Pacifica, CA

I had a chance to travel just a touch south of San Francisco yesterday to visit a friend who was in town and I decided to write about Pacifica for today. Pacifica is a bit of an isolated area in that you can get to it from Highway 280 or Highway 35, but the two intersect and the only way out is Highway 1 which turns into Highway 35, so I think you can see that it’s one way in and one way out.

Now Pacifica has a few little towns such as Lindamar, Vallmar and Rockaway Beach that aren’t really towns, but they kind of think they are. We met up at their hotel in Rockaway Beach which is the part of Pacifica where all the surfers go. If you’re not a surfer then you’re probably there to eat at Nick’s Restaurant. Nick’s was always a kind of getaway for people from San Francisco. It has a feel of the old school restaurants of Las Vegas without today’s prices. If you want seafood, Nick’s is the place to go. My parent’s and everyone in my family have a soft spot for Nick’s. I learned to actually enjoy a dish they have there called, scalone which is a mixture of scallops and abalone served as a sandwich. It was a treat that Nick’s started and while you can find it at other places, stick to Nick’s. They have things other than seafood, but if you want the experience of an old school Italian seafood restaurant it’s probably better than anything you’ll find on the wharf. Nick’s is less crowded, except on Sundays when they have their special brunch menu, but you’ll still be able to get a seat and have some good food while watching the waves and [hopefully not] watch the surfers change out of their wetsuits.

Just as a side note, my friend and his wife I was meeting are from way up north in California and they live in a place that’s somewhere between red and neck [any questions? Just drop Modoc County into google]. It turns out I found out that he has an elaborate set up at home for making his very own corn whiskey moonshine. I received a mason jar full of 145 proof corn whiskey that if I survive the drinking of it I will try and write about that if I can keep my eyes focused and my hand steady. He’s a good old boy and I appreciate that he brought some of his mad scientist brew for me to try.

Now back to Pacifica…Specifically Rockaway Beach is an interesting part of the area because if you look at the picture you’ll see that it has a lot of grass and rocky areas that remind me of pictures I’ve seen of Wales. This is definitely a place for hardy folk as the winds can pick up here in the afternoon and blow you over. On a calm sunny day [which is a bit rare for Pacifica] watching the sunset is one of the joys of this place.

If you go a bit north up to Sharp Park you’ll find one of the few black sand beaches in the area. I unfortunately didn’t have the time to stop and take pictures of the beach there, but the sand had a higher amount of iron oxide in it that gives it a black look and is fun to show off to your kids how cool the beach is with a magnet. Just a touch further north is Manor Drive which has the main shopping district of Pacifica. I have to say that with a bit of a wink because it’s not like any shopping mall you’ll encounter. It’s basically a grocery store with a few small shops around it. My wife and I were in Pacifica years ago looking at the possibility of buying a home there and stopped in for breakfast at Manor Drive at a coffee shop and while looking out at the early morning surfers and shore fisherman had to wonder how often the fisherman and surfers got entangled. We didn’t see any fights, so I suppose they’ve found a way to keep away from each other.

If you stop at Manor Drive, be sure to stop and look up on the hill to the southeast. You’ll see a castle up there. I don’t know if the original owner is still there, but he bought the house that looked like a castle and decided that if it looked like a castle on the outside he should make the inside look like one too. The only sad part was that aside from the occasional local TV show that would showcase him, he never offered tours. For a place like that I’d pay to walk around in.

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