like me a lighthouse.

Pigeon Point Lighthouse

Pigeon Point grounds

Finally, after passing through Half Moon Bay (which did not pass the retirement test), we angled back through the switchbacks of the coastal range again and headed to San Jose (we knew the way) and our flight home.

Sunset through the trees

After such a restful couple of days, maybe I’m ready to start this new year after all.

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19 thoughts on “Happy Año Nuevo

  1. Hey, you were in my neck of the woods! In fact, my parents came to visit this weekend and we almost went up to Pescadero and Ano Nuevo to see the elephant seal breeding colony. Beautiful weather we’ve been having, you couldn’t have gotten a more beautiful January week to visit in!

    • Erin — I KNOW!!! I realized when we got there how close we were to Santa Cruz. Next time we’re up there (and after this trip, we’ll definitely be back) I’ll definitely see if we can arrange a chance to say hi in person. You know, before we get to the “off-the-grid” resort! :)

  2. Holy smokes, I felt a bit of my stress wash away merely by looking at the photos. I am glad you and your beloved were able to find some fresh sea air and beautiful scenery. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I’ve never been to this section of the coast, but it looks beautiful. And yes, you should enjoy the freakishly wonderful winter we’re getting: usually, the beach is socked in with fog, at least until noon. But Half Moon Bay didn’t meet your standards for retirement? Why? Too fusty or touristy? Homes outrageously expensive? (I think they are, given that you could probably move to Pebble Beach for the price of some of them.)

    • HG — yes, I actually would love to go back some time and see what that area is like during a more “typical” winter spell. I bet it’s just as beautiful in a different way.

      I thought HMB was “trying too hard” if that makes any sense — to be upscale-ish, but homey. High-end, but quirky. It all seemed a little too calculated to be genuine.

      And fusty is my new favorite word.

  4. Dizzy – that up-the – lIghthouse shot did it. You must have been on your back. Been to those areas you mentioned, I still prefer SD for the weather. Half Moon Bay – pretty but no thanks.

    • Trail — nope, just the camera was on its back. Isn’t that the great thing about digital photography — that you can just toss the ones where you didn’t quite get it in frame… :)

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