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Travel Articles » Half Moon Bay inn jury gobsmacked by flower power & breakfast

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Itís fortunate I have no aspirations to go into politics. I look at all the hoo-ha around Judge Sonia Sotomayor's Supreme Court nomination. Seems the main thing her detractors have been able to dredge up is a remark she made during a speech at the University of California in 2001.
Jeez. A single sentence and they want to hang her with it. Donít things slip out of our mouths every day that we wish hadnít? And isnít it human to make up our mind on something one day ó and change it the next? A womanís prerogative and all that?
So what has this got to do with a story on a bed and breakfast joint in Half Moon Bay, a block from California's Highway 1 in San Mateo County?
Well, on Friday last week I told a friend: ďI hate bed and breakfasts. Staying in some strangerís house. Give me the anonymity of a hotel anytime."
Love at First Site
Then on Sunday I arrived at Eve and Terry Baldwinís Mill Rose Inn in Half Moon Bay to spend the night and ó it was love at first site.
I was out of the car the fraction of a second we stopped, soon as I saw the garden. The light was fading and I was literally gobsmacked, as my friend Joanne likes to say, and snapping shots with my Pentax as fast as I could, trying to beat its retreat.
Turns out Eve and Terry bought a funky old place in 1978 and started along a winding road of getting permits (the city, can you believe it, wanted them to pave the yard as a car park and they had to fight to get the green light for the garden?) to transform it into their dream coastal inn. They started with two rooms as the first B & B in San Mateo County and now have six.
Terry was a landscape contractor at the time and built the first raised garden beds with stuff they dug up trying to clear the dumpy old cactus pit that came with the property.
Totally Over-theTop
At some point Eve took over the garden and takes pride in the fact that she has color all year round. She was told at the start that roses would not bloom in the climate but was determined and ó well, you have to have roses, donít you, if you call a place Mill Rose Inn? I was blown away by the foxgloves, among other things. ďTotally over the top,Ē Eve tells me is how the Sunset magazine garden tour leader describes the place when he brings readers on tours.
Eve and Terry, appropriately, met at horticulture school. Eve was doing interior design at the time and they both agree that she was primarily responsible for the interiors, which are pretty amazing. Each rooms is different, with a theme. Hand-painted wallpapers. Gorgeous old wooden furniture.
Decanters of Brandy and Sherry
We had the Renaissance Rose Suite, which comes with what I think would be called an anti-chamber in a Jane Austin novel. That is, a lounge area with velvet couches and a window seat, sandwiched between the bath (the elegant term for bathroom, I am told) and the bedroom with its raised gas fireplace that looks like the real thing (the logs, I mean) and decanters of brandy and sherry that Terry said were standard, included with the room.
Eve makes the breakfasts, which are a specialty at Mill Rose Inn. You can have breakfast delivered to your room, served in the dining room (our choice) or you can choose ďal frescoĒ in one of the garden courtyards that have been used ó and you can see why ó for innumerable weddings. Eve made us, among other things, a pumpkin crisp with sweet custard (because this is pumpkin country, said Terry) and a moist and luscious artichoke frittata (because this is artichoke country, he added).
600 DVDs and Scrumptuous Cakes
Eve also bakes every day ó big scrumptious looking iced cakes. These are covered to keep them fresh and left, for guests, in the dining room, through until midnight each day. Terry has 600 DVDs filed alphabetically and available for you to watch in your room. We didnít get a chance to sample them or, with nagging time constraints, to walk the five minutes to the main drag in Half Moon Bay to see whatís new in the downtown. Next time!
But we did get to sample the garden jacuzzi, which is a real trip. Itís in a sort of wooden enclosed gazebo, flower filled, and thereís a fountain. You book your private time, go in and lock the door, roll back the wooden slatted cover that keeps the water temperature at its peak ó and enjoy.
So, this week I like B & Bís. But donít hold me to it. Youíre not going to see me in line for the Supreme Court or, hopefully, any other court.
Photos by Wanda Hennig
Copyright 2009 Wanda Hennig.
Article Submitted By:
Name: terry baldwin
Company: Mill Rose Inn
Website: www.millroseinn.com
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