There's a good reason so many choose to live in the San Francisco bay area: it's quite simply magic. From the Golden Gate it is a matter of hours (and often much less) to the mountains or the beach, the country or the city, the snow or the surf, the sophisticated to the primitive where buildings, so new and modern they glisten in their patch of light, stand just down the street from structures hundreds of years old.
What's more, the bay area and its surrounding satellites offer up a whole world of, well, a whole world. From San Francisco's China Town with its narrow streets and open air markets filled with jewel-toned fabrics and various fowl hanging from string wrapped round their necks, to the rolling hills of Napa/Sonoma lined with grapevines that would look perfectly at home in France or Italy, to the green-hilled valley near Santa Cruz that Scottish settlers found so like home they named the local lake Loch Ness, there is such a variety of treasure to see and enjoy.
Over the weekend, we had the soul-deep pleasure of visiting a little bit of heaven, otherwise known as Ireland-in-California, after hearing about its ambrosial delights from friends. Since I have sworn on a stack of holy bibles I would not reveal the location of this particular piece of California Gold (not really) (but only because a stack of holy bibles wasn't available) (though I'm pretty sure a curse is hanging over my head as we so-to-speak should I divulge the location) I can't tell you the name of the beach or the town. What I can tell you is that it is in the heart of earthquake country which is one reason we didn't pack up our bags and move there forthwith. Having said that, Ireland, or anything resembling it (such as England, Scotland or Wales) is the home of my soul and this little No Name beach/town/area looks like a piece of Ireland broke off and rode the ocean tides to our shores where it weighed anchor and waited, glowing in the sun, until I could learn of it and find it. (Now that I have, I hope it doesn't disappear into the mist, Brigadoon-style.)
The first half of our drive was weighed down with the rain that has been plaguing our area this spring (rain is winter-only weather around here yet we are expecting aNOther big storm complete with thunder and lightning later this week) but by the time we got to the green rolling hills and finally the beach, the sun had come out and blued the sky.
We've been to many beaches all over California and loved them all but this one is different somehow. (Because it's magic and came from Ireland, that's why!)
Once we got all settled and the kids had a chance to play tag with a few waves, the storm clouds started brewing again. "Tell it to the hand," said the Middle Child when I explained that we had to pack up and go, (except, not really--she just didn't want to have her picture taken--clearly I did it anyway).
I love the way the statue seems to fade a bit into the mist, creating the almost-illusion of the Middle Child's shadow (minus one sword).
There, in the clearing, was a dear darling house swimming in green. Again, I would have packed my bags and moved in a trice if it weren't for that earthquake thing (and that pesky lack of funds thing and that current occupant roadblock, etc. etc.).