Adventures with Claire and Julia: No. 1 – Muir Woods and The Pelican Inn

I love my niece! Her name is Claire and she is one of the kindest, funniest, coolest people on the planet.  Imagine my delight when she and her equally wonderful friend, Julia, came for a visit over their February break.  They were escaping the soul-crushing Boston winter for some California sun and fun.  In addition to hanging-out in the hottub (did you think the CCC wouldn’t have a hottub?) and eating all the junk food our mothers won’t usually let us eat, we had some excellent SF-Bay Area adventures. Our first stop was Muir Woods in Marin County.

Named in honor of John Muir (the founding father of the National Park Service), Muir Woods is home to 240 acres of old-growth coastal redwoods – one of the few remaining groves in the area. The land Muir Woods sits on was originally owned by William and Elizabeth Kent. They purchased the land in the early 1900s.  In 1907, a local water company wanted to dam the nearby Redwood Creek and flood (read: ruin) the valley. The Kents thought this a terrible idea. When the water company threatened eminent domain, the Kents donated the land to the federal government effectively avoiding local jurisdiction and court proceedings. (Sneaky!)  In 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt designated Muir Woods a national monument (the first ever from private land). The president wanted to name the location “Kent Woods” but the Kents insisted the glorious redwood grove be named after John Muir. Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Kent (and John Muir and President Roosevelt) for ensuring we can enjoy Muir Woods now and into the future!

1 Muir Woods Entrance
Julia and Claire at the entrance to Muir Woods. (Don’t tell the folks at Disney, BUT…Muir Woods is really the happiest place on earth!)
2 Muir Woods Main Path
A view from the main path at Muir Woods. The first two miles into the park are flat. There is a lovely, wheelchair accessible boardwalk as well.
4 Catherdral Grove
People really do “enter quietly”! It’s fun to hear how visitors’ voices drop to a whisper when they enter Mother Nature’s House of Worship.
3 Muir Woods Red Woods
It is strange to think that these towering beauties started from a seed the size of a tomato. Many of the redwoods in Muir Woods are over 500 years old, with the oldest being 1200 years! If only I was aging as well.
5 Ocean View Trail Head
For our hike we chose a six-mile loop: Ocean View Trail to Panorama Trail to the Dipsea Trail. This is an excellent hike that shows the best of Muir Woods. You also get the two-mile uphill climb done early in the hike.
6 Hiking the Ocean View Trail
Claire and Julia climbing the Ocean View Trail.
7 Julia Joe Photo
Julia keeps it real with an old school Minolta that uses film! (Do you remember what “film” is???)
8 Made it to the Top
Julia (left) and Claire (right) smiling at the top of Ocean View Trail. It was a bit cloudy that day but the Pacific Ocean is still visible in the background – hence the name, “Ocean View”.

Is it time for lunch yet?  Yes, it is!  No trip to Muir Woods is complete without lunch at The Pelican Inn.  In the style of a Tudor inn (indeed, much of the inn’s decor is from English buildings built in the 16th century), The Pelican Inn serves tasty pub fare perfect for hungry hikers.

9 Pelican Inn Sign
Named in honor of Sir Francis Drake’s ship, “The Pelican”, the inn is a perfect spot for lunch, a drink in the pub, or a romatic getaway with that special someone (ooh, la, la!).
10 Drinks
Yay! Cocktail time! An Arnold Palmer for Julia, a Shirley Temple for Claire, and a pineapple cider (never again) for me.
12 Julia and Clarie at Pelican Inn
Julia and Claire enjoying The Pelican Inn’s famous fish and chips. We couldn’t help but wonder, “does anyone ever eat those peas?”

2 thoughts on “Adventures with Claire and Julia: No. 1 – Muir Woods and The Pelican Inn

  1. Looks like a great trip! I might have to hit you up for info when my cousin comes from Norway this summer – we are camping along the coast for 2 weeks!!!

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