In a culture that places a huge amount of value on speed, productivity and general new-ness in all that we buy, I've been digging deeper for the old. I've been searching for the antique keys, the scribbled vintage postcards, the historic, un-changed buildings. I want to go back in time when things were slower. I want to go back before the ipod. Heck, before electricity.
While San Francisco boasts gorgeous Victorian and Edwardian architecture and a plethora of historic buildings and landscapes, I still have trouble finding old, homey hangouts that authentically feel like they are from another era, that they haven't been changed.
Thankfully, I've befriended a few lovely British friends who introduced me to the Pelican Inn, just a short drive north of San Francisco beyond the Golden Gate Bridge. Located just steps from dramatic Stinson Beach, the Pelican Inn is an incredibly homey (and ancient) English pub and inn (with just 7 rooms). I don't think it's changed much since it was built in 1855 and locals couldn't be more thankful. On Sundays, the Pelican Inn hosts its weekly "Sunday Roast" where you can enjoy a bottomless plate of roast, mashed potatoes, salad & local blue cheese. The cider and beer flowly freely, as does the whiskey and live music. This is how a Sunday should be spent.
What I love most about the Pelican Inn was the feeling that the building radiates. She's unapologetic and graceful all at once. Her carpets are worn straight through but their faded colors are comforting. It's drafty and dark when you're not near the fireplace but you've never been cozier in a wool seater. Single, dripping candlesticks line each table without pretense. The cloudy windows turn sunlight into single, lemony beams that streak the dusty air.
I'm not sure how we passed 5 hours there on Sunday afternoon. We moved in and out of the main room at the dining table & spent time sprawled out on old quilts on their lush lawn. We ordered pint after pint of cider and held the old mugs tightly as the sun got lower.
Later, at sunset, we walked down to the beach and watched the pelicans glide low in their perfect lines against the horizon.
Then, it was time to go home.