by guest contributor Viviana Brown. Viviana and her husband Bill are dear friends who chose to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary in Muir Beach, CA, with a stay at the cottage! Here's to many more beautiful years together!
Bill and I had been thinking about our twenty fifth wedding anniversary trip for some time. The momentous occasion begged for a special place, preferably one neither of us had visited before. We considered the Greek islands, Lake Como, even Positano, which I adore, but there were so many places closer to home we longed to visit . Our search ended when our good friends suggested we visit their enchanting town of Muir Beach in California, before continuing to Big Sur (more to come on that in another post). They suggested we stay at The Cottage at Muir Beach, a vacation rental by owner which is virtually two doors down from their lovely home. After perusing the VRBO site, and loving the pictures of the cottage, we booked it and set out on our California adventure in mid November.
We had been to San Francisco several times before, but that didn't prepare us for the magical lure of Muir Beach. The winding mountain road offered breathtaking ocean vistas giving us the feeling we were heading to a very remote area, while our destination was only 6 miles from our exit just over the the Golden Gate Bridge. We were surprised to learn that there are only about 150 homes in the town and they are, for the most part, and somewhat surprisingly, primary residences. As far as lodging goes, the only places to stay are The Pelican Inn and The Cottage at Muir Beach, which for us was part of its appeal.
The Cottage is adjacent to its main residence, both belonging to an affable British interior decorator. It's perched on a hill with breathtaking panoramic views of the ocean, the mountains and, on a clear day, San Francisco in the distant horizon. It is tastefully decorated in soothing shades of green with sweet beach inspired touches and equipped with all the amenities needed for comfort. The spectacular beach is visible from the spacious porch, as well as from the living room and the master bedroom.
Every night we were lulled to sleep by the sound of the waves crashing on the surf and awoke to magnificent pink tinged sunrises. The wood burning stove made it even more romantic and cozy in the chilly evenings. Had we brought the children, they would have been content in the adorable attic, outfitted with two twin beds and plenty of games & toys to pass the time. The walk to the beach is a magical journey, and the Overlook, a local perch with sweeping views of the Pacific ocean, is a short walk up the hill. There were many other activities in the area, but it was difficult to stray too far from this beautiful spot which will beckon time and time again.
food and libations: The Pelican Inn is the only restaurant in town. It's rustic, charming and candlelit, offering a great selection of beers and good, hardy pub food... and it's a lovely stroll from the cottage! However, the best food and wine in Muir Beach can be had at Jen and Thierry's cabin, in which we were very lucky to be allowed to indulge every day!
must visit: If you manage to pull yourself away from the cottage, the majestic Muir Woods National Park is around the corner. Stinson Beach and Point Reyes are also beautiful areas to explore, both with picturesque drives along the coast from Muir Beach. And then there's Bolinas... a great little hippy surfer town... if you can find it! (the locals remove the signs to town to keep it their little secret). Or you can take in all the beauty simply by hiking right from your door via the many trailheads or to nearby destinations such as Slide Ranch and the Green Gulch Zen Center.
cool for kids: Kids of all ages will enjoy the hikes, nature walks in the redwood forest in Muir Woods, and splashing or boogie boarding in the chilly Pacific waters. The cottage is also stocked with games in the gnome-like attic space.