Pescadero, ca | an afternoon stroll in a rustic small town

Pescadero, CA is a farming and ranching community 2 miles from Pacific Ocean and 14 miles from Half Moon Bay. I just love Pescadero. If you mention Pescadero, I will answer you with “Artichoke Bread.” To me, a trip to this little town by Highway 1 is not complete without an indulgent stop at Arcangeli Grocery that is synonymous with its famous Artichoke Bread. Tourists in the know line up for and snatch these loaves from the shelves as soon as they come out of the oven.

The famous Artichoke Bread from Arcangeli Grocery

I have very fond memories of Pescadero. One of our first weekend trips when we were first dating about 10 years ago was a Saturday drive to this town. We just saw an episode of “Diners, Drive-ins And Dives” where the host Guy Fieri featured Duarte’s Tavern . This historic tavern has been around since 1934. This was during the time when Mr Sweetie and I were beginning to join the foodie craze in the Bay Area. On a couple of our visits I had their crab cioppino, calamari steak and crab sandwich. The verdict? Glad that we have been there and done that but I will not rush to go back to Duarte’s again. The food was okay and very pricey like $40-for- a-small-bowl-of cioppino- pricey! There are more restaurants in this area that I would like to check out.

Pescadero is small but has many things to offer for a perfect weekend afternoon visit. Mr Sweetie and I headed here after an early afternoon of enjoying drinks and seafood in Half Moon Bay. Knowing that I have been wanting to visit again after our last visit few years ago (and one attempt about 2 years ago but decided to turn around because of heavy traffic), he decided to drive us here. We arrived at around 4:30 pm where the town was already slowing down and some of the stores were already closed. No regrets because the vibe was totally calm and peaceful.

We went straight to Arcangeli Grocery (aka Norm’s Market) for the Artichoke Bread and pies. There was a big crowd waiting for the bread to come out of the oven. Thankfully, Mr Sweetie is tall and has a long reach. He was able to grab a couple of loaves of bread. Ha! Ha! No worries. There was enough for everyone who was eagerly waiting. He also went a little cray and bought 2 pies (apple and raspberry), a jar of olalieberry jam and a bottle of EVOO/balsamic dip. I was happy with my treats.

We went for a stroll after dropping off our loot in our car. We went browsing at stores that were still open. Pescadero has changed over the years. The arts scene seems to be more visible and thriving than our last visit years ago. Slow living reminders are encouraged. We walked by Luna Sea where he got me a hanging glass bauble during our visit when we were first dating. I still have it to this day and it still in the box because I am afraid to break it. I take it out of the box from time to time to admire it. Unfortunately, Luna Sea was already close for the day when we got there.

When we first visited Pescadero we visited every store (at my insistence), ate at Duarte’s, got Artichoke Bread at Arcangeli, and walked from one end of this small town to the other. We discovered a quaint little cemetery way past the stores and boutiques. I do not like cemeteries but I found it interesting to look at the markers where some were dated in the 1800s.

Pescadero is idyllic and deceivingly rustic with its farms and dirt roads. Weekend tourists like me love it. Despite the spendy boutiques, it was refreshing to discover a thrift store, South Coast Thrift Shop, that I enjoyed browsing. I bought a little white plate that I use as a candle holder, and a pair of kid’s knitting needles for a couple of bucks total!

It was a lovely cool afternoon when we went. Fog started rolling in that gave Pescadero a nice, cool spring feel. Actually it seems like the weather in Pescadero is like a perpetual cozy autumn. I would like to visit again in the fall when pumpkins decorate every patio, the leaves turn their colors and when mists from the coast will cover the town giving it an eerie, mysterious ambiance.

Our pies and jam from Arcangeli Store. We had the apple pie for Memorial Day weekend.

TIPS AND EATS:

I covered only Downtown Pescadero on this post. There are so many more to things to see in this area. The key is to get on Highway 1 early to avoid the traffic most especially in the summer months. As I have mentioned above there was one year when we had to turn around as we were approaching Half Moon Bay because the road became a parking lot. Fall is also very packed around the Pumpkin Festival in October. My friends from the Bay Area leave their home almost at the crack of dawn at around 6:30 am to avoid traffic. I do not know if I have the will-power to wake up that early on a Saturday. It is all very much worth it, though. The drive along Coastal Highway 1 is magic for the soul. I just need to remember this next time we plan a visit. Here are the must-visit places to eat and experience. Please let me know if you ever go!

eats & drinks:

ARCANGELI GROCERY CO.
You must get an Artichoke Bread here when you go! Rustic grocery that has been around since 1929. Get your camping and picnic food, wine and drinks here as well. They also serve sandwiches that can be eaten at the picnic tables in the back of the grocery store. Bathrooms are porta potties.
287 Stage Road Pescadero,

DUARTE’S TAVERN
Historic tavern since 1934. Famous for artichoke soup, olalieberry pie and crab cioppino.
202 Stage Road Pescadero, CA

MERCADO & TAQUERIA DE AMIGOS
A favorite among motorcyclists to get authentic Mexican food. A taqueria and gas station in one.
1999 Pescadero Creek Rd Pescadero, CA

SANTE FAMILY WINES (wine tasting) | SAN GREGORIO GENERAL STORE (Variety Store and Full Bar)

Attractions:

HARLEY FARMS
A Restored 1910 dairy farm open for tours. See goats and cheese shop.
205 North Street Pescadero, CA

ANO NUEVO STATE PARK
Largest breeding colony in the world for elephant seals.
Highway 1 South of Pescadero and Pigeon Point Light House

PIGEON POINT LIGHTHOUSE STATION
115 foot lighthouse since 1852. Absolutely breathtaking!
210 Pigeon Point Road Highway 1 Pescadero, CA

Beaches and parks including Memorial Park, Butano State Park and Pescadero State Beach.

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