For the first time in many years I spend the month of August around San Francisco, in the sun with occasional trips to fog city not to miss the summer highlights in the movie theaters. Housesitting at my daughter’s condo in Lanham Village was my first destination. How boring, I thought, too hot in Novato, nothing happening besides old people walking little dogs and screaming kids at the close-by playground. How would I survive three weeks in that place. Well, I not only survived but I can’t wait to do more housesitting up there. The days were warm and sometimes hot, the nights quite cool, very pleasant weather for long evening walks with little Cleo, the dog that came with the house, when the sun set over the hills and the moon rose over the wetlands. An elderly lady walking her dog – that’s me. Cleo and I discovered nature: the wild blackberries, so delicious; snakes lying next to the thorny bushes in the midday heat; the many different types of trees growing in Lanham Village built in 1942 for Hamilton Air Force personnel; the wetland recovery project with birds and plants and water ways; and last not least the small artist community around the museum with open studios every first Sunday of the month, almost as in San Francisco. I didn’t have time to visit the public pool and the huge hangars that were transformed into public spaces and offices. Next time.
Another summer hang-out of mine was Pescadero and the beaches south of the lighthouse. Hardly anybody has discovered those beaches about ten miles north of Año Nuevo. No prominent sign anymore, the six feet high tree trunk disappeared, no long lines of parked cars that will hint at what lays behind the street. To get to the beach you have to walk 10 minutes through beautiful dunes, which might discourage visitors. If you find the path you will be rewarded with long sandy beaches and walks along the cliffs where we discovered hidden well protected spots in the rocks to lie down and watch the seals and pelicans zooming above our heads. For a late lunch I recommend Duartes in Pescadero. There we gorged on warm crusty sourdough bread and lots of butter (no extra cost), and their trademark dishes, thick artichoke soup and olallieberry pie a la mode, of course. And if you like cemeteries, I do, then don’t miss the hill on the right side of the road toward San Gregorio. Beautiful views, old tombstones with dates going back to the early eighteen hundreds. Last stop before you get back to highway 1, was the General Store in San Gregorio. It features life music on Saturdays, an unusual selection of everything, from books to hats, overalls, kitchen utensils, soaps, and a full bar.