A Grand Day Out

Everyone needs a Grand Day Out once in a while. So I took a day off.
On a Wednesday.

Imagine that!

K. had the week off (shouldn’t everyone get a Spring Break?) and as I’m not planning a grand tour for this year, I had a few unscheduled vacation days left.

And we discovered that I had not been to Muir Woods.

Shock! Excitement!

We had a delightful morning drive (isn’t it amazing how much one extra hour of sleep will make in your day?) as the fog was burning off, espying Mt. Tamalpais through the mist and enjoying bright sunshine and a cool breeze.

Evidently a lot of people thought it would be a good day for a visit to the park, as we couldn’t find parking for a good half mile down the road. But as it was eleven thirty, we decided (isn’t flexibility wonderful?) that instead of visiting the park first and then having lunch, we would eat and then sneak in as the morning crowd was leaving. So off down the road we went!

A coworker had recommended the Pelican Inn as a quaint and suitable spot for a meal or afternoon drink.

Oh, oh, oh!

Image

What? No footmen?!

It is as if a British inn from a Georgette Heyer novel was just plopped beside Highway 1. It’s white with dark timbers, with a green lawn and crawling roses and brick paths. There’s the dining room with a great fireplace and a tap room and a smaller parlor that can be partitioned off. There are even rooms to let upstairs! We half expected to hear the clamor of carriages pulling up as we waited to be seated.

We lunched on the patio, which was covered with glass and vine-woven trellis and heated by filtered sun and a fireplace. I had the ham sandwich with “chips,” and let me tell you I ate the whole thing, watercress and mustard sauce included. Who knew watercress was so refreshing! The ham was real baked ham, toasted and well balanced with a slice of melted jack cheese. (The chips were very, very British, wink wink!)

It was cozy and warm and fresh on the patio.

It was cozy and warm and fresh on the patio.

After this charming escapade, we drove back up the road and found a reasonable spot that didn’t require parallel parking, and brightly walked upstream through the returning visitors, many of whom were at the stage of bright excitement one adopts when trying to prevent or delay the meltdown of an accompanying child.

The woods themselves were very pretty, though, in the interest of full disclosure, we decided we enjoyed the redwoods in Big Basin more. However, liking one wood better than another does nothing to diminish one’s love of woods in general, and we had a delightful stroll following our “Historical Tour” (this pamphlet was purchased on a whim for an extravagant one dollar at the front gate).

Moss on rocks make any scene complete.

Moss on rocks make any scene complete.

Redwood trees are delightfully tall.

Redwood trees are delightfully tall.

Redwood forests are full of vertiginous life. This fallen tree, bereft of roots, was host to a line of growing vertical trunks.

Redwood forests are full of vertiginous life. This fallen tree, bereft of roots, was host to a line of growing vertical trunks.

Filtered light and shadows emphasize the Cathedral Grove.

Filtered light and shadows emphasize the Cathedral Grove.

There are so many pretty flowers and ferns growing, growing, growing everywhere!

There are so many pretty flowers and ferns growing, growing, growing everywhere!

The walk ended, we purchased two cold milks (for a truly extravagant four dollars!), and sat down to enjoy that for which we had waited the whole day: our chocolate cake.

K. makes the best chocolate cake. I don’t even need to modify it with “in the whole world” or “that you will ever taste.” It is simply the best. You don’t have to believe it, but it’s true. It is dense and fudgy and chocolaty but not too sweet.

She had baked an entire cake so that we could have the joy of each eating a piece under the redwoods (of course, finishing it off as the week goes on is enjoyable, too).

Me, with my extravagantly priced milk and impossible to deny World's Best Chocolate Cake. And a hat.

Me, with my extravagantly priced milk and impossible to deny World’s Best Chocolate Cake. And a hat.

It was a delightful finish to a delightful Grand Day Out. I have not been so relaxed in such a long time, and I was quite refreshed to return to work on Thursday.

You ought to try it sometime!

BONUS! My favorite redwood-grove related poem.

Growing is Forever from Jesse Rosten on Vimeo.

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2 thoughts on “A Grand Day Out

  1. Sharyn Sowell says:

    A truly exceptional day, and I wish I’d been there to enjoy it with you!

    Any chance that the amazing baker herself might part with that chocolate cake recipe so as to bless those of us who did not get to partake with you in Muir Woods? I am wishing to be in that lovely sunny glen even now, with a forkful of chocolate…

  2. I LOVE Muir Woods!! D and I used to love going early in the morning to beat the rush, and we’d spend hours on one trail or another. Such a lovely place.

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