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The Weekender: A Romantic Departure

Carly Salzberg | June 19, 2014 | Story

First, head north and drive on the “royal road,” Highway 101, a scenic tour from the Golden Gate Bridge toward the seafaring southern Marin town of Muir Beach just 6 miles from the Highway 1 exit. On your left, the Pacific coastal route veers into a breathtaking terrain that draws your eye past rolling hills of awe­inspiring wilderness lined with the Dias or the California Coastal hiking and biking trails. The view is a steep panoramic of mountainside and it’s not uncommon for bikers to jet out at wind chilling speeds so drive slowly and gaze responsibly. Passenger’s are likely to observe a variety of elegant long­legged, long­beaked shorebirds flying out of quiet coves along the coastline.


Looking for the best way to enjoy sunshine, ocean breezes and cuddles on the beach? Spend the better half of your day climbing one of the many hiking trails with a friend or a special someone and then reward the calorie­busting workout by picnicking on Muir beach with a great novel and sand between your toes. Nearby trails range from beginner to advanced with varying distances and run south to Tennessee Valley or north toward Mt. Tamalpais. For the featured hike, start at the south end of the parking lot (near the picnic area and portable toilets). Follow the sign for Muir Beach and walk across the bridge. Then, take in the juicy thimbleberry and vibrant shades of sticky monkeyflower while being mindful of the poison oak that speckle throughout the wide multi­use trail as it winds east into Green Gulch. You may see flowering yellow yarrow, poppies in such full bloom you’ll think you’re Dorothy in the wizard of oz.


Cap off your adventures for the night at the humble Pelican Inn. The cozy medieval stone lit retreat is a local wedding venue favorite making it perfect for lovers and those whose vogues are ivy­clad, enchanted with legends and muddled history of both real and imagined adventurers. The Pelican is a maritime name that harks back to the days Sir Francis Drake first sailed from England. It is a symbol of haven for wayfarers and all kinds of excursionists. All rooms are priced according to their size, between $206­$289 a night, which includes a traditional English breakfast. Enjoy the sanctity of the Inn’s hospitality by checking into one of seven befitting English Country rooms decorated in 16th century fashion with Half Tester Canopy Queen beds alongside embroidered tapestry drapes with your very own private bathroom and shower. Come saturday, you may want to do some pre­planning upon arrival because the Pelican Inn staff guard their parking spaces attentively as Hotel and Restaurant guests come first. On a beautiful summer day, patrons looking to bring their friendly dogs may want to stake out on the capacious front lawn to watch the sunset cast its glow on the perfectly manicured garden.


Whether or not you indulge a little too much in the downstairs Pub the night before, you can be sure to savor the morning by teething into the Inn’s infamous bangers and mash ­ English pork sausages with spicy pub mustard, mashed potatoes & peas ­ hearty on the palate but sure to kick start your day the English way. This kitchen caters to a kind of rural adventurous taste by specializing in roasted meats, wild game and fish. For dinner, you can’t go wrong with Fish & Chips. Ale battered Pacific cod with English style crunchy chips and peas. And for dessert, potentially alongside your guinness and keeping in theme, sink your teeth into the English Sherry Trifle, a traditional British dessert made with custard, raspberries, sponge cake and yes, you guessed it, whipped cream. Mmmmmm.


Spend your evening gathered in the low beam ceiling pub that is often accompanied by a more intimate folky live music setting while nursing a hand­raised pint of Fuller’s London Pride Ale or a classic Irish Guinness. The atmosphere is jovial and the antique theme invites charming conversation between strangers with snug table to elbow seating. It's quaint and local with the inherent small town community feel of the days before the internet or mass transportation for that matter. In short, the Pelican Inn feels like it was packed up and shipped directly from a remote countryside in Britain. The acute attention to detail and period touches to each room are absolutely imaginative but the shotty to non­existent cell phone reception makes this destination a special getaway for creating a perfect excuse to go rogue, forget about Instagram and create memories that can only be shared through real live experience.


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