Half Moon Bay is Alive with Environmental Character!

ENVIRONMENTAL:  The circumstances or conditions that surround one; surroundings

CHARACTER:  To distinguish by particular marks or traits; reputation; a unique or extraordinary individuality.

The place where I live and work, the Half Moon Bay Coastside, is rich in Environmental Character.  If I try to define it, this is what I come up with…  Environmental Character is the essence of a place’s surroundings that make it distinct.

Most Thursdays our office has a meeting where we may have a guest speaker, share new listings, price changes, upcoming listings, and lending updates from our in-house lender, Susan O’Driscoll of Princeton Capital.  Our guest speaker at a recent meeting was Dan Ambrosi who shared his spectacular images of picturesque San Mateo County coastal scenes and beyond.  Hundreds of his images are available for personal or commercial use!

As colleague Jackson Robertson and I were looking at the colorful display of his work, Jackson commented that this artist really captured the “environmental character” of our area.   I told him I’d like to use that phrase and give him credit for coming up with such a perfect descriptive quality.  He really hit the nail on the head!

While some people take for granted what is in their own backyard, local Realtors meet Coastside visitors every day who see the jaw dropping beauty of this coastal region for the first time, so we have little chance of taking anything for granted…and that’s a good thing.

This character can be described as the unique combination of…

Location – within the heart of the Bay Area, yet feeling like you are enough of a distance away to avoid the trappings of suburban and city living.  Short drive to San Francisco.  Short drive to Silicon Valley.  Two world-class golf courses, one oceanfront within Half Moon Bay.  Two international airports nearby, SFO (San Francisco) and SJC (Silicon Valley).  Weekend-get-away distance to the Wine Country, Lake Tahoe, or the Central Valley.

Recreation – Everywhere you look, you can either see mountains for hiking, water for surfing or kayaking, trails for walking or biking.  We have small wineries and an active Senior Center.  There are no movie theaters or shopping malls in this community; they are, however, only about a 15-20 minute drive away.

Diverse Industry – Our top 3 industries are agriculture with emphasis on flowers and vegetables, tourism and commercial fishing.  We are known for our annual Pumpkin Festival in October.  Where do you find generations of farm growers and land owners in the same town as a world class Ritz Hotel, catering to businesses and guests from all over the world?

Topography – Hidden behind the Mountain ridge of Rancho Corral de Tierra and just on the other side of the Bay Area bustle, the Coastside is made up of gentle slopes, an eclectic mix of hillside homes and level neighborhoods, a climate that spares you weather drama yet yields dramatic sunsets, foggy days, and warm sun that sparkles on the water, in distinct small towns that blend into each other and the landscape like the sand on its beaches.

Socioeconomic – a bimodal community where European and Latin cultures live, work and school together.  If any one-percenters live in our corner of the Bay Area, they tend to be low-key and discreet, even though the San Francisco Bay Area is ranked #3 for the wealthiest Americans.

Inspiration – Artists of many types visit or live here to enhance their creative juices.    You will find them all along the Coastside and their works proudly displayed in local businesses and art galleries.  The Coastal Arts League & Museum and Half Moon Bay SOMA Arts support the arts community.

A few lucky people get to live here.  Space is limited and precious.

Photo credit:  Rick Bennett, low tide Mavericks beach, Winter 2012

Nature provides a free lunch, but only if we control our appetites.  ~William Ruckelshaus, Business Week, 18 June 1990