I turned 40 this week. It’s a funny number; a milestone that can come with mixed feelings. I think back to when I turned 30, how I didn’t really feel odd about entering a new decade. Yet when I turned 31, I was unsettled; in my mind it meant I was officially “in my 30’s”. So silly how we look at these things. Just for fun I decided to look up the definition of age. While the definition of the noun wasn’t that thought provoking, it was the verb definition that caused me to pause; “to grow old or older, especially visibly and obviously so”. Hmm. It’s something I have become more aware of every time my daughter wants to take a selfie with me on my phone; the lines and creases that seem so much more apparent. Just as time adds lines and creases to our skin, it adds dimension to life that may or may not be so obvious, as the definition states. Experience comes with time, some good and some bad. It is our experiences that form us, they take us by the hand and lead us along a path into each new year, ever the wiser; or so we hope.
When I thought about how I wanted to experience my entrance to age 40, I knew early on what I wanted to do. I wanted to be alone. As a wife and a mom of two small children, what I often miss is long stretches of time by myself. I’ve been told it’s a trait that runs through the women in my family; we value solitude. Months ago I began sharing my dream for my 40th birthday; I wanted to wake up by myself, spend an entire day by myself, and then go to bed…by myself. Reactions were mixed; some understood and some didn’t. I decided that my husband and I needed some time away as well, so he joined me for one night, and I then spent two on my own. The Slow Coast region along Highway 1 seemed to be the perfect spot to combine the beauty of nature with peace, quiet, and a bit of self-indulgence. So as I have thought about how to keep these memories in a place where I can peek back I thought forty pictures from my time away shared with you, and with me anytime that I need to draw inspiration, seemed appropriate. Enjoy :o)
I have set a high bar for how I spend 50, I look forward to giving it some thought :o)
Below are some links on my favorite spots along this corridor of Highway 1. I highly recommend you take some time to enjoy this beautiful and particularly mellow part of our coastline.
For more information about the Slow Coast and some of its highlights, visit here.
The lighthouse pictured is Pigeon Point Lighthouse, and they have a hostel there you can stay at!
The forest and waterfalls you see in many images are from an AMAZING hike that stretches from Highway 1 into the Rancho del Oso section of Big Basin Redwoods State Park. It is the Skyline to Sea to Berry Creek Falls hike mentioned in this link. I highly recommend going past Berry Creek Falls by about 3/4 of a mile to the additional set of falls tucked above, it is worth it!
I indulged in an 80-minute massage at Costanoa, a wonderful resort located on Highway 1 between Pescadero and Davenport. They have an array of accommodations, spa and a restaurant. I didn’t stay there but I have had several friends recommend their tent cabins for the ultimate glamping experience. The outdoor hot tub was perfect on an overcast afternoon, timed right between a 15-mile hike and the massage sampler :o)
Pie Ranch is a must for fresh produce, eggs, and of course PIE! It’s an amazing place with an incredible mission.
I picked a bouquet of dahlias for myself at the Pescadero Flowery, a spot located right in downtown Pescadero, such a wonderful and fun experience. I think their pick-your-own season is close to being over, but keep this in mind for a visit next year.
Swanton Berry Farm is where we picked strawberries earlier in the summer, their farm stand is a great stop along the Slow Coast. The hot strawberry apple cider on a cold morning was perfect!
I stayed at an Airbnb that was located closer to the town of Davenport, called Dragonfly Flats; a cabin located on the owners property. It was a lovely spot, but quite off the beaten path. It was about a 15-minute drive to get back out to Highway 1. The gas stove and clawfoot tub were pretty nice though!
A few other highlights not pictured:
Wine Tasting at Sante Arcangeli Family Wines in downtown Pescadero, they have surprisingly lovely Chardonnays and wonderful Pinot Noir. I enjoyed chatting with the owner and picked up a couple of bottles.
Artichoke Bread from Arcangeli Grocery Company is a MUST. Pair it with some goat cheese with Harley Goat Farm.
Whale City Bakery in Davenport – GO! A must for breakfast…
Highway 1 Brewing Company – my husband and I had lunch here right before he left, a mellow place right on the highway with decent food and good beer. They have outdoor seating as well.
Need a good book? Ann Patchett’s new book Commonwealth is a wonderful read.
All photos by Adrienne Schell, do not use without permission.