Napa Valley (sigh) to Pigeon Point Hostel! Wow.

Trip Start Jun 13, 2010
Trip End Jun 30, 2010

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Pigeon Point Light Station Historical P

Flag of United States  , California
Sunday, June 27, 2010

We were a bit sad to see Napa go this morning, but it had to be done. We're off to bypass San Francisco and go back down the coast again to stay the night in a hostel rated #8 in the world!

We took our time getting things packed up at Skyline this morning, as this is the last time we’ll be packing up the tent and the blow up mattress.  I’ll miss it, I think, although perhaps not quite enough to just pitch them in our backyard in the next little while.  The little tent has been just fine – on the two nights we had droplets of rain it was at night, and with very few bugs on our travels we were more than willing to spend our time outside doing things and inside sleeping.  So, a tent that was almost exactly the size of the air mattress turned out to be just right!

So, we packed up our things, took a nice shower, and then headed out.  We went via Napa, searching out Oak Leaf winery.  The back of the bottle said Napa, CA, so we were very hopeful.  What would a winery look like that sold bottles that ended up on sale at WalMart for less than $3?  There was a listing for Oak Leaf Ranch in the GPS, so we decided to try our luck.

No dice.  It was a housing development.  Now it is true that someone in this rather ritzy batch of houses could well have a micro-winery in the basement, but we doubted that.  Thumbs down.

So, we decided if we couldn’t find our bargain winery, we’d try to find a bargain before heading out.  At the Napa Valley factory outlet we found just that, at the Gap.  We’re not your traditional Gap shoppers, but when things are 80% off, that tends to change our minds a little.  Chris got a very cool shirt and I bought a strapless turquoise dress.  Mariposa Folk Festival, we are ready.

We then had some wraps in the parking lot and took off down the coast.  What a beautiful day for it.  The fog had burned off and we headed across the Bay Bridge, paying our toll on the way.  The toll signs are very confusing… are they on or not?  After failing to be stopped for a toll on the Golden Gate bridge – when signs indicated that was likely – we were a bit confused.

Anyway, we headed down the coast to Pigeon Point.  Wow.  San Franciscans are out in full force on the beaches today, a Sunday.  Everywhere is packed.  The surfers are having a blast, it would seem.  We consider surfing and decide we’ll do it later, perhaps in Hawaii?  We’ve both done it before in much warmer waters… Sounds good to me!

En route to Pigeon Point we stop at the famed Half Moon Bay Brewing Company.  This is totally worth a stop.  We enjoyed a wonderful view of the Bay, a fun beverage, and a platter of local seafood.  Good times.

It was time to get to this much-lauded hostel.  We couldn’t believe when we saw it in the distance. Wow.  Again, impossible to put into words. The hostel itself is a series of cabins adjacent to the Pigeon Point lighthouse.  We got there, unloaded our bags so that we could do the final repack before San Fran, and then had a nap.  We got up just before the sunset to wander the grounds a bit, and try to find the famous hot tub.  We had signed up for just after sunset, but we weren’t entirely sure where it was!

We cooked a quick hostel dinner – we’re finishing up leftover food now – and watched one of the most amazing sunsets of the trip.  The sun, engulfed by clouds, set a few inches above the seawater horizon.  It was very cool indeed. 

All of this was a bit offset by the fact that we were sharing the hostel building with a family that had booked out the remainder of that building (other than our private room).  The kids were a bit manic and the two year old, in particular, wanted us to read him stories and would rather be in our room than with his family.  One of the dads was certainly more interested in his computer than in the fact that his son had just dropped, cracked, and spilled the entire contents of a spaghetti sauce jar on the floor in the kitchen.  Chris and I had to leave before we ended up co-parenting these kids!

But it was time for the hot tub.  Beautiful.  We rented it out for an hour and it was the perfect time.  The sun had just set, we could smell and hear and almost-see the ocean crashing around us, and it was just such an escape.  This is our last night coasting, and tomorrow we enter the urban insanity of San Fran, so this was the way to finish things up.

This hostel was gorgeous.  #8?  I can’t wait to check out #s 1-7!  Phenomenal.
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Anonymous on

Oak Leaf Ranch was owned and operated for sixty years by Dewey K. Andersen, the famed Napa rancher and former county supervisor, prior to his death in November 2009. Two years prior, he had sold ten acres to a developer for a housing development and now from what you're describing, the rest has followed suit.

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