Summer has worn out its welcome early, I think. Maybe it’s the vagaries attributed to climate change, or maybe, after so many years in Florida, I’ve lost all interest in heat. If I ever had any. But the moderating overcast last Saturday afternoon at Half Moon Bay reminded me that my favorite season, fall, is just around the corner. That soon, the leaves will put on their pre-winter display, the air will cool and when we walk the dogs we’ll hear the satisfying crunch of leaves underfoot. Yes, fall IS my favorite season.
Northern California beaches and their Central Coast parallels are notorious for their four-season overcast. The fog may or may not burn off in summer, wrapping a blanket of grey around the coast, keeping the weather moody and moderate.
When it comes to beach-going, I’ve always gone south. An easy half hour to Santa Cruz, 45 minutes to Capitola, an hour plus to Monterey. Living part-time on the Monterey coast for years was a dream I made come true and with it came a substantial amount of grey. But grey at the beach is just not the same as grey in, say, my hometown of Rochester, NY. Yes, Rochester is on Lake Ontario, but my experience of Rochester-grey was always the cold and monotony of it. At our northern California beaches, the very moodiness of the less than 50 shades of grey means that the romance of a fireplace is appropriate during all four seasons. It comes with the power of the Pacific roaring in the background and a sky full of cawing gulls and pelicans. Even in summer, a cozy sweatshirt is always appropriate.
But recently, we’ve gone a different direction for beach time. Half Moon Bay is a cute little oceanside community north of us known for a chowder house that serves up the best lobster rolls on the planet. Strolling on the jetty watching the sky dull and brighten again, I was reminded that summer is dying. I imagined checking into one of the rooms-with-fireplace along this coast and warming a chilly night with lit logs and a good book.
I took it a step further: Why not create my own ritual to welcome my favorite season?