Sunny days in the Bay Area have been few and far between of late, which is why in light of a looming holiday weekend paired with some potential sunny 60-degree days on the horizon, we recommend heading out to Muir Beach for some old-fashioned Vitamin E.
With a protected cove and surrounded by the famous redwood trees of Muir Woods, the sandy oceanside paradise seems miles away from the city we all know and love, rather than a quick jaunt over the Golden Gate Bridge. But perhaps its most popular entity is not the beach at all, but the 16th century-style cottage--the Pelican Inn--that flanks the beach. With a rustic facade and one of the best beer selections around, it's no wonder that the Pelican Inn has long been a locals' favorite. The restaurant serves up some classic English fare--bangers and mash, shepherd's pie, Yorkshire pudding, beef Wellington--with a contemporary California spin.
A perfect day would start with an afternoon enjoying a beer out on the lush front lawn, basking in the sunshine, followed by a visit to the neighboring Zen gardens, Green Gulch Farm. Once you've gotten your om on in style, return to the inn for a filling meal in the pub and a bottle of vino (no matter what you do, don't pass on the chocolate cheesecake--it's divine). After dinner, take a moonlit stroll on Muir Beach, before retreating to one of the inn's seven rooms.
Accessed by a covert door, a tight staircase leads up to a second level where all the rooms are located. Intimate and boasting an Old World style, the quarters are cozy but comfortable. Some have four poster beds; all have wooden floors and tapestry rugs and ooze with charm. Those staying overnight will also gain access to "the Nook," a shared private room for guests on the ground level replete with a crackling fire and wing-back leather chairs.
Dorothy, you're not in San Francisco anymore. The Pelican Inn will quickly lead you to believe you're not really in California at all, but reliving the days of yore in bonny England. And we won't wake you up from that dream--ever--if you don't want.